Foraging Fire Ants

(ARA) – Fall is a time of year people love to spend outdoors. The cooler temperatures make back-to-school activities, sports, and working in the yard more enjoyable. Unfortunately, fire ants also enjoy the cooler weather, creating a potential health threat for millions of southern homeowners.

“One of the biggest misconceptions about fire ants is that they go away in the fall. But in actuality, fire ants often forage more actively in fall than in summer,” says Dr. Nate Royalty, Ph.D., Bayer Environmental Science. In the heat of the summer, temperatures are often too hot for fire ants, and they escape underground where it is cooler. In the fall, when the temperatures drop, they will reemerge to forage for food and to mate -- at least until the much colder winter temperatures force them back underground.

In general, fire ants like mild temperatures -- not too hot and not too cold. “Late August through October is an ideal time to take action against fire ants for several reasons,” explains Royalty. “During these months it is much easier to predict weather patterns, so application isn’t as much of a guessing game as it is in the spring and summer. In addition, foraging ants are often more active on cool days, so that more product is carried back into the mounds, subsequently increasing the speed at which the nests are eliminated.”

To eliminate fire ants this fall, follow these simple tips from Bayer Environmental Science:

1. Survey the area for fire ant mounds -- Fire ant mounds look like worked soil, and have no clear opening. If one or more mounds are present, your property should be treated.

2. Test for foraging -- Carefully throw a potato chip (an ideal bait for fire ants) on or near a mound. Fire ants are foraging if they appear and begin to eat the chip within 30 minutes. NOTE: Many lawn care and pest control professionals will inspect your yard for free; contact your local professional via www.nofireants.com.

3. Seek professional advice -- Not only are fire ants a nuisance, attempting to control them yourself can be expensive, frustrating and potentially dangerous. Contact your local lawn care or pest control professional and ask for TopChoice from Bayer Environmental Science. A single, professional application of TopChoice this fall will cure existing mounds and prevent new mounds from forming for one year.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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