Fire Ant Control in Commercial Turf
Fire ants readily infest open grassy areas because they are similar to the savannas of their native lands in Brazil and Argentina. Fire ants are important pests in turfgrass wherever it occurs in the state. They thrive on golf courses, sports fields, parks, cemeteries, school grounds, and commercial and institutional landscapes, and their painful stings and unsightly mounds make them unwelcome pests in all of these situations.
Tolerance for fire ants and fire ant mounds is near zero in areas like golf greens, youth soccer fields, cemeteries, or courtyards of elder care facilities! It takes persistent, intensive effort to achieve and maintain this level of control. There are three main ways of controlling fire ants: baits, individual mound treatments, and broadcast insecticide treatments. Turf managers usually have to use a combination of two or more of these methods to achieve the high level of control needed in sensitive commercial turf situations.
See Extension Publication 1858, Insect Control in Commercial Turf, for specific recommendations. See Fire Ant Biology to learn useful background information that will help you better understand how to control fire ants.
Contact information for Dr. Blake Layton.
If you want fewer fire ant beds in your yard, the best way to achieve that goal is to maintain a consistent management plan throughout the year.
This is the time of year to start a good fire ant management plan that can reduce the number of beds in your yard by 80 to 90 percent.
Even if you preventatively treat your yard periodically through the year for fire ants, you’ll still see mounds pop up.
There are two ways to treat these mounds: liquid drenches and dry powders. (File photo by MSU Extension Service.)
Fire ant mounds always pop up right where you don’t need them – in the flower bed you planned to weed tomorrow, next to the mailbox that needs to be reset, and near the patio where you are throwing a party tonight. (Photo by Brian Utley/Cindy Callahan)
Fire ants are everywhere. If you’ve thrown your hands up in exasperation trying to deal with them, don’t give up just yet. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)