Dealing With Fire Ants

LOGAN COUNTY (KFSM)- After seeing problems with fire ants in past years, people in Logan county are working to keep the ants under control.

Thousands and thousands of fire ants fill each ant hill, causing many to notice the increase over the years.

"We`ve seen gradual increase in activity over the years," Brad Simon, Board Member at Little Creek Country Club said. "A decade ago, it was unheard of and now it seems like about every spring, you`ll see those mounds start popping up."

Those at the Little Creek County Club said their fire ant problem has been taken care of, but the insects can still be pesky.

"Sometimes, you`ll be standing out there ready to hit your next shot and your leg starts burning and you look down and you`re in the middle of a pile of fire ants," Simon said. "It can be extremely annoying when you get in situations like that."

Many people who try to treat the fire ant hills on their own might say that it doesn't work, but experts say to make sure you're doing it at the right time.

"If you get some cheetos or hot dogs, throw them around the mound," Bob Harper, Extension Agent for Agriculture in Logan County said. "If there are ants on it, it means they`re out forging and they`ll take the bait in. They need to be out eating that day, so you need to make sure they`re forging whenever you treat."

Harper said if you don't make sure the ants are eating or "forging," you could be wasting your time and money when using treatment.

Fire ants are attracted to electrical currents, so that can also cause problems for people's property.

"If there are electrical boxes that are ground level, they`re bad to build their mounds next to them or inside of them and cause stuff to short out," Harper said.

The biggest tip of them all is to never disrupt a fire mound. Experts say that's what causes the fire ants to get defensive and how most people get bit.

"It`s kind of like an iceberg," Simon said. "You`ve got about ten percent of the fire ants showing and rest of them are underneath the ground. Kicking the mound is the worst thing you can do."

There is a Federal Fire Ant Quarantine in place for Logan County that requires hay bales, top soil and nursery plants be thoroughly treated and checked for fire ants before they can be taken out of county limits. Harper said this helps prevent the spread of the ants.

Experts said if you happen to get fire ants inside your home, they are harder to get rid of and that type of extermination is done on a case by case basis.

For more information on how to get rid of fire ants, contact your local exterminator.