Ants are common visitors to picnics, cookouts, and other outdoor events. While this can be irritating, ants are just a nuisance—unless, of course, they're fire ants. Most Plano folks know the sting of fire ants. When these ants show up at your outdoor gatherings, they can be miserable to deal with. So what can you do when you start to see these ants creating mounds in your yard? That's what we're going to take a look at today. Here's how to get rid of fire ants on your Plano property.
Step One: Don't Take Bad Advice
Before we get to what works, it is important to take a moment to mention a few things that don't work. It is surprising how many people try to deal with fire ants using home remedies.
- It might seem like a cheap and eco-friendly solution to pour boiling water into a fire ant mound, but this method falls short in that it doesn't get deep enough to kill all the ants in the colony. The likely result is that you'll scald yourself and still have fire ants in your yard.
- Some old wives' tales recommend corn grits to solve fire ant problems. This theory is that the worker ants eat the grits and explode. Unfortunately, whoever came up with this idea doesn't realize that fire ant workers don't eat solid food. People likely think this works because pouring grits on a mound can disturb a nest and cause the ants to spread out and recolonize. This can make the problem worse.
- Spraying pesticides on ant mounds has the same effect that corn grits do. While you might kill a few ants near the surface, the spray won't get deep into a colony and will only result in colony budding.
When you take bad advice, you can actually make it more difficult for a licensed pest management professional to treat the mounds in your yard, and this could increase the cost of your pest control. If there is any chance you're going to call in a professional, it is best to let them be the first to apply mound treatments.
Step Two: Address Food Sources
Fire ants go where the food is. There are many things that fire ants consider to be food. When you consider them and reduce food options, you can succeed in resisting, or even repelling, fire ants in a natural way.
- These ants are drawn to garbage. Ensure you keep trash in cover receptacles and keep your receptacles free of strong odors.
- Bottles and cans in recycling bins can attract fire ants. Be sure to clean these items.
- A dirty grill can lure fire ants. Keep your grill as clean as possible.
- Fire ants can eat protein. If you feed your pets outside, consider putting food down only during mealtimes.
- Fire ants eat bugs. If you have leaf or palm litter on the ground near your home, they can be an ideal foraging area for fire ants. It pays to stay on top of your yard work.
- Fire ants love honeydew. This is a sweet substance created by aphids and other plant-damaging pests. Strong plant health will help to resist aphids and, in turn, resist fire ants.
- Be sure to clean up after cookouts and refrain from leaving food or drink outside.
Step Three: Remove Habitat Preferences
There are many places fire ants can live. If you remove habitat preferences, it can deter these ants.
- Wood piles, such as construction materials and wood borders around gardens, can draw fire ants. Consider removing these or moving them away from your exterior to prevent fire ants from getting into your home.
- If you have a thick layer of mulch, this will provide an attractive habitat for fire ants. Thin the mulch to reduce this attractant.
- Potted plants can be interesting to fire ants.
- Remove rock piles or move them away from your exterior.
Step Four: Mound Treatments And Baits
When fire ants are insistent and you're unable to keep them away with natural deterrents, it is necessary to use control products. These should be selected and administered by a licensed pest professional. Like boiling water, corn grits, and sprays, ant control products can fail to get control of fire ants and can work to cause them to spread out and create multiple colonies in your yard.
At Bug Head Pest Control, we help Plano property owners get effective control of fire ants and other pests. If you start having fire ant problems, let us know. We can guide you toward the right solution for your property. Reach out to us today to learn more about our ant control options!