How to Get Rid of Fire Ants On Your Mississippi Property
Fire ants are invasive pests that can cause thousands of dollars in medical treatment and damage repair. Read on to learn how to get rid of fire ants here.
Did you know that invasive species cost the US anywhere from $1.1 billion to a staggering $120 billion every year? As if that’s not bad enough, these invaders threaten up to 50% of the country’s native species!
One such invasive species is the fire ant, which has found its way to Mississippi back in the 1930s. There are two types found in the Magnolia State: the red and black imported fire ants. Both are social critters, with each colony containing up to 200,000 individual ants.
It’s crucial to learn how to get rid of fire ants, not only because their bites are painful. They can also cause severe property destruction. In 2003 alone, they cost the US $640 million in electrical and telecoms equipment damage.
All that should be enough to make you want to know how to get rid of fire ants in the house. We’ll tell you exactly how, so be sure to read on!
Pest Identification: The First Key Step on How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
Other insects, such as some of the 30,000 species of wasps, may look similar to ants. The problem is, wasp stings can be more dangerous than fire ant bites. That’s why it’s critical to know the exact pest species you’re dealing with.
As mentioned above, fire ants can either be black or red or reddish-brown to reddish black. Pedicels or nodes (connecting segments near the abdomen) distinguish ants from wasps. Wasps don’t have these tiny connectors or sections.
Fire ants are usually an eighth to a quarter of an inch long, starting from the tip of the antenna to the end of the stinger. The stinger itself is a visible protrusion from the insect’s abdomen. Aside from the abdominal stinger, these invasive species also have mandibles.
When fire ants sting, they use their mandibles to lock onto their “victim.” From there, they inject their venom via the stinger, which they can do for about seven to eight times. 95% of the toxin is an alkaloid, and it’s the culprit behind the ant stings’ cytotoxic properties.
You should do your best to avoid fire ant stings, as their attacks can lead to severe burning sensations. In some people, large local reactions on the skin can occur, measuring more than 10 cm in diameter. These are the extremely painful kind of stings.
More than that, local fire ant sting reactions can lead to anaphylaxis. This is especially true for people who are allergic to insect bites. This includes about 3% of adults and between 0.4% to 0.8% of kids in the United States.
You can also tell that you have fire ants at home if you see mound- or dome-shaped nests on the ground. These are the ants’ nesting and breeding grounds. Don’t touch these, as fire ants are aggressive, and they will attack when their nest gets disturbed.
DIY Yay or Nay?
Fire ants invade Mississipi’s homes, schools, golf courses, parks, and farms. They can detect food debris on floors from afar, as they have incredible olfactory senses. They use their odor receptors to track potential sources of nourishment.
Speaking of which, ants have four to five times greater odor receptors than other insects. On average, they have about 400 odor receptors. By contrast, honeybees only have 174.
With all that said, fire ants are extremely difficult to control with basic DIY removal alone. There’s also the risk of painful stings if you disturb their nests. It’s also vital to treat all mounds at the same time; otherwise, you won’t be able to completely get rid of all colonies.
In addition, effective fire ant removal relies on proper timing and insecticide dosages. If you use too little pesticide, it likely won’t be enough to address all of the stinging insects. Use too much of it, and it can cause permanent destruction of the soil’s nutritive elements.
Improper handling of chemicals can also pose serious health and safety risks. Mississippi also has stringent pesticide laws, non-compliance of which can lead to penalties.
Get In Touch With a Jackson Metro Pest Specialist
Locating all nests is the most crucial step on how to get rid of fire ant mounds effectively. Missing only one of these breeding and hiding grounds will result in reinfestation.
That’s why the most efficient way to eliminate fire ants once and for all is with the help of a professional. Jackson pest control specialists utilize science-based techniques to locate and eradicate fire ants. These methods are part of a comprehensive system called the “Texas Two-Step.”
We have the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to thank for having developed this system. Although first performed in the Lonestar State, Two-Step works on fire ants all over the US.
How the Professional Ant Removal Process Works
One of the biggest pros to having pest experts do the Two-Step program is the ease of fire ant location. Your Jackson pest specialists will start by broadcasting baits over your lawn. This is even more important if your home has a crawlspace.
Once spread across your property grounds, worker fire ants will walk over these baits. The foragers will carry back bait particles to each of their colonies. They then share these with the other individual ants within the nests.
What makes baits work against fire ants is that they contain insecticides. These substances can either cause direct death on the insects or impair their growth.
The effectiveness of baits also lies in the fact that the ants themselves spread them around. They introduce the pesticide directly into the nests. As such, this method controls not only the visible foragers but also the ones hiding inside the nests.
Yes, that includes the queen, which has the ability to lay up to a thousand eggs each day. What’s more, each colony can be a home to more than a dozen queens.
Baits are more effective when spread out than when placed in individual mounds. That’s because many nests may not have easily-visible dome-like shapes. Some may also be hiding in grassy areas near your property.
By lightly scattering the baits on your lawn, they will literally cover more ground.
The second part of the Two-Step Method is to treat the worse of the ant colonies. These are usually the nests built closest to the foundations of the building. They can also be the mounds found near or within high-traffic areas.
Direct mound treatment is essential for eliminating individual colonies. It involves the direct application of a granular insecticide over each problem mound. When the chemical gets drenched with water, it will release the pesticide into the soil.
Jackson pest experts also use liquid insecticides as part of the fire ant control method. They mix these chemicals with water and then apply proper dosages into each mound. The solution travels into the deeper crevices of the nest, all the way into the queen’s chambers.
Preventing Fire Ants From Invading Your Home
Fire ants won’t think twice about entering your home to search for food, which they will then bring back to the nest. If allowed to enter your home, they will leave a scent trail. They will “reuse” these pheromone-scented paths to enter and exit your home like they own it.
With that said, you should contact a Jackson Metro pest control firm as soon as you notice ground mounds. This way, you can schedule your home for a complete pest inspection. The pest specialists will confirm if you have fire ants, as mounds can also be a sign of termites.
In the meantime, you can keep most types of pests out of your home through proper sanitation. Clean spilled food and drinks right away with soap to keep them from leaving odors on surfaces.
If you have some cinnamon, you can also use this to help remove established ant trails. It appears that ants hate the smell of this spice. Baking soda can also help wipe away the hormones left by these stinging insects.
You should also seal possible entryways such as leaks and gaps on windows and doors. Besides, sealing and insulating these holes can save you up to 20% on your cooling or heating costs! So, that’s all the more incentive to keep your home hole-free.
Put a Stop to These Invasive Fire Ants Now
There you have it, your ultimate guide on how to how to get rid of fire ants in the safest, most effective manner. For your own safety, don’t get too near any mound that you see on your lawn. You may notice them right away, but soldier ants may quietly creep up your legs before they sting.
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