wikiHow to Prevent Fire Ant Stings

Two Parts:Leaving the ants aloneDealing with the ants

A fire ant's sting poses a serious threat to children, adults, and animals, causing pain, swelling, itching, and often, infections. A fire ant strikes in two parts: A bite followed by what feels like a sting but is actually an injection of acid into the bite wound. The bite comes from the fire ant grabbing on to skin with its jaws so the body of the ant can arch and jab the acid into the victim's skin.

Part 1
Leaving the ants alone

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    Do not disturb the mound in any way. Disturbing, playing with or breaking an ant mound will enrage the fire ants, who will respond by defending what is, after all, their home. If you can, rope the area off to prevent people from accidentally walking into the area. If you have pets and young children, consider a way to block off the area until you can deal with it properly.
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    Tell family members and visitors that you have fire ants. Explain where they are in the yard and ask everyone to stay away from the area until the ant problem has been dealt with.
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    Tell your neighbors about the infestation. One of the most effective ways to prevent further infestations is to engage in a neighborhood-wide prevention program in which every person who has the problem deals with it. This will reduce the likelihood of the fire ants returning to treat any part of the area as a new home.

Part 2
Dealing with the ants

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    Select a pest control method to treat the infestation. There are many possible ways of dealing with the fire ants. You can call in a professional who will likely take care of everything, or you can try one of the DIY methods suggested in the following steps.
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    Use granular products. Granular products, such as those containing the active ingredient fipronil, are undetectable to fire ants. Fipronil blocks the inhibitory nervous system of fire ants. It is a dual-use treatment and can be used as a preventative or a curative method, providing season-long control of treated areas. Fipronil products are ideal for fire ant treatment because one application should last an entire season. It kills the existing fire ants and prevents new colonies from forming.
    • Granules are spread with a broadcast or drop spreader and then watered to release the active ingredients into the soil where they kill fire ant queens and foraging ants.
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    Use a spray. Sprays are an effective, yet costly treatment option. The aerosol spray comes in a can equipped with a rod that is placed within the mound to distribute the chemicals. Once sprayed, fire ants die immediately. When treating with sprays, wear protective clothing, as treatment involves close contact with the fire ant mound.
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    Use dusts. Dusts are long-lasting and highly-repellent. They are ideal if moisture conditions permit. Dusts are applied by evenly sprinkling dust over the fire ant mound. The dust particles then stick to the bodies of ants as they walk through treated soil; all ants that contact the dust die.
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    Place down baits. Baits are insecticides that have been mixed with ant attractants. Worker ants carry bait particles back to the mound and feed them to the queen, and the colony cannot survive without the queen. Baits are fairly slow working and do not work in wet environments.
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    Use the two-step method:
    • Step one – Use indoxacarb bait for fast acting control of mounds.
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    • Step two - follow by using a fipronil broadcast, for year long control.
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    Use cornmeal. Apparently ants don't like cornmeal. So it's time to make fresh cornmeal! This can work for both outdoors and indoors but beware––it's rather messy.
    • Get some fresh corn (seeds) and put them in the mixer, turn it on and keep it on 'till it is fresh cornmeal.
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    • Pour a cup of cornmeal where the ants are, the ants will relocate. Put the cornmeal around your house if it is indoors, if you are outdoors just place some more cornmeal within a few feet so they don't relocate further away.
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    • This is a safe way to prevent the stings and getting the ants out. You may remove the cornmeal once you start noticing the ants are gone.
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Tips

  • If you notice the pinch of a fire ant bite, brush the ant off quickly before it has a chance to sting.
  • Know where fire ants are heavily populated and avoid those areas.
  • Learn how to identify a fire ant mound.
  • If stung, treat the sting immediately, as they can quickly get infected.
  • Learn how to identify a fire ant.
  • Always wear high socks and gloves when working in fields and gardens.

Article Info

Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds