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Fire Ant Control In Commercial Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables

Fire ants are serious pests in commercial fruits, nuts, and vegetables, where they can cause a wide range of problems.  Not only do they sting field workers and interfere with harvest and other hand labor operations, they also cause direct damage to crops such as okra or potatoes, and sometimes damage young trees by chewing through tender bark.  Fire ants especially like to nest beneath plastic row covers in the winter and spring because of the increased warmth and protection they provide.  Fire ants sometimes chew through irrigation tubing and cause damage to other equipment, either due to physical damage cause by their mounds, or by causing shorts in irrigation timers and other electrical equipment.  Fire ants are especially unwelcomed in pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farms because of their ability to turn an enjoyable family experience into a, still memorable but far less pleasant experience that may make clients less likely to plan return visits.

Granular baits can be used to control fire ants, but only a few baits are labeled for use around food crops—be sure you use a bait that is. Baits work well, but they work slowly, so it is important to apply them preventively. See Extension Publication 2494, Control Fire Ants in Commercial Fruits, Nuts, and Vegetables for recommended bait treatments and how to apply them. Read the section on Fire Ant Biology to learn more about how and why baits work.

Contact information for Dr. Blake Layton.

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Fire ants.
Filed Under: Fire Ants, Lawn and Garden August 31, 2021

Everyone loves a good myth buster, and we have a very timely one for you! Fire ant beds in your yard can be such a headache to deal with. Many people have used home remedies to control ants. But are those quick fixes really getting rid of the ants in your yard? Let’s take a look at some commonly used home remedies and whether or not they work! 

Fire ants around rocks
Filed Under: Insects, Fire Ants, Insects-Vegetable Gardens, Vegetable Gardens June 23, 2021

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.

A closeup of a fire ant mound.
Filed Under: Fire Ants, Insects-Home Lawns, Turfgrass and Lawn Management April 6, 2021

Fire ants are the most common pests of home lawns, but homeowners can manage them with the right approach, and spring is the perfect time to begin the process.

Close-up of a fire ant mound
Filed Under: Fire Ants, Lawn and Garden, Insects-Home Lawns September 4, 2020

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.

Liquid drench is poured from a watering can on a fire ant bed.
Filed Under: Fire Ants, Insects-Home Lawns May 21, 2020

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.

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Fire Ant Control - MSU Extension Service
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Fire Ant Control

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 1:45pm

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Portrait of Dr. Blake Layton, Jr.
Extension Professor
Entomology; extension insect identification; fire ants; termites; insect pests in the home, lawn and