Fire ants are a common lawn pest with a very painful sting. They're also highly aggressive. If you disturb a fire ant mound, the colony will rush out, biting and stinging any person or animal they're able to climb onto. They'll also attack without provocation—if a worker fire ant crawls on you while it's out foraging, it will bite you and start to sting.
As a result of their aggression and their painful sting, fire ants are a major nuisance pest. You can usually tell that your yard has fire ants when you notice the large mounds that they build. Unlike other ant mounds, there aren't any holes in a fire ant mound—they access it via tunnels that they dig underground. If you've noticed that you have fire ants in your yard, read on to learn how to get rid of them and how to keep them from coming back.
How Do You Get Rid of Fire Ants on Your Lawn?
The most effective way to get rid of fire ants is to use pesticide bait. You can purchase fire ant bait at most home improvement stores. You spread the bait over your lawn, and the worker fire ants will pick it up and carry it back to the colony. They'll feed it to the other ants and the queen, and they'll be killed by the pesticide.
When purchasing fire ant bait, it's a good idea to buy one that contains an insect growth regulator along with a pesticide. The insect growth regulator makes the queen sterile when she eats it, which prevents her from laying any more viable eggs. If you're using bait that only contains a pesticide that kills the ants, you'll eventually end up with another fire ant infestation once the eggs the queen has laid previously begin to hatch. Using a bait with an insect growth regulator ensures that the colony won't be able to return and make another foothold on your lawn.
Fire ant bait is very effective, but it's also a slow way to eliminate a fire ant infestation on your lawn. The pesticide and insect growth regulator take time to work. If you need a quicker way to eliminate fire ants, purchase a mound drench pesticide instead. When you pour it over a fire ant mound, it will seep into the soil and rapidly kill the fire ant colony inside of the mound. When you're using it, make sure that you don't accidentally disturb the mound by touching it—you'll release a swarm of angry fire ants.
How Do You Stop Fire Ants From Returning to Your Lawn?
Once you've eliminated the fire ants on your lawn, you can prevent new colonies from arriving by setting up bait traps on your lawn every spring and fall. Any new fire ants that arrive will be quickly destroyed by the poison bait, which prevents them from establishing any large colonies on your lawn again.
While rare, fire ants will sometimes enter your home if they're unable to build a mound outside. In addition to spreading bait on your lawn to prevent them from colonizing it, you should also take steps to stop them from infesting your house. You can keep them out of your home by spreading food-grade diatomaceous earth around any openings fire ants can use to get inside your home, such as cracks in your foundation. Diatomaceous earth causes tiny cuts in a fire ant's carapace when they walk on it, and those tiny cuts make them slowly dehydrate until they die.
If you're having trouble eliminating your fire ant infestation or if they keep returning, call a pest control service in your area and have them apply bait traps to your lawn. Professional pest control services use stronger pesticides that aren't available to the average consumer, which means that a pest control service is able to eliminate fire ants quicker and more effectively. Don't let fire ants become a stinging nuisance on your lawn—eliminate the infestation and prevent them from returning again by either setting out bait yourself or having it done by a professional.
Contact a company like Command Pest Control to learn more.