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How To Get Rid Of Fire Ants On Your Houston Property

July 15, 2021 - Ants

Fire ants are something every person in Houston, Texas hates. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is originally from the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil. It was introduced to Mobile, Alabama, around the 1940s. No one knows for sure how it was introduced or the exact date of the introduction. The red imported fire ant has spread throughout the southern part of the United States. Along the way, they have displaced native ants, devastated ground-nesting birds such as the quail, and cost farmers millions of dollars in damaged equipment.

Description Of Fire Ants

Fire ant workers are dark reddish-brown and about 1/8-¼ inch long. They have a discernable waist, and their antennas have a bend in them. Swarmers, the mating male and female ants, have wings.

Life Cycle Of Fire Ants

Colonies are formed by one or more female ants (queens) after a mating flight. They twist off their wings and begin forming a nesting chamber in the ground. They lay eggs and tend to the larvae that hatch from them. The larvae pupate and small workers emerge.

The whole cycle takes three to four weeks to complete. The workers forage for food and care for the nest, eggs, larvae, and the queen (who never again leaves the nest). In one year, the nest may contain 10,000 ants. A mature colony of about three years may have 100,000 to 500,000 workers and several hundred-winged forms (the sexually mature males and females).

Hazards Fire Ants Pose

Fire ants are very belligerent when defending their nest and food sources and can sting multiple times. Anyone who has stepped on a nest can attest to the many stings they received. Children and mobility impaired individuals have been killed if they were placed or fell on a fire ant mound. Adults are usually not killed, but the bites from itchy pustules just invite scratching. Secondary infections can occur when the pustules are scratched. Individuals who are allergic to fire ants can die from one sting.

Fire ants nest in electrical boxes, short out air conditioners, get in telephone junction boxes, as well as traffic and light control boxes, and transformers. They can short out the wires by chewing on them, or by bringing soil inside and closing the circuit. They build mounds in fields which can damage farm equipment and make picking a crop difficult. They also sting domestic animals who step on their nests, including poultry.

Preventing Fire Ants In Your Home

The best way to prevent fire ants is exclusion and sanitation. Ants invade homes searching for food, shelter, and water. They eat many things but love oily and greasy foods.

  • Caulk shut all cracks and openings on the outside of your house to prevent ants from getting in. 
  • Caulk around pipes, electrical wires, and cables as they enter the house. 
  • Wipe food spills promptly. 
  • Place food in ant-proof containers. 
  • Keep the trash in a trash can with a tight-fitting lid. 
  • Pick up pet food as soon as the pet finishes eating. 
  • Keep the kitchen clean. 

Getting Rid Of Fire Ants

Fire ants are difficult to get rid of because an attack on their nests just makes them disperse and recolonize somewhere else in the area. The nests often have multiple queens, as well, so killing all the queens is necessary to eliminate the nest. The danger posed by the fire ant stings also makes it risky to attempt to eliminate a fire ant nest yourself.

Caraway Pest Control can come to your house and get rid of your fire ant problem. Our technicians will come out and treat the nests outside and help you eliminate places the ants are getting inside. Don’t wait, contact Caraway Pest Control today to get rid of the fire ants on your property. We also offer commercial pest management for Houston businesses.

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