Ask Mr. Pest Control
Q: I have had a couple of accounts with extensive California (southern) fire ant nests. I have been using a dual action liquid residual for most of my general pest control needs and applying a light mist three to five feet around the mounds, but I'm wondering if there may be a better solution with how large of an area these ants are infesting. Sometimes the majority of the mounds are on a neighboring property that I cannot treat directly.
— Michael, CA
A: It’s best to approach fire ants in two steps when their population density is so high. First, apply a granular residual or bait product to the entire property. This will help manage fire ants as they try to establish nests on the property and may help manage fire ants on neighboring properties as well. Second, if fire ant nests do pop up, then drench them with a fast-acting residual (a light mist here just will not do). If fire ant nests pop up once in a while, then mound drenching alone is fine. But when fire ants are rampant, it’s difficult to keep them off a lawn because they’re a settler species and will constantly invade bare turf. In this situation, step one is important because you won’t be able to stay ahead of nest building without it. Before doing step one or step two, check if you need an additional license in your state to treat a property for fire ants away from a structure.