Although fire ants are active (and can forage!) in NC from February through November, they are especially prevalent when temperatures are warm and following periods of rain. With rain across the state this morning (May 7th) and temperatures increasing last week and next, we can expect to see new mounds or increasing mound activity in the next week. Especially in areas with high soil temperatures (bare soil, full sun, surrounded by impervious surfaces like concrete or asphalt), sizeable mounds have been already popping up the last month or so (Fig. 1).
Management of fire ants can be confusing and complicated as there are a number of different methods, formulations and approaches that will work for fire ant control. To help decide between different management options, check out our Fire Ant Decision Tool in our Fire Ant Resources tab on NC Turf Bugs. Prior to making an application (of any kind!), make sure you are checking to make sure fire ants are actively foraging by placing a potato chip or hot dog slice near a mound and wait up to 15 minutes to see if foraging ants are visible. For control recommendations, please visit the fire ants in commercial turf or in pastures on Turffiles, 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.