Fire ants are the worst. Their bites are painful (and potentially dangerous for your kids and pets) and their very existence can create issues for your lawn. Ants dig tunnels under your lawn that can damage the roots of your grass and leave patches of unsavory dead lawn. Ant hills can also be a problem. They can damage mower blades and cause your lawn to be mowed at an uneven height, not to mention they are pretty unpleasant to look at. Controlling a potential fire ant problem during the fall season can pay major dividends when the following spring rolls around.
Autumn is the perfect time to try to rid your lawn of these pesky pests. Unlike some other insects, fire ants are most active when the weather begins to cool down. During the extreme temperatures of summer or winter, fire ants dig deeper to avoid hot or cold weather. However, when the temperatures are less severe the ants colonize closer to the surface. This allows for more effective treatment when using fire ant killers like a dust or a contact kill aerosol spray that require direct contact to kill the ants.
Fire ants use fall as their time to roam around searching for food, making this the perfect time to effectively use bait traps for fire ant control. Fire ant bait can be used year-round, but fire ants that are actively searching for food in preparation for winter hibernation are particularly easy targets. The ants that take the bait will bring it back to their nest and attack the ant colony from within. Bait traps are far less effective during the summer and winter, when the fire ants are less active and less likely to fall into the trap.
Lastly, perhaps the main factor that makes fall the single best time to treat fire ants is the fact that it is followed by winter. Cold weather can be devastating to fire ant colonies. Your bait may take a few weeks to work, but once it enters the colonies, it weakens them and makes them less able to respond to the challenges of cold winter weather. Young colonies are especially vulnerable since they don’t have many worker ants, making it difficult for them to escape the harsh conditions quickly.
Taking action this fall can save you the headache of dealing with a fire ant infestation when next spring arrives. Fire ant infestations may not be completely preventable, but attentiveness and proper lawn care can go a long way towards treating your ants before they become a problem. For more information on fire ant control and how we can help, contact Turf Shield today. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and set you on the path to a healthy, ant-free lawn.