The southern part of our country is cursed with several species of imported fire ants. And I’ve heard from plenty of folks over the years who tell me the little devils deliver a sting that would put any bee to shame. What’s worse, they attack in droves and the sting repeatedly. And here’s the really sobering part: Fire ants have stood up and said “boo” to just about every chemical pesticide known to man. In fact, like many other bugs, they’ve reacted to the poisonous onslaught by evolving into “superbugs” that can fend off anything the folks in white lab coats send their way.
Don’t be fooled by the visible part of a fire-ant mound — it’s only the tip of the fireberg. The excavation often extends 3 feet or more below the surface, and flitting around inside there can be as many as a quarter of a million ill-tempered ants — including up to 3,000 egg-laying queens. And in order to destroy the colony, you need to kill off every single one of those mamas. So if you’ve got one of these “castles” in your yard, don’t even think of trying to remove it yourself. Instead, call a pest-control professional, who will use one of these two weapons:
- An insect growth regulator such as abamectin
- Avermectin, a naturally occurring soil fungus that’s lethal to fire ants
Whatever you do, don’t let them talk you into anything more toxic — it’ll only encourage the breeding of more super ants!