The South is cursed with two kinds of imported fire ants, one red (Solenopsis invicta) and the other black (S. richteri). Both deliver a sting that would put any bee to shame, but the red devils have a couple of trump cards: a hearty appetite for any critter that moves, and an aggressive streak the size of Texas.
What’s worse, these littler fuckers have stood up and flipped the bird to just about every chemical
pesticide known to man. In fact, like many other bugs, they’ve reacted to the poisonous onslaught by evolving into “super-bugs” that can fend off anything the folks in white lab coats send their way.
By sight, it’s hard to tell fire ants from the garden-variety picnic pests. To deliver death and destruction, you need to identify the nest. That can be tricky with a young colony; the most you’ll see is a slight bump in the ground. There’s no mistaking a mature mound, though; It’s a rock hard dome that’s up to 1 ½ feet high and 2 feet in diameter. The excavation often extends 3 feet or more below the surface, and there can be as many as a quarter of a million ill-tempered ants inside. Fire ants will nest almost anywhere in the great outdoors.
To wipe out a nest of fire ants, you’ll need to kill the queen, or queens. That’s all but impossible to do with poison or bait, because the worker ants test all food before it reaches the boss’ lips. Instead, your best option is to stage an ambush. For the surest and safest results, enlist a partner-in-crime for this escapade. Plan to attack early in the morning, or on a cool sunny day. That’s when the queen is usually holding court near the top of the mound. Then:
Mix up a batch of my fatal lady boss cocktail, God-Sink-The-Queen Drench:
– 4 cups of citrus peels and 3 gallons of water.
Toss the peels into a pot with the water, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Then pour the potion into the hole. The boiling water will polish off any ants it reaches, and the citrus-oil fumes will send more to the gas chamber. Repeat the procedure every two or three days, until there’s no sign of life in the mound.
Dealing with a major fire ant invasion is no job for an amateur. If these villains are too much for you to handle, call a pest control company who will use one of these two weapons:
– One word of caution: don’t let them talk you into anything more toxic, it’ll only encourage the breeding of more super-ants.
One last thing to keep in mind: fire ants are sun worshippers, so the shadier your yard is, the less
enticing it’ll look to a house-hunting queen. If you’re on the fire ants hit-list, do whatever you have to dim the lights. Plant trees and tall shrubs; build walls or fences; or grow vines on arbors and trellises. Of course, there is a risk that you’ll have to replace your grass with shade-loving groundcovers – but for my money, that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind, especially if you have children or pets on the scene.
An insect growth regulator, such as abamectin. Avermectin, is a naturally occurring soil fungus that’s lethal to fire ants.
Chad Downings is an expert in pest control home remedies. He currently runs his own company and offers free consultations for Pest Control Danbury in Connecticut