Dealing With Fire Ants: Dos and Don’ts

red imported fire ants

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Red imported fire ants are no bugs to be trifled with. These dark, reddish-brown insects get their common name ("fire ants") from the sharp, burning pain that their stings cause. In large amounts, fire ant venom can affect the nervous system severely enough to cause hallucinations. In rare cases, a fire ant's venom can trigger an allergic reaction strong enough to cause the victim to go into shock.

If you have a fire ant infestation, your highest priorities should be safety and finding an effective, long-term pest control solution. Below are the most critical things that you should and should NOT do when dealing with these insects.

DO keep your distance.

A fire ant colony stretches much farther than the mound that sits on top of your lawn. When the ants feel threatened, they swarm out of a network of underground tunnels to sting the "enemy." If you see a dirt mound on your property, stay away, and make sure to keep your family members and pets away from it as well.

DO check for other mounds.

If your infestation involves a multiple-queen colony, there could be dozens of other mounds around your yard. Scope out your property to know where they are and where the danger is. Proceed with caution, and wear close-toed shoes when checking out the situation, in case you happen to walk close to some fire ant tunnels.

DO let your neighbors know.

Very likely, if you have fire ants, your neighbors do too. Warn your neighbors about the infestation on their property so that they can check for one on theirs. They'll appreciate the heads-up, especially if they have children and pets who play in the yard!

DO NOT spray with hairspray or household cleaning products.

Most beauty and household cleaning products will not kill the colony entirely. While some of these products may act as temporary repellents, the ants will most likely move just a few feet over.

DO NOT bother with dry rice or grits.

The idea behind this pest control method is that the ants will eat the rice or grits, drink water, and then die when the grain expands inside them. However, the fire ant workers can't consume solids, only liquids, which makes this method useless.

DO NOT pour boiling water over the mound.

Pouring boiling water on and around the mound may kill many fire ants, but it's unlikely to kill the queen. The colony will return and rebuild. Plus, you risk scalding yourself in the process.

DO NOT attempt to burn the mound.

When that small voice in your head says, "Kill it with fire!", ignore it! Many people try to construct makeshift flamethrowers out of lighters and flammable aerosol sprays. They then attempt to burn fire ant mounds out of existence. As with the methods mentioned above, you can't get rid of the entire infestation this way. More than likely, you'll end up calling the fire department or heading to the emergency room.

A Long-Term Solution to Fire Ants

Without professional training and experience, it can be difficult to determine the extent of your fire ant infestation. It can be even harder to treat the problem effectively on your own in a safe way with lasting results.

At Sage Pest Control, we have years of experience handling fire ant issues for homeowners in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh. We use integrated pest management strategies to not only treat the current problem but also prevent infestations from returning. Our pest control experts use the best, eco-friendly products available--a much safer and more effective alternative to the products available off the shelf at Walmart or Home Depot.

Get in touch with us today online at (704) 413-3398 for a free phone estimate for ant removal services in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, and beyond.

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