While it is true that sometimes we can’t eliminate fire ants completely, we can certainly control them effectively. Using the correct products at the correct time can result in 90-95% control throughout the year. By timing applications based on seasonal behaviors, we use the ant’s biology against them.
During the winter and early spring, fire ants depend largely on stored food to survive. They retreat deeper underground to avoid cold temperatures. Thus, you don’t really see them or their mounds from December to February. In April, however, they emerge and begin foraging heavily outside. This is when we make our first broadcast bait application as they will quickly pick up the bait and destroy themselves, leaving you with nearly zero active colonies.
We can also spot treat some of the larger mounds to help speed up the process. Just know, an effective fire ant baiting treatment will take 7-10 days before the full effects to take hold. Ants are finicky creatures so we need them to take the bait deep down into the mound to the queen and not get wise to our intentions before it gets to her.
During the early and late summer, fire ants spread to new areas mainly through their reproductive flights, also called swarms (Read our blog about swarming fire ants). Their “spreading” around is usually all done by October, but the ants are still actively foraging as they attempt to build up their food reserves for the coming winter. Now is when we strike again with a second broadcast bait application. Since they aren’t moving to new areas any more, this application will wipe out the fire ants until they swarm again in the Early Summer. See April paragraph above.
April and October broadcast bait applications result in the greatest reduction in fire ant abundance. Control may still needed for a few invading colonies during the summer, of course. But during those times, we can spot treat mounds with bait as needed. Remember, you can fight with them yourself this fall, or you could call us at Venus Pest Company for your pest control needs in College Station, Bryan, and Dallas here in Texas – and let us worry about it!