Fire Ant Alert!
Look familiar? You may have noticed that before our snow this week, fire ant mounds were starting to appear. As temperatures slowly start to increase over the next few weeks, you may notice fire ant activity increasing. Although we typically see the majority of fire ant activity when air temperatures are between 65°F and 95° F, foraging behavior can occur at temperatures below this range as seen in this blog post.
Fire ants are drawn to areas of higher soil temperatures (near sidewalks, turf in full sun) and near electrical boxes or motors so be aware that these sites may be more prone to fire ant activity than others. Before you make an insecticide application, confirm ants are actively foraging by placing a potato chip or slice of hot dog near the base of the mound and wait 5-10 minutes. If active, worker ants will locate the food source and be clearly visible.
For control recommendations, please visit the fire ants in commercial turf or in pastures, depending on mound location. Be aware that there are a number of restrictions and guidelines with fire ant products, particularly if humans or animals are involved, so be sure to read the label carefully prior to application.