Fire ants are the most common insect pests of home lawns. Imported Fire Ants are aggressive, reddish brown to black ants that can be found in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. And, each year, fire ants continue their movement northward through the transition zone.
Not native to the U.S., these ants were likely carried on ships from South America in the 1930s and have since spread to most of the lower states.
Now, they occur in practically every lawn in these states.
Here are a few tips to help you combat the little buggers!
If you have not noticed – it is in the spring after heavy rains that fire ant mounds REALLY show up above ground. They are there other times but underground. The heavy rains drench their underground home so they come up to the surface in order to survive. Fire ants won’t damage your lawn, but build unattractive, potentially dangerous mounds.
If you do find fire ants, here are two methods to use that are absolutely safe:
1. Hot water and liquid dish soap.
Fill a pitcher w/ hot water and liquid dish soap and pour on mound. You can do this even if people/kids are going to be in the yard shortly after and the ants will be gone.
2. Powdered laundry detergent.
This suffocates them and you won’t have to worry about them moving to a “new home” which is what can happen w/ some products on the market. I’ve used this method to treat an entire soccer field that was covered in fire ant mounds and after that day we never had another one come up. This also works very quickly and is safe to do if you are going to have people/kids in the yard that day. I buy the biggest cheapest box of detergent and use it when needed. Don’t cake it on, just a light coating on the mound will do.
You might see also if you are friendly with your neighbors if you can get everyone to do it at the same time. We do that on my end of the neighborhood here and its had been years since one of us has had a pile of ants. Otherwise the ants just move back and forth from the same yards if everyone does it at a different time.
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