Dealing with fire ants is no picnic, but getting rid of them can be as easy as Step 1, Step 2, according to experts.
Dr. Allen Knutson, entomologist, Dallas, said spring is a good time to control fire ants as this is when they search for food and build mounds, which makes them easier to locate.
Broadcast baits are the core of AgriLife Extension’s recommended treatment. The method becomes effective as temperatures begin to rise and ants begin to gather forage to feed their new brood, he said. But once hot, dry summer conditions set in, fire ants become less active and mounds become less visible as ants go deeper in search of moisture.
“It’s time now in central and southern Texas to put out baits. But we encourage homeowners in north central Texas to wait a few weeks to begin applying baits because of our cooler soil temperatures,” Knutson said. “It’s a good time to apply baits in spring as they are generally slow acting. It typically takes two to four weeks to see results from using baits containing indoxacarb, spinosad or hydramethylnon. Starting as early as possible provides more time to enjoy summer without fire ants.”
Knutson said baits with other active ingredients may require two to six months to achieve results, but often require fewer retreatments. So again, starting early has benefits.
Dr. Mike Merchant, urban entomologist, Dallas, noted fire ant activity, especially mound construction, is ramping up following the cool spring weather.
AgriLife Extension developed the Two Step methods of fire ant control to help consumers make sense of all the products on the market, Merchant said.
Learn more about the Two-Step Program: http://agrilife.org/citybugstest/files/2015/02/L-5070-1.pdf.
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