Protection from Imported Ants
Fire ants first entered the United States about 1918, near
Mobile, Alabama. They then reached Mississippi around 1930. Today
fire ants have inhabited much of the Southeast. Importation included
two species. Red imported fire ants are the most common, but some
areas have black imported fire ants.
Fire ants nest in the soil within large colonies containing tens of
thousands to hundreds of thousands. A fire ant queen lays a few eggs
that eventually become workers. These first workers then help care
for their younger sisters and the colony begins to grow. Fire ants
vary in size, but all are capable of stinging. Once they attack,
they spread by swarming and are very aggressive. Here's how to
protect your horse if they live in your area.
Pouring boiling water into the mound will kill a lot of ants
quickly, but often misses the queen and fails to kill ants that are
out foraging. There is research that indicates application of
hydramethylnon directly to the mound is a better choice. Elimination
of the colony may take up to a week. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) has
achieved acceptable levels of fire ant control, although results are
inconsistent. The key is to kill the queen, killing thousands of
workers only stimulates the queen to lay more eggs.
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