Campus News

Apply bait, treat for fire ants in fall

Fall is the perfect time to treat your yard for fire ants. Tackling the stinging pests now will cut down on the number encountered next spring and summer, according to UGA entomologists.

“When fire ants sting, they release toxins that cause blisters, prolonged agony and even ­possible allergic reactions,” said Wayne Gardner, a research entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The ants tend to be most active when ­daytime temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Fire ant colonies reach their peak in the fall having grown throughout the summer months. 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. Wear gloves and use only a new spreader dedicated to treating fire ants.

After seven to 10 days, apply a second treatment to get the remaining ants. Kick the ant mounds and pour the insecticide quickly as the ants will scatter once the mound is disturbed.