Columnist: “Battling fire ants in your yard and pasture”
Red Imported Fire Ants are pests to not only homeowners but also to livestock, haying and row crop operations. Now is one of the best times of year to control Red Imported Fire Ants. May and September are the best months for controlling fire ants because they are mating and more active in May and gathering for the winter in September.
There are many homeowner broadcast bait treatments, such as: Amdro Pro, Award, Extinguish Plus, Firestar Fire Ant Bait, Pennington Fire Ant Bait, Over ‘N’ Out, and Spectricide Fire Ant Bait. The baits should be applied at labeled rates to be effective. Mound treatments include: acephate (Orthene TTO) which can be watered in with two gallons of water/mound or dusted over the top at two tsp./mound. Four ozs. of Sevin 50% wettable powder can also be mixed with 2 gallons water and sprayed over the mound. Do not disturb the mound during water treatments. Apply bait and dust in late afternoon, when ants are foraging (looking for food), so more product will get down into the mound. Extinguish is growth regulator that is safe and can be used in garden situations where you don’t want insecticide near your fruit or vegetables.
In pastures, using 50% Amdro and 50% Extinguish (which is now available combined as Extinguish Plus and labeled for use in pastures) and applying at one and 1/2 to two pounds per acre, has shown the best results. Using Amdro twice per year (May and September) at the above rate, gave 90% control in Texas research data. That is a very small quantity and it may be hard to put out alone, but since the bait is granular it can be mixed with lime or fertilizer and applied. The best time to apply is late afternoon, after the heat of the day (when the temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees F) when fire ants are foraging. Baits are not as effective if they sit in the hot field all day waiting for temperatures to get cool enough for maximum foraging.
Good News! Research by the UGA has shown that broadcast baits have no effect on the native ant population. So broadcast treatments are specific for Red Imported Fire Ants and have good efficacy. So why not start the battle today to control Red Imported Fire Ants in your yard or pasture!