How to Get Fire Ants Out of the Vegetable Garden
Fire ants are a nuisance, but vegetable gardeners do have some safe options to use around food-producing plants.
Do you have fire ants in your vegetable garden? Me too.
Good news for all of us! There are some fire ant baits that are safe to use around food plants. Look for products with the active ingredient spinosad (Ferti-lome Come and Get It! and Southern Ag Payback Fire Ant Bait are examples). If you grow organically, Come and Get It! is classified as an organic product.
Keep in mind that not all fire ant treatments can be used around food plants. Some active ingredients are absorbed into the plants and vegetables, making them harmful when consumed.
Anytime you are using insecticides, always read the label to be sure products are safe to use in the vegetable garden and follow the instructions on the label.
Don’t want to have to deal with fire ants in the vegetable garden next year? The best way to keep them out is to treat the lawn around the vegetable garden three times a year. In this case, where you are not treating directly around food-producing plants, you can use baits such as Amdro (hydramethylnon), Extinguish Plus (Methoprene + hydramethylnon) or Advion (indoxacarb), which are a bit more effective. Just remember, only use these products on your lawn – not around food plants.
Now is the perfect time to start! You can use the holidays Easter, July 4th and Labor Day as reminders that it’s time to apply bait to your lawn.
If you only want to control fire ants in your garden, you can apply one of these baits to a 50- to 75-foot-wide band around the outside of your garden three times a year. But you can reduce fire ant mounds by 80 to 90% in your whole landscape if you apply bait to the entire yard.
Blake Layton, Extension entomologist, shows you the equipment you need and how to apply bait in our previous blog post.
Find out more about controlling fire ants in vegetable gardens and what types of liquid drench products can be used for immediate mound control on the Extension website.
Learn all about fire ants and methods of control on the Extension website.
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