In the 1930s, on a cargo ship in Mobile, Alabama, the red imported fire ant was accidentally introduced to the United States. Since that time, black imported fire ants have also been introduced, and a hybrid species of fire ants have taken over many parts of the United States. Though fire ants are indigenous to the United States, much research is being done to study the imported ants and the new hybrid.
Millions of acres across the United States are infested with fire ants. In fact, the USDA projects that these ants will eventually spread out across the South from coast-to-coast.
Fire ants can be carried by the wind, and are carried across the country on vehicles, allowing them to travel long distances. When a mated queen travels by one of these methods, the fire ant epidemic spreads. Fire ants are very aggressive, and their collective stings can be fatal. Many farms across the country are being affected as livestock and workers deal with these infestations. In some places, fire ant infestations make whole pastures unusable.
Controlling the Epidemic
Scientists have been trying to control the spread of fire ants by using the phorid fly. This species of fly lays its eggs inside the body of the ants, eventually killing it off. The red fire ant is the most aggressive type and one of the most difficult to control. These fire ants build large mounds to live in, and attack their prey as a swarm. Some commercial products used for fire ant control in Spartanburg have been proven effective on this variety, though.
Baits provided by fire ant control in Greenville can be effective at destroying fire ants as the workers collect the bait and take it to their queen. These baits work the entire season to destroy the ant mounds. Not only does the bait kill the queen and destroy the mound, but it also prevents new mounds from forming by sterilizing new queens. The best time to use baits is during the fall or spring when there is no rain forecasted for a minimum of eight hours.
Barriers around the Home and Garden
Some sprays have been proven effective when used around the home and garden, such as perimeter pesticides. Luckily, the sprays not only work for fire ants, but also for other pests such as spiders, roaches, leafhoppers, chinch bugs, earwigs, cutworms, and crickets.
Dealing with fire ants can be a challenge, but not impossible. Speak with your local pest management company to help get your fire ant problems under control.