Fire Ants and Your Lawn
If you grew up in the South, fire ants have been a problem at one point or another. Fire ants were unfortunately brought from South America to this country accidently in the 20th century. Since then, they have wreaked havoc on hikers, homeowners, and anyone else who has had the great misfortune of disturbing a nest.
Although the bites are usually mild to moderate annoyances to adults, children and small pets that are attacked by a large population of fire ants can have more serious reactions. Mild reactions include painful and burning bites that have the potential to become infected. More insidious reactions are blisters, vomiting, and nausea. If you are experiencing these types of reactions, visit a doctor.
Treating your lawn to prevent colonies from taking over is extremely important. It may take three to four years for a colony to reach a population level where the ant mounds are noticeable. If you have noticed some fire ants, there are some ways to keep them at bay. If the population seems to be increasing or not getting any better, calling a professional may be necessary.
Homeowners have found some success with the three following fire ant elimination methods: baiting, drenching, and broadcast.
Baiting is considered to be a slow way of killing off colonies. It will kill existing colonies but will not usually control other colonies from entering your property from an area close by. Granular baits are the most popular baiting technique, and most hardware stores sell various brands and types. Applying the bait in early spring application is best because it controls new queens before they establish new colonies. Killing the queens is the only way to eliminate fire ant colonies, and follow-up granular bait applications are necessary in mid-summer and in the fall.
Drenching is the process of completely covering a fire ant mound in a solution and destroys a fire ant colony faster than the other methods. You can find the solution at a hardware store, and all you need besides that is a large bucket, a water source, and an insecticide containing cypermethrin.
Broadcasting is similar to baiting, but is does not involve spot treatment. The granules are broadcasted over the entire area to ensure that all the ants come in contact with it. After application, put water all over the area.