Fire Ants

QUESTION: Help!! The fire ants are eating my family alive! I used to maintain a constant vigil for the towering mounds which indicated that the pain- inflictors had arrived in force. Now there are no mounds but still plenty of ants. I have heard of the "underground" but I never had a distaste for it until the ants went incognito. How can I control these stinging red devils --besides moving to Canada --when I can't even find them?

Sounds to me as if you have an identity problem. Obviously the ants are having no problem finding you and the tender flesh they enjoy so I don't see why you can't find them. We who want to have some flesh left on our bones at the end of the summer will have to change our ant-ipathy strategy. We have got to kill the ants without seeing them. To do this we use fire ant-killing baits. Baits such as Amdro, Raid Fire Ant Killer, Ascend, and Combat have been used to treat individual ant mounds but are more cost effective when lightly broadcast throughout an infested area. The rate of application for fireant baits is one to one-half pounds per acre, or one-fourth to one-half pound per average urban lawn; a little goes a long way! Allow 12-36 hours for the ants to find the killing morsels and take them back to the concealed hideaways to feed the mommy ant. There is nothing meaner than a mommy-less ant so to further put these red devils out of their, and our, misery treat the mounds in sensitive or high traffic areas with a spot treatment of diazinon or dursban granules and water immediately. Be sure to wait a week after the bait has been applied. Bye, Bye ant; hello barefoot in the yard again! For more information on fire ants and their management, visit the Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Website at:

Nathan Riggs
Fireant Extension Agent - Bexar County
e-mail is
telephone is: 210-467-6575

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