HOW TO GET RID OF FIRE ANTS

Figuring out how to get rid of red fire ants – or any other types of fire ants – can seem daunting when you first discover ant mounds in your yard. While there are a few species of fire ants native to the United States, troublemaking ants are typically either red imported fire ants (RIFA), black imported fire ants (BIFA) or a hybrid of these two species. It is important to note that how to get rid of fire ants in the yard is not the same as how to get rid of fire ants in the house. There are methods that can be used outdoors that would not be safe indoors.

RIFA and BIFA are more active in the late spring to early fall months. Experts suggest that the best times of year for fire ant treatments are during those seasons. However, individual mounds can be treated throughout the year if they become problematic. The list of what kills fire ants is a long one, but outside of calling a professional, there is no “best way to kill fire ants.”

When it comes to fire ant control, there are a couple of popular choices, including baits, mound drench products and dust insecticides.

Baits are slow-acting when compared to other treatment methods, and can take months to reach the desired result. However, they do typically achieve 80 to 90 percent fire ant control. Most baits are corn grits treated with pesticide. Foraging ants take the tainted food back to their colony, where it is eaten by the queen and other ants. Some result in the queen becoming infertile, while others kill her and the colony. Using baits for fire ant removal is a low-toxicity option, as the baits are spread over a wide area.

Mound drenches involve pouring a liquid pesticide directly onto the fire ant hill. The liquid penetrates the belowground levels of the mound, killing the ants inside after a few hours. Once applied, these products leave only traces of residue on the surface.

Dust or granule control methods vary slightly in how they get rid of fire ants. Dusts, which leave a surface residue, are merely sprinkled over a mound and left to work their magic. Granules, on the other hand, require water to activate. Once granules have been applied on and around the mound, several gallons of water typically need to be slowly poured over them to activate.

Most experts advocate using what they call the Two-Step method for fire ant infestations that cover larger areas. This involves first applying fire ant bait to the entire affected area, and following it up with a treatment of the individual mounds. Bait should be reapplied several times a year, and individual mounds can be treated as they appear.

It is important to note that many of the products available to homeowners are different and may not be as effective as those available to licensed pest management professionals. Additionally, while you may be able to treat for fire ants in your yard, treating fire ants indoors is often difficult and requires the use of different products entirely. The improper use of pesticides can be dangerous. You should keep children and pets away from these products at all times.

If you have been asking yourself, “How do I get rid of fire ants,” it’s time to call a pest management professional to discuss your options for fire ant removal.

What’s the cost of ecofriendly pest control?

 Eco-Friendly

“How much does ecofriendly pest control cost?”    This is a  question that I am often asked.  Much to the dismay of the inquiring person, they usually don’t get a straight answer.  Many times the beginning of a response starts with, “Well, it depends…”  Pest control is situational based.  These services have evolved and adapted over time to be customized based on the dynamics of your home.  With a customized service, safer, more effective, and longer-lasting solutions to pest problems can be applied.

When considering pest control companies, don’t put too much emphasis on price.  Okay, you may be on a tight budget and you certainly don’t want to spend a whole bunch of money for someone to spray for bugs around your home, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that all pest control companies are the same and go for the cheapest one.  You can save yourself a lot of frustration and money in the long run by choosing a reputable company that emphasizes the service that it provides rather than the products that are used.

All pest control companies have access to the same chemicals, reputable ones use knowledge, experience, and customer service more so than simply spraying pesticides.   Consider these two responses to the questions posed above:

“I’ll come spray your house for $50 every 3 months”

Or

“I will come inspect your home at no charge and then discuss treatment options based upon the findings of my inspection”

Which response sounds more professional?  Do you want to pay someone to come spray for bugs, or, do you want to hire a trained professional to inspect, evaluate, and implement a pest management program.  You want someone that is trained, knowledgeable, and can answer your questions honestly.  You want a company that provides the right tools and resources necessary to get the job done.  A professional pest service will strive to provide you with a pest free environment, and help protect your home, its contents, and the health of your family.  Can you really put a price on that?

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Tips On Hiring a “Green” Pest Control Company

 

Most of us homeowners can handle a pest infestation in the garden, but once insects or rodents come inside our homes to hang out and eat like teenagers, we run for the broom, or the spray can or as my friend Ron did; stand on the kitchen stove barking while waving a hockey stick at two raccoons.

Most often homeowners will be able to solve an indoor pest infestation on their own by preventing or correcting a condition by sealing cracks or holes or purchasing an environmentally safe insecticide. Many outdoor infestations can be solved by homeowners placing a sample of the insect into a baggie and bringing it to their local Master Gardener desk for a diagnosis. Many cities now have Master Gardeners through their University Extension program. (A national list of phone numbers can be found at the American Horticultural Society‘s website.) Once the pest is diagnosed, the least-toxic product may be advised or the homeowner will be advised about which predators or beneficial insects they could purchase or attract to their yard to eat the pest for lunch.

However, if you can’t seem to conquer a severe infestation on your own, indoors or outside, it’s time to consider hiring a professional pest control company. If so, you’ll want to hire a company that chooses to use less-toxic chemicals. According to the EPA, an estimated 45-million pounds of pesticides are used annually in homes and gardens in the United States, with sales totaling more than $2 billion annually. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) reports that 90 percent of us here in the US have a mixture of up to 43 pesticides in our bodies. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health problems such as cancer, birth defects, reproductive health problems and neurological problems.

Chemical pesticides should only be used as a very last option in garden or home pest defense especially if children are present. They’re much more vulnerable to pesticides since their bodies are still growing. John Wargo, director of the Yale Center for Children’s Environmental Health, states, “More than ninety percent of pesticides and their inert ingredients are never tested for their effects on developing nervous systems. Children are more affected by exposure to such chemicals because they are smaller and their organs are not mature.” In 2000, a study published in the journal Cancer reported that children with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were seven times more likely than healthy kids, to have grown up in a home where pesticides were sprayed, and were three times more likely to live in a home which was treated regularly by a professional exterminator.

The first step is to check online under Pest Control and see if there’s a company who advertises its service as: “eco friendly”.

Once they arrive at your house, ask how they plan to solve the problem. If pesticides are immediately suggested, ask what your other non-chemical options are. If chemicals are the only solution, ask them for the names of the products and ask to see a “Materials Safety Data Sheet.” You’re really making friends now! But your family’s health is more important than if the rat-poison guy likes you or not. (If the MSDS looks like a foreign language, try www.lungusa.org where they’ll teach you how to read a Material Safety Data Sheet.)

If spraying is the only option, ask to only spray specific areas, to target the pest. If there will be spraying outdoors, that’s another concern, as this often leads to water contamination in the entire neighborhood. That’s yet another way to lose friends and neighbors. Tell the pest guy you’ll call him in the next few days. Then do your homework. Go to Pesticide Action Network’s Pesticide Database and look up the health effects of the chemicals listed on the MSDS and see if the pesticide chosen is listed in the high-risk category.

As a final note, pests don’t like clean houses or yards. They enjoy messy clutter and moldy dirty places. The first line of defense is keeping your home and yard clean; fixing leaky faucets, picking up outdoor debris, sealing cracks, washing your pets (and children!) vacuuming rugs, keeping kitchen counters and cupboards free of crumbs.

GOT BUGS?

At NWA Lady Bug Pest Control, we offer an Eco Friendly Pest Control and encourage our patrons to help themselves through IPM.  To learn more Contact Us for A FREE Quote.

 

 

Related Articles:

  1. You might be surprised what causes spider bites
  2. How to identify and eliminate pests
  3. Risks of Pesticides

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