Thursday, July 15, 2010

INVASION! Fire Ants have returned to my garden! Help!

Well, it just had to happen. One of the new plants or all the rain has precipitated the arrival of a new fire ant bed. If you have fire ants and know how to get rid of them using pesticide-free methods, please tell me.
If you've never seen a fire ant bed, here's a view.

                                                                                              Hey, it's FIRE ANT ART. Well,  not exactly. You can tell the aggresiveness of an ant bed by how vigorously they attack a foreign object. It took only seconds for them to start stinging these wooden 'invaders'.
 Fire ants clamp down first, then sting.
According to Texas A&M, one should KEEP the native Texas fire ants since they fight against the imported fire ants from Argentina. To tell them apart, you simply look closely at their mandibles. Uhh...okay..

If the fire ant has 3 protrusions on the mandible, leave it alone. It's a good guy.
If it has 4, it's the bad guy. As you can see by the above picture, it will take a platform stereoscope to see this difference. ( I have access to one..don't we all?!)
I'll get them out and check tomorrow. In the meantime, they're going to hibernate.


  1. I've heard about these creatures... how awful. Hope you come up with a solution! Larry

  2. Hey Larry,
    Melanie & David here.
    Thanks for visiting. The folks at Texan A&M University have studied these ants for decades and are releasing Phorid flies...this ant's natural predator. In the meantime, they advise using a mixture of peanut butter and boric acid to kill the pests. We shall see.

  3. Hey, David. U. Florida also uses phorid flies. Have you contacted your extension office for suggestions? When my son visits from college, he goes around the yard (on his own volition) pouring ant killer on anything he suspects is a fire ant nest. (Very bad karma, I'm afraid.) I haven't seen any in my yard for many years, now, thank heavens. You only have to step in a nest once to know you do NOT want them in the backyard!

  4. Thanks, Penny for stopping by. I stepped barefooted into a new group of fire ants this morning! The old nest had moved. Right now the peanut butter and boric acid are out and their scouts have found it. They love peanut butter.
    This should work. In the meantime, I'm wearing shoes. BTW: My native ants are sugar ants and tiny docile ants. They're still around and we get along just fine. In fact, they help to stave off fire ants by giving the fire ant competition for food.

  5. You may try vinegar and lemon juice mixture. One cup of vinegar and couple of lemons juice is good enough to start the treatment. Squash the lemons and mix the juice with vinegar. Then spray the liquid mixture in the infested areas. Hope it will help you getting rid of fire ant.


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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