Tip of the Week – Protection from Imported Fire 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.

This tip was brought to you by Kendra Helfter (www.abcplus.biz) and KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which take place monthly.  These webinars are an expansion of KAM’s weekly tips.  Go to www.kamanimalservices.com to sign up for the next webinar.

Be Sociable - Share!

Leave a Reply