Fire Ant Prevention Tips
January 30, 2018
Except for heavy rains, or perhaps a tornado, nothing can ruin a picnic quite like an invasion of fire ants. This is disturbing when it happens at the park or a campground but, when it happens in your own backyard, it is even worse. And fire ants are not only a mere nuisance; for some, they can be downright dangerous.
The red imported fire ant is a small, red-brown ant which varies from 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch in length. It has 2 nodes on the petiole and a 2-segmented antennal club, and are similar in appearance to many common house and field ants. These ants may be small but they are highly aggressive, injecting a necrotizing, alkaloid venom when they sting. The sting of a fire ant results in painful, itchy, persistent pustules and, for some, come with severe allergic reactions. When a fire ant mound is disturbed, worker ants rush to the surface and run up any legs, arms, or other body parts they can find, and proceed to grab exposed skin in their mandibles and then sting with the stingers on their abdomens. Attacks by fire ants often involve dozens or even hundreds of workers stinging in unison.
While most people can get away from fire ants after a few stings, there are some for whom fire ants present more of a risk. These folks include the very young, the very old, and the infirm. This can lead to multiple bites and a lot of misery, especially for those who have a compromised immune system. But for those who are allergic, it can mean so much more.
For those who are allergic, fire ant bites can lead to a life-threatening reaction which may include itching, difficulty breathing, a swelling of the tongue or throat, dizziness, cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. And, if early symptoms are not caught, this can lead to anaphylactic shock.
Fire Ant Prevention Tips
- Fire ants are mostly yard pests but they can get inside. When they encroach on your foundation perimeter, it is important that they do not find a way in. Do a close inspection of your exterior walls and seal any gaps, cracks, or holes you find. Also, check door sweeps to makes sure they make good contact all the way across. If no door sweeps are present, consider installing them.
- Keep your foundation perimeter raked. It is good to make a 2-foot area that stays dry. This will help to keep fire ants from establishing themselves right up next to your home.
- Fire ants are looking for food in your yard. Your goal should be to give them less of it. Make sure your exterior trash is in sealed containers and that those containers are cleaned periodically. Be sure that no one leaves juice cups or sugary things outside. These will attract fire ants.
- The best prevention is to reduce the population of fire ants in your yard. This is best done by an educated professional. Fire ants are extremely difficult to control without specialized training in industry-leading pest control protocols. When fire ant control is done wrong, it can actually make the problem worse.
Keeping your family and friends safe from potentially dangerous pests such as fire ants is something we take seriously here at Adams Exterminating Company. We have been protecting homes and businesses since 1947. If you need help with fire ants or any other pest, reach out to Adams today.