From mice to termites, there are a lot of pests that call Braselton, Georgia home. But not as dangerous or as annoying as fire ants. We all know what a bite from just one fire ant feels like from playing barefoot in the grass as a kid. Fire ants are an aggressive species of ant that has become a real problem in Georgia. With no predators willing to eat these pests, they have been set loose across the southern states.
These ferocious ants aren’t just a danger to young children and pets, they can also cause real problems in your yard. A fire ant colony can reach unheard of numbers in the hundreds of thousands and create large unsightly mounds in your yard.
Where Do Georgia Fire Ants Come From?
Fire ants may behave like alien species that are not like the other ants in the rest of the country. That’s because they are; fire ants are not native to the United States. Fire ants hail from the humid jungles of South America where they thrive in the year-round heat. Sometime during the 1930 or 40s, some fire ants hitched a ride on a fruit truck and got into the United States. The temperatures in the south resembled their home climate and they began to spread, without the fear of natural predators to stop them. Today, there isn’t a place in the south where you can’t find red imported fire ants.
Fire Ant Life Cycle
During the spring and fall in Braselton, new queens emerge from their colonies and search for mates. After mating, the male soon dies. The female goes off in search of a new place to start a colony. Once a suitable spot is discovered, she sheds her wings and begins digging a chamber in which to start a new colony. A queen fire ant can lay up to 800 eggs per day. Adults emerge 9 to 15 days later ready to work. If that seems like a lot of fire ants, you’re right. An average colony can swell from 100,000 to 500,000 workers. And if you think you can wait them out, think again. A queen can live up to 7 years or more.
Types of Imported Fire Ants
In Georgia, there are two known species of imported fire ants; single-queen and multiple-queen types. In single-queen colonies, workers forage within their territory which they protect at all costs, even with their lives. On the other hand, multiple-queen colonies are not as territorial. This might be because they move from mound to mound, making a real mess of your yard. A single-queen colony can contain 40 to 150 mounds and contain up to 7 million ants per acre. A multiple-queen colony can have over 200 mounds and up to 40 million ants! That’s a lot of ants.
Identifying Fire Ants
Fire ants are not particular about which soil type they build their colony in, but they do prefer open, sunny areas such as shadeless lawns, pastures, parks, meadows, and farm fields. Mounds can reach 18 inches in height, making mowing difficult and can even damage your equipment if you aren’t careful.
Spotting fire ants is often difficult unless you are looking for them. Usually, the first sign of fire ants is dirt mounds that seem to appear in your yard overnight. By the time a mound is visible the colony has already been established for months. Fire ants behave much like bees when disturbed or annoyed and will come out in full force to attack. Usually, mounds are disturbed by lawnmowers, pets, or children.
Controlling Fire Ants
Controlling fire ants is tricky. Because of their extensive tunnel networks, which can reach up to 25 feet in any direction, it is impossible to treat all areas. Current control methods aim to suppress fire ants as much as possible with biological control methods, using insecticides only where it is justifiable to do so economically. There are plenty of home remedies and products that claim to control fire ants, but unless the queen is eliminated they can and will rebuild the colony.
For the Best Residential Pest Control In Braselton, Call the Professionals at Progressive Pest Control
Of course, If you are having trouble with a fire ant infestation your best bet is to call the experts at Progressive Pest Control. We can protect your home from a range of pests from cockroaches to mice with our residential pest control. We are standing by to take your call.
At Progressive Pest Control we stand behind every one of our products and services. We are so confident that you will be satisfied with our services that if you aren’t, we will come back out at no extra cost to you.