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Question for you Texas folks
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By Drew Waller - Friday, June 04, 2010 10:09 AM
Brittany and I just rented our first house last week.  It was built in the early 50's and is about 1200 sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths.   She's going to move in around the first of July, and I'll move in the week before our wedding next April.  We're renting it from my cousin, the house belongs to my aunt but she is in a special home for Alzheimer's patients.  The house hasn't really been taken care of the past few years because of how advanced my aunt's Alzheimer's is, and it hasn't been painted since my uncle passed away in 1992.  My cousin said for us to fix up the house as we want to, and run any major changes by her first.  All we're doing is painting the interior and exterior, tearing up the carpet in the dining room and living room (original hardwood floors underneath), changing all of the switches to new ones, new light fixtures, and re-landscaping.

I've been working outside the past week pressure washing the exterior, cleaning gutters, fixed the Snapper Comet that was in the shed (just took it for a trial run in the yard, mom will love the giant capital cursive "D" in they yard and the smiley face next to it).  Here's the problem:  with no one taking care of the yard outside of mowing and pruning the trees, the fireants that just recently made it this far north have invaded the yard.  At last count, there are 52 hills on the acre lot ranging from the size of a baseball, to this big cluster of 8 nests that covers an area the size of my Chevy.  I tried putting a handful of grits on each hill (supposed to do to the ants like rice does to birds after a wedding), two got the old gas that was in the shed, and a dozen or so got liquid rat poison mixed according to ant directions on the bottle.  After the grits sat for a day, we got an inch of rain, and those hills are still alive, the gas worked, and I'm waiting on the rat poison. 

Do any of you have any good ideas or suggestions that rid of fireants since you've had them the longest?
By locomotivebreath - Friday, June 04, 2010 11:57 AM
My advice, watch where you step.

Seriously, they are hard to get rid of and will invade the house if there is food to be had. Go to Wal-Mart, Home Depot or store of your choice and get a couple of big bags of fire ant poision. Be sure and follow the directions on the bag as you have to water in the poision with a lot of them. We also use a broadcast spreader to cover the entire area around the house after treating the specific mounds.
By Freight_train From Bama - Friday, June 04, 2010 2:07 PM
I went to Lowe's and got a bottle of Ortho.I was amazed.Cost 13 bucks.It is in a funky shaped black bottle with large screw on lid.The stuff was like dropping nerve gas on a VC village.I kicked the top of the hill over and then dusted the entire nest(said to use a Spoon full I just shook out some).Hour later it looked like a bad horror movie.Hundreds if not thousands of dead bodys everywhere.Never came back.It did the job.I have treated 10 large hills so far and still have dozens and dozens of treatments left.
By TonyClemens - Friday, June 04, 2010 2:26 PM
Drew, go to Lowe's and check out what they have. There's different treatments for fireants. You can use a topical treatment that is sprinkled on the mound. It's also good to use a granular treatment that is broadcast over the grass. Amdro is a popular treatment that's supposed to work on the queen. Might want to check with your county extension agent to see what they're recommending.
By Post from the Past - Saturday, June 05, 2010 11:04 AM
When I was a kid we has red ant mounds that would look like a section of the Golby deaert the things were huge the thing was every mound would have at least 1 more hidden exit often times 3 or 4 When fireants moved in up from Mexico they have just about killed off all red ant mounds I didn't think anything could kill those critter off LOL

 when I bought a 5 acre tract in the 80s the place was covered in  fire ant mounds there was also a bumbble bee nest in the ground I say was because the fire ants killed off the bumble bees No great loss there.

 almost every day I treated dozens of mounds with what ever Home depot thought was popular at the time

 I was trying to be a little selective in the types of poisions as our dogs & cats roamed the land but the day my youngest daughter carried in the mostly eaten carcus of a horned toad I ceased to be MR nice guy I called a friend of mine who had just recently recieved his exterminators license and told him that I was going to teach him how to rid my place of fire ants in 24 hours. SO one day after I had mowed the entire place as short as possible avoiding the rocks and after lucky summer rain storm we set about to carry out my plan

 I made an injection probe out of 3/8" ridgid copper tubing by cutting the end on a steep angle like a Hypodermic needle then drilled several small holes around the tube up for about 12 inches this was attached to a hose then to  my 10 HP air compressor  I made a siphon tube out of 1/4" copper that went inside of the 3/8 " tube that ran  inside the tube for about a ft.

 we used his chemicals but instead of mixing with water I had bought 2 55 gallon drums of industrial vinagar and a couple dozen gallons of 2% common hydrogen peroxide this was all mixed together at 2 times the reccomended strength of his chemicals.

 My daughters and half a dozen neighborhood kids used cut up black trash bags to cover the mounds and used a 1000 or more wire coat hangers made round to go over the plastic then held down with rocks ( no shortage of rocks on black land.

 When Tommy and I started injecting the mounds we pushed the probe as much as 3 feet deep each mound no matter the size got a 10 to 15 second blast Huge ones got as much as 30 seconds. injecting on the way in and out.

   a few days later we did it again just using his chemicals and hot water this time minute long injections.

  After that I had no more fire ants

 If you search the web you will find that someone has even pattented a probe to do this LOL wasn't me
By Drew Waller - Monday, June 07, 2010 5:27 AM
Thanks for the suggestions guys!  Tony, we went to Lowe's and bought this 2 lb. jug of Amdro bait-type killer.  They guy working there said that the cigarette plant he used to work for would buy it in 50 lb. sacks and put out several thousand pounds a year, and they never had a fire ant problem.  I followed the directions exactly on the label and the ants were having a feast when I stopped by to check on them yesterday evening.  Hopefully that stuff will fix up their wagon once and for all.
By Todd S - Monday, June 07, 2010 6:28 AM
I south west Oklahoma I watched a guy pour what I am guessing to be about 2-3 gallons of gas into an ant hill and then try to light it. His lighter would not light so he slowly walked over to his truck and got another lighter. He then slowly walked over to the ant hill and lit it off. The fumes ignited like a bomb and blew dirt and ants all over the poor guy. So the moral of the story is have a backup plan and make sure your lighter works if you do the gasoline thing.

By TonyClemens - Monday, June 07, 2010 8:26 AM
Drew, something else also is good to use. About twice a summer I apply Ortho Bug-Be-Gone Max granulars to the yard. It kills fleas, ticks, crickets and knocks out the fire ants. It won't completely eliminate the fire ants but slows them down. You can apply Orthene to the mounds that show up. They'll really make an appearance after a rain. We're real dry now so not many ants are out. You can get that Bug-Be-Gone Max at Lowe's.
By Post from the Past - Monday, June 07, 2010 2:39 PM
A couple thihgs t oremember about fire ants

 almost all larger mounds will have more than 1 producing queen, and when a mound is threatened winged males and females will take flight ,as they do they become fertile and will mate starting a new coloney the female will produce only a few eggs but from these a Queen will form, a queen will lay 1500 to1600 eggs everyday and can live for 7 years. A mound in black dirt can get up to 4 ft high and 5 ft in diameter.

 Contact your county extension agent for the best advice on controling them and if you have an extreme infestation as I did you may qualify for assistance from the state or county.

 gasoline WILL kill all of the queens BUT it is dangerous to use not to mention ilegal to pour on the ground never set it on fire you need for the vapors to penetrate as deep as possible try not to disturb the mound unless you can cover it and contain any ants that could fly off

 when treating a mound with granular treatment put enough on it that the ants will carry it down to the queens and the nursury tenders you young get fed first watering in the treatment helps to insure it gets down into the lower levels.

 Here is a link from the Uni of Minnesota that has a lot of info on their history and biology
By TonyClemens - Monday, June 07, 2010 3:05 PM
Frank, I can remember when I was maybe 6 years old seeing planes flying around the area broadcasting Mirex to try and stop the spread of fireants. The county extension office would give out bags of mirex to residents to spread in their yards. Mirex was like DDT, it worked very well but it stayed around too long and got in the food chain.
By peterj - Monday, June 07, 2010 3:24 PM
any one remember Cloradane (sp), for termites and ants.. baned in 70 or 75... one treatment around you house, and no ground insects FOREVER.

notice that everything is labeled as causing cancer in calif...

good stuff is banned in calif

better stuff is banned in calif, ny and others

best is the stuff banned everywhere...
By dashby - Monday, June 07, 2010 4:07 PM
Chlordane---Yes, it was common practice to spray in the footing ditch before pouring the concrete.  Excellent protection from termite damage.
By Drew Waller - Monday, June 07, 2010 6:31 PM
Todd S (6/7/2010)
I south west Oklahoma I watched a guy pour what I am guessing to be about 2-3 gallons of gas into an ant hill and then try to light it. His lighter would not light so he slowly walked over to his truck and got another lighter. He then slowly walked over to the ant hill and lit it off. The fumes ignited like a bomb and blew dirt and ants all over the poor guy. So the moral of the story is have a backup plan and make sure your lighter works if you do the gasoline thing.


That's why we use road flares on yellow jacket nests, they only time they won't light is when they are soaking wet. :D

I looked at the granular stuff and may put some out next spring, but we had too many to deal with for the broadcast preventative stuff to be of any use.  I'll have to give it a shot especially since Biskit will be moving in with me.  Plus there is a yard sale on the property this Saturday, and we don't need people stepping in the hills.  I checked today around 3 pm (a good 25-30 hours of being baited) and all of the hills I treated are either already dead or dying, but I did find 5 new ones, or old ones that had new entrances.  I'm going back tomorrow morning to fix them up real good and finally weedeat (a few nests were against trees or the shed).

Its going to take a while, but I'll get them all whooped.