Suggestions for Managing Fire Ants

R. Keith Collins  |  4/5/2011 8:47:38 PM

Keith Collins is the LSU AgCenter county agent for Richland Parish. This news article appeared in The Richland Beacon News and the Delhi Dispatch on April 7, 2011.

As warm spring air and adequate moisture have arrived, so have fire ants which many believe could survive a nuclear disaster. The persistent and ferocious fire ant can disrupt outdoor activities if proper control measures are not taken. Fortunately there are products available that can help manage the problem that allows for normal outdoor activities.

Broadcast versus individual mound treatment (IMT): The greatest advantage of broadcasting throughout a lawn versus IMT is you do not have to find the mounds to treat. It takes time to locate all mounds and often many of them are missed. When broadcasting, even the smallest, most well hidden mound will likely pick up an effective dose of treatment. Ants are also controlled for a longer period of time when broadcasting.

Baits: These products normally contain corn cob granules and soybean oil that attract the ants as well as the active ingredient (insecticide) that kills the ants. Baits will usually contain as active ingredients an insect growth regulator (IGR) or a toxicant or both. IGR’s disrupt larval development so when adults die of natural causes, they are not replaced causing colonies to gradually die out. The speed of IGR baits depends on environmental conditions but do take longer to work. Baits that contain toxicants provide faster control than IGR’s.

Contact products: These products, as the name indicates, must make contact with ants to be effective. These are generally the fastest acting but to be effective, all ants, including the queen, must make contact with the product for effective control.

This is not an exclusive list of fire ant products but does include those that should be locally available:

Extinguish Plus – IGR/Toxicant

Extinguish – IGR

Over-N-Out – Toxicant

Amdro – Toxicant

Carbaryl (Sevin) – Contact

Acephate (Orthene) – Contact

Bifenthrin (Ortho Max, Talstar) – Contact

Always read and follow labels carefully to insure proper application rates and procedures. Some products require mixing with water for mound treatments while granular formulations may or may not require watering after application for mound or broadcast applications.

Contact your local Extension office at 702 Madeline St. in Rayville or call at 318-728-3216. Visit our website at www.lsuagcenter.com/richland or on Facebook at Richland Extension.

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