FIRE ANTS IN EASTERN KENTUCKY
FIRE ANTS IN EASTERN KENTUCKY ARE ON THE RISE!
Matthew S. Hess, President and CEO
For 20 years we have been aware that imported fire ants (IFA) have been moving north thru Tennessee, towards eastern Kentucky. As of 2016, IFA were only reported in the western part of Kentucky. By early 2022, there were reports coming in on the opposite end of the state, along the Tennessee-Kentucky border. This year, 2023, there are reports coming out of Middlesboro, Kentucky stretching back to Whitley City, Kentucky.
It seems the warmer winters may have allowed them to migrate across the border into eastern Kentucky. As they acclimate to cooler temperatures, they may soon begin to move further north, especially in flat lands.
This means Kentucky is now at higher risk for interstate transport of the invasive IFA. Moving soil, debris and other materials will begin to quickly spread populations once they are well established. Educating the public may help slow their spread but it’s not likely to stop it.
MY EARLY EXPERIENCE WITH FIRE ANTS
I saw my first fire ant mound when I was around 17 years old, in Mobile, Alabama. I had no idea what I had seen until some years later. We didn’t have fire ants in Kentucky, and they were a “killer pest” that we had only seen and heard about on TV.
Around 2005, I had a my first experience with them and it was quite educational. We were near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, staying in a cabin with the extended family. I had been in the pest business at this time, for five years but was inexperienced with fire ants since they weren’t in Kentucky at the time. Outside our cabin there was a mound beside the driveway. I suspected what they were and decided I would find out for certain.
Grabbing a nearby stick, I poked the mound like a kid playing in the mud, but with a bit more caution. I had heard they would come rushing out if they were bothered and had briefly studied their behaviors and habits. However, until that day, I had no idea just how quick and aggressive they truly were.
I had no more than pushed the stick into the mound when, before I could raise myself back up, they were all over my shoes! They came out of holes from every angle of that mound, not just the top. Within 30 seconds, they had covered the concrete drive and here I stood, the bug guy, in front of my entire family, smacking, kicking, swatting, and looking like a newbie to the pest industry. Luckily, the only bites and stings were to my shoes. I was able to get those off before any ants reached my legs… but just barely!
Until 2022, you would likely only see fire ants when traveling outside Kentucky or maybe in western Kentucky. In 2022 they were first discovered in south central Kentucky. This year, proof that they have crossed the border out of northeastern Tennessee and into eastern Kentucky has been both discovered and documented.
Just this week, April 10, 2023, an acquaintance in the pest industry sent a text to inform me that he had discovered fire ants in Middlesboro, KY. Within less than one year, IFA have been spotted in several places along the southeastern Kentucky border, moving quickly north. As many as five active mounds were found on one property alone as of April 2023. This means they are not only surviving but thriving!
Mounds like this IFA mound should be avoided and a local exterminator should be contacted for control.
WHERE DID FIRE ANTS COME FROM
Originally there were two native fire ants species in the U.S. However, non-native species have nearly wiped them out. The two species of Imported Fire Ants found in the Southern United States are Solenopsis richteri (black imported fire ant or BIFA) and Solenopsis invicta (red imported fire ant or RIFA). It is assumed that BIFA were introduced around 1918, when the first reports were made. RIFA were discovered around the late 1930’s. Both came through the port of Mobile, Alabama, presumably in the ballast soil of cargo ships coming out of South America.
BIFA infest mainly the southern portion of the U.S. but are found as far north as Tennessee. Most recently, Rite Choice Pest out of eastern Kentucky discovered what is believed to be either BIFA or a hybrid species. Interestingly, BIFA were suppressed by RIFA once RIFA were introduced in the late 30’s. This kept BIFA contained primarily to Mississippi, Alabama and a small portion of Tennessee while RIFA continued to expand their borders. The most likely scenario is that a hybrid species has made it’s way north to take up residence in “my old Kentucky home”.
RIFA, or a mix of RIFA and hybrids, infest over 300,000,000 acres of U.S. soil. According to multiple sources, they are found in the following states and territories: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin, and Puerto Rico. In our map, we added Kentucky, since even western portions have had RIFA for years.
WHAT DO IFA LOOK LIKE?
Since IFA are dangerous, it’s important to be able to easily distinguish them from other species. There are a few key identifiers which can help the average person identify these fiery enemies:
- The ants grow to be around 1/16 to 1/4 inch long and are polymorphic.
- They are dark reddish brown to reddish black in color (RIFA) or dark brown to black (BIFA)
- RIFA have a 10 segmented antenna. The last two segments are larger and form a two-segmented club.
- RIFA have two petiole and postpetiole nodes (sometimes called pedicel) separating the thorax (front) from the gaster (back).
- They build colonies which form large mounds of loose dirt above the ground. These could be mistaken for mole mounds in Kentucky and Tennessee.
- The mounds may have small holes covering the surface or no obvious holes at all.
- While fire ants do have stingers, it will take magnification to see them.
Additionally, their mound locations can be a tell-tale sign, but it isn’t full proof. While they typically prefer full sun and an open lawn, they will build in the shade or against a structure.
Whatever you do, however, do NOT poke them to get your answer. Such an answer can come at a costly price, maybe even your life!
Red imported fire ants are the most common fire ant. They have almost completely wiped out both U.S. native species and have heavily suppressed the Black Imported Fire ant. However, the black and red fire ants have been documented to cross breed and form a hybrid fire ant.
One single RIFA ant colony can contain hundreds and thousands of polymorphic workers. Each colony will also contain eggs, larvae, pupae and male and female reproductives.
The colony may be polygyne (multiple queens) or monogyne (single queen). Although the queen (or queens) will no longer have wings, both male and female winged alates may also be found within the colony which have not yet mated.
The RIFA lifecycle is the same as other species of ants and is considered complex. It consists of the egg, larva and pupa. When the white colored eggs first hatch, legless larvae emerge. The larvae must pupate before becoming one of the several casts of adults.
Like all ants, RIFAs have a complex life cycle involving four stages. The first is the egg stage. The eggs
hatch into white, legless larvae that then transform into pupae before completing metamorphosis and becoming adult workers or reproductives.
Unmated queens swarm with winged males beginning in spring and can continue throughout the year when temperatures are above 72°F. Swarms are referred to as “nuptial flights and usually occur during mid to late morning after rainfall. Two or more of these flights can occur annually, from a single, healthy colony. When temperatures in are area are optimal, simultaneous swarms are not uncommon.
While male and female alates both emerge from the same colony during swarming season, males swarm first and remain in the air. Soon after, the females emerge from the colony and take flight as well. Once in the air, mating occurs and the males promptly die. The mated alate queens will soon shed their wings, become dealate queens. They must then find a new area to begin a colony where they will construct an initial brood cell 1 – 2 inches below the surface of the ground.
Alate swarmers (winged ants) can be seen above preparing for their nuptial flight.
Dealate Colony Construction
It is not uncommon for multiple dealate queens to construct and share their brood cells. Each queen may lay 10 to 15 eggs which will hatch in 7 – 10 days. The queens will feed their larvae through mouth-to-mouth regurgitation (trophallaxis). Mated queens live on stored fat and nutrients which were produced from the degeneration of the muscles which were briefly needed for their nuptial flight.
Usually only one queen will survive a shared brood cell. They do not forage for food and the supply will be very limited. As a result, the first eggs to complete metamorphosis will create minims or small workers. These workers will now begin foraging for food, supplying the queen and maintaining the nest site. Now the queen can begin producing larger workers.
Smaller mounds (as seen above) may be a sign of new dealate queens just getting their colony established
Rapid Colony Growth
Within one month from the original nuptial flight, a colony will be producing majors (large workers), supplying the queen with food and reproducing quickly. 1400-1600 eggs per day can be laid by a healthy colony and one queen. All life stages are present in a healthy colony as well.
Queens can live as long as 7 years and build colonies that contain as many as half a million ants. As the colony grows, it may take on multiple queens. This can raise daily egg production and colony size very quickly.
Large mounds like this one are a sign of well established, healthy fire ant colonies, ready to send out alates for new colony production
What do IFA Eat?
Like many other ants, IFA eat a multitude of varying foods and are considered omnivorous. From other insects, to sweets, these ants love it all. Even animal matter and plant life like fruits, seeds, seedlings and young shoots from a variety of plants are in their diet. They can even be found in kitchens searching for carbohydrates and grease. It isn’t uncommon to find them carrying crumbs back to their colony from inside the home of infested lawns.
Fire ants feeding. It would take a brave soul to disturb them and see what their meal consists of
FIRE ANT HABITATS
Fire ants in eastern Kentucky will prefer sunny flat areas for their mounds. Areas like lawns, fields, pastures, parks and other typically inhabited areas make the perfect nesting site. Wooded areas with tree coverage is less likely to become infested. Urban areas are prime real estate for the IFA. Such areas as:
- Sports Fields
- School yards
These areas are at higher risk since lawns are usually kept short and receive direct sunlight with little to no obstruction. Additionally, RIFA will infest wall voids, beneath sidewalks, roadways and concrete slabs. This can cause collapsing of the surface area since the ants are excavating the soil beneath.
In addition to the typical infested areas, some nontypical areas where RIFA have been found are in:
- Recreational vehicles
- Junction boxes
- Traffic lights
- Phone Junctions
- Electrical stations
- and several others
RIFA have also been document to cause electrical fires by stripping the coating from wires.
HOW TO IDENTIFY FIRE ANT MOUNDS
The usual first sign that fire ants are present is their colony mound. These are large, dome-shaped mounds with a hard outer crust that protects the colony from the weather. The exception is that in sandy soils, the mound simply looks like piles of sand and may not reach the same heights as other mounds.
It is documented that mature mounds in heavy clay soils can reach as tall as 3 feet and as wide as 4 to 8 feet. Yet, the average size is 6 to 18 inches tall and 8 to 24 inches in diameter. Larger mounds may extend as far as 6 feet into the ground with long, slender galleries. Mounds vary in size and color based on colony size and environmental factors.
Mounds help control temperature fluctuations and maintain an optimal temperature year-round. In the winter months the mound helps keep the colony warm and vice-versa.
Mounds also allow an escape from heavy rainfalls, allowing the colony to move from beneath the ground into the mound above ground..
Nuptial flights (swarms) are also staged from the RIFA mound. However, the mound is not necessary for the nuptial flight or the colony, for that matter. Many colonies have been observed to have little to no visible mound.
Alate swarmers (winged ants) prepare for their nuptial flight where females will be mated mid-air
FIRE ANT STINGS
IFA are extremely aggressive and quickly respond to disturbances of their nesting sites or a food sources. Victims can be stung multiple times by one ant and if retreat is not quick enough, thousands of ants will repeat that process. As the ant begins attack, it first bites the victim, latching on for stability and then begins repeatedly stabbing it’s stinger into the skin. This creates an acute pain and forms a pustule wound within a day or two. These wounds can result in permanent scars as well. Additionally, wound sites can become infected and pose other significant health risks. The sting is described as “the sting from Hell” as it causes a persistent burning at the site of venomous injection.
Some people may be allergic to or have serious adverse reactions to fire ant venom. Symptoms can include:
- Chest pains
When Will Imported Fire Ants In Eastern Kentucky Be Most Active?
Like many insects, IFA may be more noticeable after a rain, especially if that rain follows a long and dry period. This will remain true for fire ants in eastern Kentucky as well. During extreme heat and drought, IFA move deeper underground to escape the heat and find sources of water. However, there’s a problem with being deep in the ground when it rains. As the rain falls, the ground begins to saturate with water. If the IFA do not move toward the surface, they risk drowning.
When wet weather moves in, IFA are most likely to seem more active above ground. This is when they are most likely to find their way indoors as well, searching for food and water. Additionally, this is when their mating takes place. Winged IFA swarmers Alates) will emerge from the colony during spring, summer, and early fall. These are the reproductives of the colony. They emerge, mate, and begin new colonies close by.
WILL IMPORTED FIRE ANTS IN EASTERN KENTUCKY HAVE AN ECONOMIC IMPACT?
IFA impact agriculture and natural resources because they can damage crops and equipment, and can injure pets, wildlife, and livestock. IFA impact and damage costs are estimated at 6 billion dollars annually across the US alone (Drees and Lard, 2006). As of 2022, this number has been documented at roughly 6.7 billion. By the end of 2023, it is expected that this loss could rise to more than 7 billion annually. That’s more than the annual loss of from termite damage!
Since eastern Kentucky does have farm lands and other agricultural properties, IFA could threaten economic prosperity. However, that loss should remain quite low until IFA are well established. Losses should be isolated and relatively small for several years to come.
IFA DAMAGE TYPES
The RIFA is the most commonly found fire ant species in the U.S. and are responsible for most IFA economic losses. Their presence is a nuisance which governments have desired to eradicate since their introduction. However, the IFA have proved to be quite the formidable opponent.
Crop Loss From Fire Ants In Eastern Kentucky Could Quickly Begin
Because they feed on numerous plants, including their fruits, seeds, seedlings and shoots, they are a costly pest for many farmers. Additionally, their presence in crops can negatively effect the number of beneficial pollinators in the area. Furthermore, they tend, transport and protect plant-damaging pests like aphids and mealy bugs which feed by penetrating the plants and sucking liquids from within. This repeated process transmits disease organisms and damages the plant at the sites of pentation. For these reasons, crop production and yield can be interrupted and suppressed by heavy infestations, thereby creating a loss of income.
More than 50 cultivated plants are known to incur damage from IFA as they feed from young shoots, buds, fruit, flowers and more. Among those are:
- Red potatoes
- Nursery stock
- Many more
Attacks on these crops will be magnified during periods of drought as the fire ants seek moisture from the plants. Hand-harvesting crops infested with IFA is dangerous and slow and can result in crop losses when harvesting is interrupted.
Fire Ants Consume many types of fruits
Livestock Death form Fire Ants In Eastern Kentucky Will Be Possible
IFA are dangerous to livestock, especially if newly born or debilitated in some way or tightly penned. Inability to escape fire ant attack means the animal will receive multiple stings until death occurs and the animal is subsequently consumed.
Lame, sick, newborn and penned livestock may all be at risk by fire ants in eastern Kentucky
Other Animals and Insects Will Suffer Due To The Impact Of Imported Fire Ants In Eastern Kentucky
Fire ants feed on a variety of foods as previously mentioned. A variety of animals and insects are among those food sources. Fire ants will seek out and attack a variety of native species including:
- Native Ant species
- Caged animals
But this list is far from complete. A variety of ground-nesting arthropods and vertebrates are certainly included, along with any other animal or insect they can manage to either take down or find already debilitated in some way. Their impact on ecosystems is well documented and real. Native species are heavily impacted by the introduction of IFA.
Lizards, small birds and other animals will be impacted by fire ant populations in eastern Kentucky
Urban Areas Will Eventually Be Negatively Effected By Imported Fire Ants In Eastern Kentucky
While fire ants don’t typically nest indoors, it isn’t impossible. Any indoor fire ant infestation should prompt an immediate call to a professional pest company. Do not disturb or go near an indoor infestation.
Most infestations will be found outdoors, especially in the lawn, but near structures, sidewalks and other outdoor structures can easily become a nesting site as well. Excavation of the soil beneath these areas can cause structural problems which must be monitored and promptly repaired. Gardens are also at risk and any visible mounds should be professionally treated in order to maintain crop integrity and reduce contamination by misuse of insecticides.
Fire Ants Indoors
Documents show that IFA will enter buildings during periods of high rainfall. When this occurs, children, the elderly and the infirm are at risk. Several deaths have been recorded which were the result of multiple fire ant stings in both bedfast adults and small children. Hospitals, daycares, nursing homes and similar facilities must be diligent in reducing and controlling fire ant populations on their property.
In residential settings, all pets and small children should be closely monitored and never left alone, especially if known IFA infestations exist. A colony may overtake a small child or pet in a short amount of time. Mounds in residential and commercial lawns are also aesthetically unpleasant and may have an impact on outdoor activities as well.
In commercial settings, the IFA will nest near dumpsters and other trash receptacles where easy food is found. This could be problematic if populations rise and spread near parking areas or entrances, which would pose a threat to customers and patrons.
WILL FIRE ANTS IN EASTERN KENTUCKY NEGATVELY EFFECT RESIDENTS AND ANIMALS?
If the mounds of fire ants in eastern Kentucky are disturbed, the colony will react quickly and be all over your body before you realize you’re even near them. Unfortunately, they are a very aggressive species. One ant can sting multiple times and most often the ants defend their colony by attacking intruders in large numbers. This can many multiple stings at once. Their stings cause a painful and burning sensation which is where they get their name. Additionally, the site of the sting will be left with a raised bump on the skin,.
IFA both bite and sting. The bite gets the ant anchored to the aggressor (the aggressor is whoever or whatever disturbs the nest) so it can curl its abdomen for the painful sting. These stingers are always ready at the end of their abdomen, just waiting for a fight. The venom in the sting is the source of the pain and burning. Their venomous stings can cause simple allergic reactions in some people or serious problems like anaphylactic shock in others.
Usually, a victim receives multiple stings from multiple ants. Often large portions of the body are affected. The raised bumps from the stings can later become very itchy. When several stings occur on concentrated portions of the body, itching can be severe. Scratching these stings can potentially lead to secondary problems like staph or MRSA infections.
Since eastern Kentuckians aren’t yet familiar with IFA, they could effect both people and animals negatively. Children love to kick dirt and IFA mounds may simply look like a pile of dirt to a small child. Educating the public NOW about the introduction of IFA in the area and the threats they pose, might help prevent this.
FIRE ANT CONTROL IN OTHER STATES
Fire ant control has been ongoing in the southern states for close to a hundred years now. In Tennessee, they have been fighting the IFA for decades. Especially in the southern and western parts of the state. That meant they were dangerously close to Kentucky already and likely to make their way across the border.
Pest control professionals and state agencies have worked tirelessly to prevent the spread of IFA and contain their borders. Treatment techniques, insecticides and use methods have been studied, created and perfected over the years. The industry’s impact has likely stifled their spread much more than we may realize.
IFA colony development into the eastern Kentucky region has spread from northern Tennessee over the last several years. Many of the contractors working in the area have come out of areas in Tennessee where IFA are known to exist. Moving soil, landscaping products, machinery and equipment, building products and other materials may have contributed to their movement into eastern Kentucky and will aid their movement further north.
State agencies in Kentucky have been monitoring and treating known infestations this side of the border. Their goal is to prevent the spread of IFA’s and learn more about the pest in the process.
FIRE ANT CONTROL FOR PEST CONTROL PROFESSIONALS
Individual mound treatments and baiting methods can both be used to reduce and eliminate small populations in lawns and close to structures. Of course, label instructions should be both read and followed with any pesticide applications. When treating for fire ants, misuse of insecticides and improper treatment methods are responsible for much of the fire ant spread which occurs in the U.S.
The Best Time To Treat
The best treatment time for fire ants in eastern Kentucky is spring and summer, directly after a rain and early morning or late evening. It is important to treat mounds quickly after they are formed. In this way, they are not allowed to grow enough to send out reproductive and spread their colonies. However, young colonies are harder to spot and therefore fewer will be treated in the early stages of the eastern Kentucky spread.
Single Mound Treatments
Treatment of individual mounds will be common, especially in the early developmental stages of the eastern Kentucky invasion. It is important for pest control professionals to know how to deal with this ant species so that we might control them rather than spread them.
The first key thing to remember is that the mound needs to remain undisturbed before treatment is made. Disturbed mounds mean displaced ants. Displaced ants won’t be affected by liquid drenches and may not be affected by granules or dusts since disturbed mounds can cause budding or potentially cause the queen to be relocated by the workers.
When treating single mounds, there are a few methods used. We will discuss each one including the pros an cons:
Drenching means exactly what it sounds like; liquid insecticides are poured or injected into the mound and the colony is flooded with properly labeled insecticides. Drenches can be fast-acting but short lived in some situations. If the queen is too deep in the earth for the drench to reach her, the colony will re-appear, possibly bud and end up twice the problem as before. A professional pest company’s reputation would be in jeopardy if such treatments were made.
To prevent this, proper equipment is necessary to ensure deep penetrating treatments which will reach the queen every time. Incorrect applications won’t only be ineffective to the ant colony but could be potentially harmful to the applicator and the environment. Additionally, improper technique and personnel with little to no knowledge of the pest may end up attacked by the colony.
Drenching can certainly be effective when the proper insecticide is chosen, the right application tools are used and the right methods of application are chosen. If any of these three components are lacking, the chances of success dwindle drastically.
With any insecticide, users must follow the label instructions for their safety, the safety of others and proper effectiveness. Baiting fire ant mounds should usually mean baiting the perimeter of the mound. Dropping bait atop the mound can disturb the ants and cause them to avoid the bait and possibly bud or move their queen. Additionally, applying too much bait can cause the ants to avoid the bait altogether. In either scenario, both the professional and the customer lose.
Baiting Single Mounds
Single mound treatments using granular baits are great treatment options for fire ants. There are some drawbacks, however, which the pest professional must be aware of. One such draw back is failure to reach the queen. Regardless of the treatment type, the queen must be eliminated or the colo0ny will continue. Baits with inferior actives, actives which are too strong or the wrong actives must be avoided. If the bait kills the workers before it can be stored and fed to the queen, it will be unsuccessful. It must be a slow-acting ingredient like fipronil or other similar actives.
Baiting Multiple Mounds
When dealing with large infestations of IFA, baiting is really the only viable option. Broadcasting bait over large areas can be effective in eliminating multiple colonies at once with less effort and risk than mound drenching or water-in granules. When baiting large areas, controlling where the ants feed can be in the professional’s interests. Controlled pre-baiting with non-lethal baits or bird seed can be used in much the same manner as corn feeders are used with deer. Once the ants are eating in your preferred treatment zone, you can begin to mix baiting with your seed application and control will soon be achieved.
Bait applications are usually the most effective applications for IFA and require the least effort, knowledge and PPE. Although they work much slower and the results taking longer to manifest, the end results are complete and lasting. Additionally, they are safer when applied in the proper manner. These slow-acting baits allow the foragers time to return to the colony with the bait and feed the colony. Always remember when baiting IFA that less is more. It shouldn’t be hard to remember, once you have paid the high premium for a good fire ant bait!
Weather Impacts On Bait
When using baits, the weather plays a key role in application times. IFA will not forage in temperatures below 65° F and forage very little when temperatures exceed 85° F. Baits should be applied on dry days in the early morning or after 6:00 P.M. during the summer when the ants are actually foraging. Baits are already slow-acting but can be made slower if few ants are retrieving the bait to bring back to the colony. This is why pre-baiting, as previously mentioned, is beneficial in IFA control.
Since baits are typically water soluble, they will require re-application after periods of heavy rainfall. Knowing the predicted weather can help isolate the best treatment time when using baits. At least 24 hours with no predicted rainfall will allow the colony time to retrieve the bait.
Some labels may restrict the areas where certain baits can be used. For instance, it is important to know whether the baits are safe to use on playgrounds, dog parks or near bodies of water. Additionally, non-target animals and insect species may be adversely affected in certain conditions by certain baits. Having a “one-stop-shop” treatment plan is not going to take the professional very far. A plethora of baits may need to be available depending on the various areas you may be called to treat.
Dry Formulation Treatment
Dusts and granules can also be used to control fire ants but are much less effective than drenching or baiting.
To eliminate an IFA colony, all queens must be killed. This is best left to a professional pest control company like Four Seasons Pest Solutions. We are well-trained to handle your IFA infestation and know how to stop them in their tracks. Furthermore, we can keep them from spreading and prevent them from building new sites on your property.
TREATING FOR FIRE ANTS IN EASTERN KENTUCKY
Since the pest industry hasn’t previously dealt with fire ants in eastern Kentucky , some professionals may not be familiar with the control methods. It may be difficult to find experienced professionals right away. As with other invasive pest species, often the homeowner, state agencies and pest professionals all get to learn together. Don’t be disheartened, however, because most pest professionals will quickly adjust to a new species and have your IFA infestation treated before you know it.
Here at Four Seasons Pest Solutions, we use a variety of methods, including baiting and sub-soil drenching. Depending on the infestation location and severity, we may employ multiple methods to eliminate the pest. We have been providing pest services in Tennessee since 1978 and are very familiar with the IFA and the most successful control methods.
Don’t Bother With DIY Treatments
If you’re thinking of a DIY treatment for fire ants in eastern Kentucky, DON’T! Inferior treatment methods and over-the-counter insecticides can cause treatment failure. In turn, this can cause colony “budding”, where several queens may leave the treated colony and begin new ones. That means one improperly treated colony could turn to 3 or more. Additionally, IFA treatments by untrained persons who lack a basic knowledge of the pest could sustain personal injury or even death. Self treatment and DIY methods are not recommended for fire ants. In almost every case, you will end up spreading the problem instead of eliminating it.
A Common Wives-Tale
You may have heard that grits will kill ants. The science behind this old-wives-tale is, well, absent as a matter of fact. The fable teaches that the ants consume the grits and then the grits expand causing the ant to explode. In fact, this is not true at all and if it were, it would defy all that science knows about ants, since adult ants cannot consume dry food and depend on trophallaxes instead.
Gas, Diesel, and Flammable Liquids
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE GASOLINE, OIL, DIESEL or other products not designed for IFA control. Not only will it be unsuccessful but will also cause their spread. I’m a redneck from Kentucky myself, but the redneck method of treating a yellow-jacket nest WILL NOT work on fire ants!
So, enjoy your life and let the pest professionals here at Four Seasons Pest Solutions take all the risk. A small problem made bigger or even a day in the hospital could easily be avoided by skipping any DIY fire ant treatments. Plus, you have my personal promise that Four Seasons’ IFA treatments are cheaper than a hospital visit!
Remember, It’s okay to live among pests… but you don’t have to live with them!
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