Fall is the season to treat for fire ants
Wayne Gardner, a research entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and his colleague UGA Extension entomologist Dan Suiter study fire ants and ways to control them as part of the urban entomology research program on the UGA campus in Griffin.
They know, for instance, that the easiest time for homeowners to go after fire ant colonies is in the fall.
The ants tend to be most active in the spring and fall, when daytime temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees. In the fall, they spend a lot of time foraging for food.
Actively foraging ants will pick up bait and carry it into the nest within the first hour or two.
UGA specialists recommend treating fire ants by first broadcasting a fire ant bait. Apply the bait either across the home lawn or in a 4-foot circle around each fire ant mound. Use care not to disturb the mounds.
Never apply bait using a spreader that's been used to spread fertilizer. The bait's scent can be altered by the fertilizer residue. Wear gloves and use only a new spreader dedicated to treating fire ants.
Bait products do not protect against reinvasion by ant colonies from surrounding land or by newly mated queens. Ant populations can fully recover within 12 to 18 months of the last bait treatment. Low-lying, moist and flood-prone areas are more prone to reinfestation.
After a week to 10 days, kick the ant mounds or poke them with a stick and step back quickly. If there is any ant activity, apply a contact insecticide to target the mounds.
Source: UGA Cooperative Extension