I knew it was just a matter of time. First Puxatawny Phil didn’t see his shadow. Then the rain came. Now, the inevitable red fire ant mounds have started to surface. During the cold winter months, fire ants will head below ground for warmth, but with the temperature slowly rising and after the recent rains, fire ants are coming to the surface. They will build up their mounds to shelter their colony and avoid drowning. It’s definitely time to treat again for fire ants whether they are active or to treat preventatively.
A study by Texas A&M University shows that fire ants can do more than just be a nuisance. Besides having the ability to sting you, your family or even your pets, red fire ants have also shown they can cause extensive damage to electrical equipment. Fire ants have been found nesting in electrical junction boxes. Nesting in the metal housing, they can chew on the insulation. This of course can cause damage to circuitry and other serious malfunctions posing a safety hazard not to mention costly repairs.
If you see some mounds nearby, chances are there are more red fire ants below ground. Red fire ants enter and exit the mound through an underground network of tunnels.
With red fire ants in our part of Texas, they can start early Spring and extend well past the regular Summer months and carry over into late Fall. Even during times of heavy rains and flooding, red fire ants have been seen floating by until they reach drier land and will start over and establish a new colony. A queen only needs a few workers to start a new colony. Once started, a colony can contain from as little as 300 (not really that little!) to 500,000 red fire ants.
Early detection and elimination is key. The two most common methods of treatment include:
- Individual Mound Treatment eliminates fire ants on the surface. A liquid spray is applied so no additional watering in needs to be done and can control surface ants for up to 90 days.
- Residual Granular Baiting Treatment is a granular broadcast treatment that is slower to control but longer lasting. This method must be watered in to bring ants to the surface to share the bait with the colony below and ultimately share with the queen and induce colony elimination. Depending on the material used, this method can prevent red fire ants for up to a year depending on the severity of ant infestation and consistant and proper application methods.
Remember, fire ant control is important for keeping family and pets’ safe as well as possibly avoiding damage caused by infestations in electrical and utility equipment. If you are having fire ant issues beyond your control or questions about the upcoming pest season, call or contact Bio-Tech Pest Control at 281-296-6022.