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, 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, 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.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Southern farmers may never win the battle against imported fire ants, but aggressive tactics can slow the pests’ invasion, reduce damage and prevent further spread across the United States.
Jane Parish is an Extension/research professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. She said cattle and hay producers have learned to live with and work around the troublesome ants since the pests arrived in the state almost a century ago.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- People have many misconceptions on how to eliminate fire ant mounds and prevent them from coming back, and these erroneous beliefs hinder efforts to keep the harmful pest from spreading.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Fire ants can be more than unwelcome guests in the home lawn; their stings can be dangerous for children and pets who share play areas with the pests.
Fire ant stings are characterized by sharp localized pain, swelling and intense itchiness that is just a short-lived nuisance for most. A raised red bump appears soon after the sting and soon turns into a sterile pustule that resembles a pimple. However, the ants’ venom can cause severe allergic reactions in some people and pets.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Blake Layton grew up quail hunting in Simpson County and has seen the steady decline of quail as fire ant populations expanded across the state.
Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the farm he grew up on has the same habitat as it did when he was a child, but it has more fire ants and fewer quail and other wildlife species.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tell Mississippians that fire ants have completely invaded the state, and they’ll probably shrug and say they already know that. Tell them the pain actually comes from a sting rather than a bite, and they’ll say it still hurts. But tell them how to get rid of the nasty critters, and they’re all ears.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is organizing efforts to help residents Bite Back against fire ants. The solution is a simple two-part attack, but success comes in the long-term follow-through.