Fire ant invasion kicking off in county
Rebecca Walker, Franklin County Times
'Tis the season for the yearly invasion that all Southerners dread. That's right, it's fire ant season.
Rather than suffer through the agony of finding yourself up to your knees in fire ants, there are steps that can be taken to lessen the chance of a yard full of six legged creatures just waiting to leave stinging red bites all over your family's feet.
First of all, keep the yard manicured well.
"Fire ants hate activity. That's why you'll find them at the perimeters of the yard where nothing is moving around," said Dwight James, who works at Coldwater Seed and Supply in Tuscumbia.
James says to always mow, bush hog, and weed eat the yard to keep the fire ant population at bay.
"Fire ants tend to be the most aggressive," he says. "They build the largest mounds, and they build them in areas not well kept."
When it's too late, and the ants have already moved in, one can turn to commercial remedies.
"We sell a lot of granule, powder and liquid remedies. All fire ant killers work; they just work at varying degrees," he says.
James listed two popular sellers at Coldwater that seem to work best. First of all, Bengal Fire Ant Killer is a fine powder remedy. Its effective ingredient is deltamethrin.
Another popular choice for those wishing to eradicate the fire ant problem is Fertilome Come and Get It Fire Ant Killer. It is a granulated formula, and the effective ingredient is Spinosad.
James said that the key to making sure a commercial remedy works is diligence.
"Fire ants can be controlled. You have to follow the directions and you have to keep at it. Being diligent is the only way for it to work.
"Most homeowners fall short in that area, and that's why the remedies don't work."
He added that most home remedies will not have a lasting effect.
"I've heard of things like people putting Tide on ant hills, but that kind of thing will not be as effective as commercial products," he said.
James also reminded homeowners that when dealing with insecticides of any kind to use caution. Always make sure that tops are tightly secured, and keep them out of the reach of children.
If all else fails, James has one last suggestion for dealing with fire ants.
"You can always move," he says with a laugh.