Previously in the Ultimate Guide To Fire Ant Control we learned all about fire ants, their nasty sting, and about the most common species here in BC, the European Fire Ant. Now let's look at what you should do if you come across these ants at home.
Warning: Fire Ants can be harmful.. and are extremely difficult to control! Proper care is often needed when treating your grass or property for fire ants. Best to seek expert advice first, or call the ant control professionals to take care of them for you.
Fire ants in the garden
As we learned before, the main reasons why we get fire ants here in BC is the warm, humid climate. European fire ants are quickly making BC their home with more and more incidents of infestations being reported.
European fire ants are harmful, and aggressive when threatened, so it’s important that you take precautionary measures with your green spaces, to prevent a colony of fire ants from taking root.
Any grassy areas, particularly yards, gardens, and parks are hot spot locations for fire ants.
Why do ants like the garden?
The simple answer is that your garden presents the perfect environment for these ants to thrive in. They like moist warm places and generally, a colony will make their home by digging deep, intricate tunnels underground. Your garden provides the space for European fire ants to make their mounds while still remaining inconspicuous.
The garden is also rich with organic matter, plants, and dead bugs, which form excellent food for these ants. Food and shelter are the two things a colony of fire ants needs, and your garden is rich in both of them.
Transfer though soil
Another reason for European fire ants in the garden could be through the transfer of soil, or plants into your garden.
If new soil you bring into the garden is infected with fire ants, it wont be long before they make themselves at home, begin to nest, and grow the colony!
There's potential for this to happen if you purchase soil or plants from a garden centre that is infected, and it happened to a garden centre in Burnaby a few years ago
Mulch is another major reason for fire ants in the garden as these ants are attracted to mulch. Using mulch to fight off weeds is a great gardening activity, but be mindful if you find signs of fire ants then stop immediately.
Could I get fire ants in the house?
There are plenty of reasons why you might get a fire ant infestation in your house. Older houses are more commonly targeted because they tend to have faulty sanitation and moisture more often than newly constructed houses. Also, poorly constructed houses are more vulnerable to a fire ant attack.
Fire ant can also be attracted by pet food, garbage, and mulch. So having any of these lying around is going to compound the issue. Fire ants may also be transferred through the movement of plants from one place to another as well as soil, and even toys.
How to get rid of fire ants in your garden?
You have a few options when it comes to dealing with the menace of European fire ants in your garden. You can opt for natural home remedies or a more toxic solution, using a commercial insecticide as well as fire ant bait.
Home remedies include pouring a soap and water mix down into the fire ant mound itself to destroy the colony. If this solution is scalding hot, then that's even better. The soapy water is said to cause dehydration in fire ants, which eventually kills them. Some people also use dry ice to make the mound uninhabitable.
Another trick is using bitter foods like cucumber or ground coffee as these ants hate anything that is bitter.
You can also use insecticides. Many different commercial ones are available at different levels of intensities. Be very careful while using, follow all the directions, and use the necessary safety equipment because the fumes can be extremely toxic. You can select the one you feel will work and do the fumigation.
Using a fire ant bait along with an insecticide will ensure that any fire ants outside the mound are also killed.
–> Next up, we learn how to deal with European fire ants
Westside Pest Control is the no1. Ant Control company in the lower mainland. In addition to fire ants, we also treat for Carpenter Ants and Pavement Ants. If there is a need for professional help contact one of the team today on 604-559-9060. After a few simple questions, free estimates can be given over the phone for fire ant removal.