We all know what that specific mound of dirt represents. Inside that seemingly harmless pile of carefully placed dirt are countless fire ants. Although you may think that simply washing away the pile will be the best preventative pest control method, don’t be surprised when another pile pops up the next day.
Facts about Fire Ants
Introduced to the United States in the 1930s, fire ants have rapidly spread to numerous states, especially in the South. If their name isn’t enough of a suggestion to their power, maybe the fact that they can inject venom into their prey shows how dangerous these particular ants are. Unfortunately, there are numerous cases each year of young children dying from either anaphylactic shock associated with allergies or because they were stung numerous times.
Although their name suggests that all fire ants would be a reddish color, some fire ants are black. The body of the ant tells which species it is; however, it’s quite hard for a layperson to identify which ant is which. (This is where a professional can come in and treat for that specific pest.) A more common fire ant is the Red Imported Fire Ants; these particular ants are highly aggressive and can build colonies of 100,000 members.
How to Prevent Fire Ants
Before you get too bogged down in how terrifying these ants may seem, know that it IS POSSIBLE to prevent colonies from growing as well as eliminate any that may already be present.
The only truly 100% effective way to prevent these pests and eradicate any that already exist is to hire a professional. It’s best to consult with a pest control service in the late spring and early summer, as this is the time that the ants and their colonies are in the “growth” phase.
Although there are many websites that may list a few home remedies, the remedy must be powerful enough and go deep enough into the colony to kill the queen. Even if 99.9% of the colony is destroyed, if the queen survives, a new colony will soon be built.
Of course, there are some preventative pest control steps you can take to reduce the likelihood that these creatures will find a home in your home and/or yard.
- Much like other pests, fire ants need water, a food source, and someplace to build their colony.
- Keeping your yard clean and clear—getting rid of excess shrubbery and any other debris—helps eliminate potential spots for fire ants to start a new life.
- Mow your grass often, so as to prevent places where piles can be hiding.
- Store trash cans as far as possible from your house and make sure the lids are on tight; occasionally washing out the cans with some type of cleaning solution is always a good idea.
- Surprisingly enough, fire ants really love pet food, so making sure that you clean up after your dog or cat is a great way to eliminate the potential for fire ants to make their home inside your house.
Once again, although these are great preventative measure to take when fighting pests, they don’t outweigh the benefits of what a professional, like Economic Exterminators, can do.