AUBURN, APRIL 12---Since
their arrival in Alabama many years ago, fire ants have been a
troublesome pest for homeowners.
Now is the time for
homeowners to treat lawns for fire ants. Since fire ants are
imported and have few natural predators, chemical controls are the
most effective way to deal with the pest, says Dr. Kathy Flanders,
an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Late April through
October is the best time for homeowners to treat lawns for fire
of fire ant baits are the most cost-effective method of fire ant
control. Fire ant baits are picked up by fire ant workers and
carried back to their colonies, whether large or small. They tend to
be safer than other methods, because such a tiny amount of active
ingredient is used. Fire ant baits need two to eight weeks to be
effective. They should be applied when many of the worker ants are
foraging outside the mound for food and when temperatures are
between 70 and 90 degrees F.
If immediate fire ant
control is needed, various dusts, drenches and granular products are
available. Any of these methods can be used as long as homeowners
follow the directions carefully, says Flanders.
The key to successful
fire ant control is to make sure that the queen, the heart of the
colony, is killed. Otherwise, the colony may relocate and rebuild.
Homeowners can rid their
lawns of mounds temporarily with the right chemical controls, but it
won't be long before other young queens fly in and start new mounds
and the whole control process must begin again. There is no such
thing as permanent fire ant control.
SOURCE: Dr. Kathy
Flanders, Extension Entomologist, Alabama Cooperative Extension
System (334) 844-6393