Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Fighting fire ants

So I have decided to fight the red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) that have taken up residence in our yard and Meadow. Here is what I'm using and doing as I go through this process. I'm also including information gathered from other sources on how to control this invasive species. 

First I emailed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and asked how they control fire ants at the center: "Our gardens manager says we use orange oil, CONSERVE, and ant traps, depending on the situation. She recommends starting with orange oil and see how that goes."

Texas Two Step method (click on link for guidelines). 

Managing Fire Ants for Specific Sites

Products: Extinguish Plus 

                Fertilome Come and Get It fire Ant Killer

               Orange Guard

Finally, I visited with Tor on the phone at Orange Guard in California. He advised a mixing ratio of one part Orange Guard and three parts water. "Puncture and pore into the mound until you see bubbles," he told me. He said to figure 1/2 gallon per mound. Using his math, one gallon mixed with three gallons of water will treat eight mounds. 

SHERYL, however, decided to start out using less on her first mound. Here's how it went on a Wednesday about 2:30 p.m.:

Purchased on Amazon for $41.20, one gallon, free shipping.

I returned to the scene half an hour later....

Alas, I did spot some ants still inside the mound. We'll see! Stay tuned. I'll be updating this post as I go.

UPDATE MAY 14, 2022 –– So the orange oil works fairly well. Now I'm going to try diatomaceous earth, which is the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. In a nutshell, the powder causes insects to dry out and die. First, I watched two videos produced by Jamie Hardy with Useful Knowledge. In the second video, "Diatomaceous Earth Fire Ant Study," Jamie demonstrates his treatment method and then shares a study he made of 31 mounds that he treated with DE. He had pretty good success using DE.
Four pounds, $14.99 at our local hardward store.
This morning, I treated two mounds in the Meadow and two in our back yard. However, I altered his method. I did not liberally broadcast and throw out DE beyond the mound. That's because I do not want to harm other insects (though I'm sure a few will perish). Instead, I used a plastic cup to scoop up some DE, then I sprinkled it generously around the mounds' perimeters and also in the entry hole areas. I'll check the mounds this afternoon and see what's going on....



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