Campus News

Control ants by baiting in the fall

When you think of fire ants in the fall, “vulnerable” isn’t the first word that pops into your mind. But it should be.

If Dan Suiter, a Cooperative Extension entomologist with UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, could treat fire ants only once a year, he says he’d do it in the fall.

Fire ants are easier to kill in the fall, he said.

They’re more active. That makes it easier to treat them with fire ant baits.

“You can use fire ant baits any time of the year,” Suiter said. “But they’re most effective when the ants are actively foraging for food.”

Fire ants are most active in spring and fall, when daytime temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees, he said. Actively foraging ants will pick up a bait and carry it into the nest within minutes.

In the cooler weather of fall, fire ants aren’t too deep in the ground. That makes them easier to kill with a mound-drench, granular, dust or aerosol contact insecticide.

Also fire ant colonies tend to be young in the fall—recently established and small. To treat them before the mounds become large, use a fresh fire ant bait. 
Apply it by the label directions, he said. Then treat individual problem mounds with an approved contact product. The final step is simply to repeat the first step once or twice a year.