In our Charlotte service area, red imported fire ants (RIFA) are frustrating pests and a serious health concern. You can tell these ants by their painful stings, but hopefully, you recognize them before they sting you. Today, we're going to talk about how to identify a fire ant problem and discuss a few other important facts that every Charlotte homeowner needs to know about fire ant control.

two fire ants crawling on a patio
a fire ant crawling on a leaf

Fire Ant & Mound Identification

When you see red ants in your yard, you may wonder, "Are those fire ants?" There are a few ways to tell - other than getting stung.

  • RIFA are a dark reddish-brown coloration.

  • RIFA range in size from ⅛ to ⅜ of an inch long.

  • RIFA have two nodes between the thorax and abdomen.

  • RIFA create mounds in open, sunny locations.

  • RIFA mounds have no obvious entrance.

  • RIFA mounds are flattened and have an irregular shape.

  • RIFA mounds are, on average, between two and four feet in diameter.

  • RIFA carry soil in with them when they enter structures. If you see soil on the inside of your home near a gap or crack, you probably have a fire ant infestation.

How Fire Ant Infestations Begin

They can enter your yard from a neighboring property, but often they are introduced. These ants can be in the soil of potted plants, shrubbery, and trees. Carefully inspect any plants that you plant around your Charlotte home.

Why Fire Ants Are Difficult To Control

If you've spent time trying to exterminate fire ants, it is likely that you've found that it's hard. Often, impossible. Why are they so difficult to eliminate?

  • RIFA can establish a nest several feet below the surface of the ground.

  • RIFA do not need a mound to survive. They can have many tunnels that go out from their colony for several feet.

  • RIFA nests have multiple queens. If you attempt to exterminate the workers, you can actually make your problem worse as this can result in budding. If you're not familiar with this term, it refers to the splitting of a colony into two or more colonies. If you manage to strike at the heart of a fire ant colony, these ants are also able to disperse and recolonize, which will produce a result similar to budding.

What Works To Control Fire Ants

We recommend sealing entry points around your home to keep them out. Examine your foundation walls and inspect around doors and windows. A caulking gun can help to seal gaps or fill in holes created by wood-destroying organisms. Rake leaves and other debris away from your exterior. Trim plants away from your exterior and attempt to create a dry patch near your foundation walls so you can detect any ant activity.

If you're looking to get control of fire ants in your Charlotte yard, there isn't a whole lot that works. Residents of Charlotte try many things (some of which are dangerous) to eliminate ant mounds and kill colonies. We don't recommend attempting natural methods or homemade treatments, such as soapy water or vinegar solutions. These just don't work. We don't recommend over-the-counter products either. These can cost you money, time, and energy and leave you with a worse problem than you had before. This is a pest control problem that is best addressed by a licensed professional.

What Professional Fire Ant Control Is The Right Choice

Not only are fire ants difficult to exterminate, they can present a serious threat to you and anyone who comes into your yard. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to fire ant venom. If you, or someone else, experience dizziness, confusion, swelling of the throat or tongue, trouble breathing, cramps, diarrhea, or nausea after being stung by fire ants, seek immediate medical attention. An allergic reaction can lead to a loss of consciousness, shock, coma, and even death. In light of this serious medical threat, it is wise to seek professional assistance with fire ant problems.

At Go-Forth Pest Control of Charlotte, we use strategies developed by industry experts to locate and treat fire ant colonies. The methods and products we use strike at the heart of fire ant colonies and eliminate them. If you'd like to learn more, or schedule service for your Charlotte North Carolina home, reach out to us. We look forward to helping you resolve your problem with our professional ant control service. 


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