Putting Out Pesky Fire Ant Infestations

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Now is the time of year that you might be seeing suspicious mounds developing around cracks in your driveway or in your flower beds. The likely culprit, fire ants, can build resilient colonies that keep coming back no matter what you seem to do.

Here are some tips to extinguish these pesky fire ant piles for good.

Ground Game

One of the unique characteristics of a fire ant pile is that there isn't an entry/exit hole to target your eradication efforts. Because fire ants are so small and build their colonies with loose soil, the entry/exit holes are scattered throughout the mound and are likely too small for you to see.

Spray and Spray: because fire ant piles can be large, unsightly, and easy to destroy with a steady stream from your hose, many homeowners are quick to blast them away with a concentrated blast of water. Because fire ants build their colonies below the mounds, these efforts won't just be futile, they'll also make it harder to target them effectively. Instead, you should begin your eradication efforts by spraying in and around the mounds with a mixture of water and insecticide. To make these efforts most effective, spray lightly and widely for consecutive days. By spreading out your spraying efforts, the insecticide is more likely to eradicate the ants both above and below the ground. If you wait to spray until around sunset or when the area is shaded, the insecticide will be less likely to evaporate in the sun.

Targeted Efforts

After broadly treating the areas impacted by the fire ants, you can begin a more concentrated effort to prevent them from coming back. Because these targeted efforts sometimes require digging and coming in close contact to the mounds, it's important to wear protective clothing. Gloves, rubber boots, pants, and long sleeve shirts can help you avoid painful fire ant bites.

Stake and Penetrate: to get to the root of your fire ant infestation, you need to go below the surface to infiltrate colonies. Begin by placing stake markers next to each fire ant mound. These stakes will represent where you need to target your fire ant efforts even after the mounds might be destroyed. Survey stakes are cheap and perfect for this task. Next, you need to penetrate the areas around the survey stakes. A long screw driver, can be a convenient tool for perforating the surface in and around the fire ant piles. Make sure the holes you make are relatively close together and cover the areas bordering the entire fire ant mound(s).

Bait and soak: once you've thoroughly perforated the areas around your fire ant mounds, you should apply a fire ant bait around each of your survey stakes. Most fire ant baits come in small pellets or crystals. The baits designed to be carried by the fire ants deep into the inner sanctums of their colonies. Once they get deep into the colonies, the poison kills any of the ants that happen to touch or eat the bait. Give the fire ant bait a few days to do its job. The last step in your fire ant eradication is to soak in and around the areas you staked out. When soaking the areas, you can use a mixture of insecticide and water or opt for something more natural like vinegar or lemon juice. The acids from the latter options will kill any remaining fire ants and dissolve any eggs that might remain in the colony. Apply these soaking treatments for consecutive days until you notice that all fire ant activity ceases. Once the fire ants are gone, you can remove your stakes and sweep away any remaining fire ant mounds. 

To learn more, contact a company like Good News Pest Solutions.

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Do Your Best. Get Rid of Pests. Having pests in your home is more than just annoying. Many of the common pests that invade homes are actually dangerous. Rats can bite young children, spreading serious diseases like leptospirosis and salmonella. Cockroaches can spread E. coli, and many people are allergic to proteins in their bodies. Regardless of which pest is bothering you, it is important to get rid of it as soon as possible. Pest control companies can do a lot of this work, but it is also important to be informed. After all, you are the one who lives in your home and needs to take preventative measures against pests every day. Learn the basics here on this blog, and put them to use.