Indoor Fire Ant Invasions
Fire ants are outdoor, soil-dwelling insects. They rarely invade buildings, but when they do, they usually cause problems.
Indoor fire ant invasions happen for two reasons. The first is when foraging workers wander into a building, find a food source, such as pet food or spilled food crumbs, and recruit other workers to this food source. This results in a trail of workers traveling back and forth from the outside nest to the inside food source and a concentration of ants around the food source.
The second cause of indoor fire ant invasions is when an entire colony of fire ants attempts to relocate because of disturbance by flooding, drought, landscaping or other causes. This is less common, but more distressing. In this case, you usually see large numbers of workers carrying their white brood into the house. They may also bring particles of soil inside. These displaced colonies are usually very agitated and will sting aggressively and in large numbers. They have to be controlled quickly and effectively. See Extension Publication 2443, Control Household Insect Pests, Pages 15-16, for more details on how to control and prevent indoor fire ant invasions.
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)