Sometimes, the smallest pests pose the biggest problems. Fire ants in Fort Worth, which can number in the millions and pose health risks, fall into this category. Knowing how to effectively control fire ants will put you a step ahead of making sure that these terrible invaders don’t colonize your property.
Fire Ant Overview
Fire ants are a variety of ant that was originally imported to the Americas from the Old World, but they have thrived all over the Western Hemisphere. Here are some of their traits, and where you’re likely to find these ants:
- Color : Fire ants get their name from their bright red coloration — and the fact that their stings cause a burning sensation.
- Size: Fire ants are incredibly tiny, usually no larger than a couple of millimeters in length. They make up for their small size with big numbers, however, as fire ant colonies outpace many other varieties in reproduction.
- Mounds: Fire ant mounds are often in flat, open areas. Their mounds themselves often don’t look very mound-like, though. Fire ants don’t build mounds so much as they burrow up from the ground and form holes that lead to other highways of their colonies.
Dangerous Little Pests
Not only can fire ant colonies quickly grow, but they are also extremely hard to get rid of completely. By their nature, ant colonies can survive elimination attempts because their reproductive queens stay protected from harm throughout their lives. Fire ant colonies, however, are even trickier. If improperly handled, one fire ant colony can split into several in a process called “budding,” where multiple mature ant colonies — ones that can maintain their own populations — form in an effort to survive.
It’s especially bad that fire ants are so hard to eliminate because they are one of the most dangerous types of ants to deal with. While people mischaracterize their stings as “bites,” they are painful no matter what they are called. Some people have harmful allergic reactions to the venom that accompanies a fire ant sting. Even those without allergies can require medical attention if enough stings happen, which is not uncommon with fire ants that swarm quickly when agitated.
Fire Ant Prevention — Right And Wrong
As with all pests, it’s best to take the early steps to prevent fire ants colonies from forming rather than have to deal with a full-blown infestation. Knowing what prevention tips work, and which ones are just ill-advised, is very important:
Good To Do
- Crack sealing: Nearly every ant infestation starts outside and then ants move indoors to forage for food or find access to other materials. Inspecting your home for cracks or holes and filling them in where necessary can keep bugs of all kinds out.
- Deep cleaning: Keeping a clean home, especially focusing on often-neglected areas under appliances, will make the inside of your home less attractive to ants of all kinds.
- Lawn treatment: The best way to keep your home protected is to make sure massive colonies don’t form outside. Proper inspection and application by trained professionals will ensure you don’t cause an existing colony to bud into multiple ones.
Bad To Do
- Mound-tipping: For one, fire ant mounds aren’t very “tippable.” For another, you’re just asking for a painful week if you risk the dozens of stings that are likely to come from going near a fire ant mound.
- Ant traps: These are largely ineffective because the few thousand ants you can catch in makeshift or store-bought traps won’t even make a dent in their numbers. Especially since queens will just make more ants.
- Baits: Using the wrong ant bait is not only ineffective, but it can also worsen the problem. If a bait doesn’t quickly kill the reproductive queens in a fire ant colony, the population will bud into several different colonies that are each capable of producing millions of ants.
Cantu = Can Do
Since the risks that come with a fire ant infestation are so high, and because improper handling of the problem can worsen it, the best course of action is to partner with local pest professionals. At Cantu Pest & Termite, our trained technicians know exactly where to look for fire ants and the things that attract them to your property. Not only can we provide more prevention tips and implement solutions that will stop colonies from forming, but only professional solutions can provide peace of mind if a fire ant colony has already invaded your yard.
Don’t risk it, call Cantu for complete and proper pest control for your Fort Worth home.