Red fire ants with their painful bites have invaded the South and Southwest. Fire ants destroy the beauty of your lawn with their mounding nests and, more importantly, make your lawn unsafe for kids and pets.
The best way to control fire ants is to never let them gain a foothold with a two-step process of bait and spray.
Fire ants forage in humid and calm weather when soil temperatures are between 70-95 degrees. To test for fire ants, place a small pile of bait in the area and wait 20 minutes. If ants are feeding on the bait when you return, conditions are perfect. Spread 1-2½ pounds of bait per acre.
If conditions aren’t right or ants aren’t present, use a broadcast pesticide. These require much more product, 20 pounds per acre, but prevent new infestations for up to a year.
HERE’S HOW TO APPLY FIRE ANT BAIT:
- First, test for fire ants.
- Calculate how much bait you’ll need to treat your entire lawn based on size and delivery rate per square foot listed on the package label.
- Wear rubber gloves and hand broadcast evenly over the entire lawn.
- Allow 2-6 weeks for this slow-acting bait to have its full effect.
HERE’S HOW TO APPLY PESTICIDE:
- Choose a granular or liquid spray product designated for fire ant control in lawns for your region.
- Measure your lawn to calculate how much pesticide you’ll need.
- Wear a face mask and rubber gloves during preparation, application and clean up.
- Apply when the lawn is dry and no rain is forecast in the next few days.
- Apply granular pesticide with your fertilizer spreader set to the proper delivery rate designated by the label.
- Water heavily to activate the product, but do not allow water to run off into other areas.
- Keep kids and pets off the lawn until the lawn grass has dried.