FIRE !!!!!! Ants that is..........

Mommasons(WPB-FLz10)June 8, 2003

We have 6 acres and more mounds of fire ants than you can imagine! Their in the potted plants, around our trees, along walkways, around the plant beds, all over the yard. My feet and hands look like I have chicken pox! And the poor dog. We've tried granules, they just move on. We've tried a professional, think of the cost for this many acres folks, and still these pesky critters are building up their mounds and planting their victory flags! I've never been one to give the enemy the upper hand, so I've come to you guys, noble and faithful gardeners, in hopes you can share some wisdom with some one who has a challenge ahead of them!

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With 6 acres, probably the best you could do would be to hope the rains stop!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2003 at 10:21AM
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I've heard the best approach is to treat them all at once, not just several mounds at a time.

I would also suggest you check with your county extension service if you have one (associated with a university usually) as they may have some more pertinent local suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2003 at 12:17PM
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jap373(z8b BR,LA)

Hate 'em! Hate 'em! Hate 'em! Scourge of the earth! I am not a hater of ants in general, just these awful critters. And I'm afraid there's no permanent way to get rid of them. I think you have to decide what territory you want to defend and concentrate on that--6 acres is def. too much!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2003 at 11:36PM
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denisew(z8 TX)

Use a drench using orange oil on the ones closest to your house and in your potted plants. Mix the orange oil with organic soil conditioner - 2 TBSP. soil conditioner and 1 TBSP. orange oil to a gallon of water. If any nursery near you carries Garden Ville organic products, there is one called Auntie Fuego which is basically the soil conditioner with orange oil and this is mixed 3 TBSP. per gallon of water. It works in my yard. Using organic fertilizers, etc. also helps discourage fire ants because they don't like fertile soil. They prefer a sterile environment which is what is created when you start using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, etc.

It is a good suggestion to contact your county extension agent when you need to treat this much property. But, if it were me, I would only worry about the areas that are close to the house.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2003 at 3:28PM
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Thanks guys for so much quality info! I will definitely contact the county extension service as well as looking into orange oil. With the afternoon rains now through the summer, it seems like it's going to be a long one!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2003 at 10:40PM
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lakeman(7b So Carolina)

There is only one solution, I do not put up with them on my property, although they are all around me. Broadcast ANDRO asper instructions spring and fall, no more fire ants. Nothing else works.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 9:57AM
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bama35640(Z7A AL)

Ditto on the last post, I have 3 acres in North Alabama with a 20 acre pasture next to me. Broadcast ANDRO or Over and Out and then spot treat every new mound you see. I especially have to keep up along the fence line beside the pasture as I can see 2 ft high mounds all over the field. The only place I have trouble is around the pond as I can't use anything too close to it and have to do the boiling water treatment until they get mad and move to where I can use the good stuff.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 12:17PM
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I have had good luck with Orthene Fire Ant Killer. It is powder instead of grandular and it doesn't have to be watered in. I worry about birds picking up the grandular stuff.

Orthene smells to high heaven, but it works. Sprinkle a circle outside the edges of the mound and then sprinkle the surface. I have never had to re-treat a mound. Nor do they seem to take up housekeeping nearby. Maybe I have been lucky, but for me and my ants, it works.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 4:19PM
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Last summer I had an ant problem. Pesky little critters for sure. A friend told me to put pods of jalapeno peppers out. I didn't want to use chemicals around in and out of the house because of a small child. Well, dardest thing it worked. I put them in the cabinets, on a window seal, on the back decks in inconspicuous places. (no, my daughter never found them. I was concerned if she found them she might try to eat them and accidentally burn her eyes) This year I planted a nice section in my garden for this purpose. I have a pineapple plant that should bare a fruit this year. The previous one I had to set the pot in water to keep the ants from eating it! I'm going to try to make a"tea" of sorts to spray out made of the peppers. Don't have a clue if it will work, but I can always put my precious pineapple in the pond. I will let you know how things turn out. Not sure if this would work in a large spot but the pepper pods did keep them from the areas I listed. It was evident it worked, their little corpses lay everywhere there was a pod. Oh, cut the pod open..... it works even after it dries out.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2003 at 7:50AM
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Pcola(z8 NW Florida)

I have a product called AMDRO. Is that the same stuff or is ANDRO a different product. I just started with the AMDRO and don't know how effective it is yet.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2003 at 11:19AM
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I too have used the product Amdro, it has a smell to it so the birds will not eat it, just spread it around. Don't pour it on the mound. Ants like to think they have really found something and will haul it back to the nest ,but until they feed it to the queen, you will have ants. I cleaned up 4 acres around my place with it, I dont like using chems. but with fire
ants you ant got much of a choice. Us southerners gotta fight fire with fire

    Bookmark   August 22, 2003 at 11:13PM
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greenelbows(z9--so LA)

I had a big pot with a plumeria in it that was full of fire ants, and I was concerned that water was going around the edge instead of thru the root ball, so I watered it with a product called Nature's Sunshine, an organic product you can use for cleaning and spraying and stuff, and it makes 'water wetter' so it would soak in better. I didn't think about the ants when I watered it, but they disappeared (or moved someplace else possibly). I notice a few small mounds popping up periodically, and if I have Amdro I sprinkle a little in the area (I think it's pretty safe to use--I try to be organic too.) The best cure I've heard, and definitely organic, is one I read about in another forum entitled 'What plants can you urinate on? One of the funniest threads I've ever read, plus a lot of good information, and one poster said it was good to get rid of fire ants. A lot of the posters said they had husbands who weren't entirely house-broken, but it would take a small army to'treat' six acres! I did take a jar in the bathroom and dumped it on a mound and they disappeared--I would too if somebody did that to me. Oh well--just a thought!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2003 at 4:07PM
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I learned of some great stuff from my local ag guy, here look at my post in roses forum.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 10:50AM
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Twinkle(7 GA)

Do try the boiling water treatment on the ones near the house. You can kill some of them that way - but don't cook any of your plants in the process.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 12:35PM
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presmudjo(z9 Osceola FL)

I have to agree the fire ants are reallllyyyyy bad. I had a problem when they multiplied so bad I couldn't go out in the yard. I worked with a person from the company that makes over n out (long story there) and broadcast it in my yard. It takes about a month or so to see the rewards, but it does work! I spot treat with ortho fire ant bait granuales. I consider myself fire ant free. Not like they ever really all go away. Only once in a while do I see a small 2 inch mound and I get-um! No more 2-4 ft mounds!! I'm going to retreat with over n out 2 times a year and keep them out!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 4:03PM
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beaucoup_fleurs(z8 NC)

We have been diligent with treating with the AMDRO and it has really worked - I like that it doesn't have such a chemical smell either - one season the fire ants were so bad that I almost couldn't work in the garden without being doesn't take much AMDRO to do the job for each mound either....good luck...we all have to keep after these awful ants....does anyone know if they have any natural enemies? Maggie

    Bookmark   April 8, 2004 at 9:01AM
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Check with your Univ. of Florida Cooperative Extension Agent. Many southern states stil have fire ant programs. You may be able to qualify for the progams. Be warned, many states have dropped the program.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2004 at 7:22PM
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Amdro or Maxforce are both good. I prefer the Maxforce fine granules. If you use Amdro, make sure it is fresh. It will go stale or rancid about 5-9 months after you open the container and the ants won't take it.

John Warner, PhD qualified entomologist
University of Florida
Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Ant Lab
3205 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314

    Bookmark   August 1, 2004 at 8:33PM
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I don't have the problem, but I have heard great things about Texas A&M's "Texas Two-step" method. Here's a link to more information.
(One nice thing, if you have fire ants, you won't have termites - gotta look on the bright side!)

Here is a link that might be useful: TAMU Fire Ant page

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 4:01PM
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For you "Organic" nuts who won't use poison, Get a couple of armadillos. They dig up the bed and eat the larvae.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 11:00AM
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The pros say to use something like the Permethrin, and then follow up with Amdro to get the ones that are left. That way, you don't waste as much of the expensive stuff. In short, you broadcast the Permethrin, then use Amdro to clean up mounds that reappear.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 11:18PM
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threelegdcat(Z9 Tampa)

Mostly of the time, I've had success pour grits on the mounds (little buggers are supposed to eat them and explode)...on the massive mounds I've had lately, neither grits, nor Amdro or even our 4 Hurricanes have chased them away! I did read however today to pour hot water (as hot as you can stand without burning your skin) on the bite and it seems to bring some relief from the itching for a few hours.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 8:56PM
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threelegdcat(Z9 Tampa)

Most of the time, I've had success pouring grits on the mounds (the little buggers are supposed to eat them and explode)...

On the massive mounds I've had to deal with lately, neither grits, nor Amdro or even our 4 Hurricanes have chased them away! I did read, however, today to pour hot water (as hot as you can stand without burning your skin) on the bite and it seems to bring some relief from the itching for a few hours. I usually have a bad topical reaction (just a LOT of swelling) and this seems to help more than hydrocortizone.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 8:57PM
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    Bookmark   October 20, 2004 at 5:28PM
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pssst! Boric acid is a chemical!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 11:36PM
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Tanya01(zn9 FL)

Amdro is great but in containers I have a few I use a product I found called Grants Kills Ants


    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 1:51PM
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Annette Holbrook

Get some guinea hens, they love fire ants!
I have also used Diatemaceous Earth. I use DE as a pesticide in the chicken coop since the food grade DE is safe around animals. I noticed that the fire ants are gone in the area I put the DE. I have 12 acres, but I really only worry about the 2-3 acres around the house and chicken coops.
Good luck,
Alpharetta GA

Here is a link that might be useful: DE

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 10:44PM
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I used some Amdro last year and it helped.Nasty buggers.I heard they've come up with some kind of virus that is supposed to take them out.Don't think it's on the market yet though.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 9:46AM
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I have 12 acres south of Atlanta and no fire ants in 11 years. They don't like shade. I apparently have enough forest around me to keep them from invading my sunny spots. I guess I'll count my blessings.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 6:02PM
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roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)

I am CONVINCED that fire ants are part of one big colony underground, stretching from coast to coast. We burn the mounds with gasoline sometimes (DH is vol fireman, LOVES to burn). Also have used AMDRO - i think i am going to try the urine mentioned above. My 5 year old nephew loves to go outside in the yard - like his uncle and his dad!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 7:30PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

A couple years ago I heard they had found a tiny little wasp, I think it was, that lived in the area the fire ants come from originally, and it laid eggs in the fire ant's heads, so when they hatched they'd eat out their brains and their heads fell off. Called 'em decapitator wasps I think (can't imagine why!) They were going to make trial releases in a few areas, but I haven't heard any more about 'em. Has anyone else? Pretty gruesome way to kill 'em, but nothing's too good for those little horrors!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 1:07AM
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Fireants are capable of burrowing 18' into the ground(yes, even in clay). Mounds as far away as 100' can be connected.
We are not going to win this one. But I will never give up.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 12:01PM
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andivon(z8a NC)

I have had a great deal of success with boiling water and Amdro (for mounds in the lawn. The trick to the boiling water is to make sure you boil lots of it. We had a construction crew here working on our deck when they spotted me coming out of the house with a very large pot of boiling water. I poured it directly into the middle of the mound and then went inside. About an hour later I heard one of the crew members whistle and called the rest of the crew over to where he was. I also went outside to see what they were looking at and saw that they were all standing around the ant hill. What they saw werere were hundreds of ants on top of the mound dead as a door nail. There were lots of eggs as well. They were really impressed and said they were going to try it. I use Amdro along the perimeter of the property only. I treat about two hills a year now compared to ten or so on our one acre.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 5:40PM
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jennegardens(z5 NY)

There is a decapitating fly that is a safe biological method being introduced into the south to eradicate the fire ant. Here is some more info: (I would also urge locals to get in touch with their cooperative extension and advocate it to be used in their community.) Every little bit helps!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 3:49PM
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I've had good luck with the orange oil solution, & lately I've heard that a strong sugar water solution is effective.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 4:01PM
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I was told by an old farmer to sprinkle plain ground corn meal on the mounds, that the ants would give it to the queen (and themselves) and that they would explode after they ate it! I tried it, and voila!! it really did work!!!
I even tried the kind that was a corn muffin mix, and IT worked too!! Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 9:04AM
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genecolin(Zone 9, LA)

"I feel your pain."
Although like most of you, to me they are just a very bad pest, but to my wife they are a death threat. She goes into shock, like what happens to people who have reaction to bee or wasp stings. It only takes one small bite to cause her a lot of misery; shortness of breath, chest pains, and a light headed fainting feeling. It also keep her off her feet for a couple of days. We have been lucky that she has never had a full fledge attack from a colony, I donÂt know if she would make it. She carries an emergency kit with her at all times. For ten years, since she first had a reaction, she has been imprisoned by the ants to house arrest. A couple of years ago I found the perfect product for our need. Its called Talstar with the active ingredient of Bifenthrin. It comes in a granular form, actually its sand coated with the active ingredient, which is activated when it gets wet. Since it is bonded to the sand it doesnÂt wash off or spread very far. Its safe to use around children and pets and can be put fairly close to ponds and streams. If I remember right it is also usable around vegetable plants. Also it has no smell. It is not a poison that is ingested but rather a nerve agent that ants react to by walking over it and absorbing it. I have a 1/4 acre lot on which I apply one 25 pound bag at a cost of 35 dollars twice a year with a hand spreader, the kind with a crank handle on the side. I apply my first application at the end of February as the temperature warms and my second usually in June. Although it is supposed to be good for six to seven months, I would rather re-apply early for my wife safety and my peace of mind. My wife can now tend to flowers and enjoy the outdoors again.

It has been a blessing for us. I hope this is helpful to some of you. Oh, by the way, I purchase it at a local do it your pest control shop in Houma, La which is where we live. I hope IÂve gotten most of the facts straight about the product but in case IÂve missed something look it up on the WEB. Do a google for "talstar"

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 4:06PM
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Has anyone tried this: take a long black garden hose, leave it in the sun so the water inside it gets very hot, then slowly shower the hot water over a fire ant mound? It should do the trick: easy, cheap and safe.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 9:18PM
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yuccapatrol(Alabama 7)

Is there anything that kills fire ants only and does not kill native ants?

I understand that the presence of native ants can prevent infestation by fire ants.

I want to keep my regular non annoying ants. . . . .

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 12:41PM
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countymounty(6-ish Tulsa, OK)

Planet Natural has a product called "Ascend" that contains Abamectin which is supposed to sterilize the queen. I have used it with excellent success. Takes about a week or two for the mound to totally go away but once it does it is gone for good. In the past with other tratments it seemed like the ants would die (or move away) but within about a month another colony had repopulated the old mound. Has not happened yet with Ascend.

Another suggestion for an organic option is to spread dried molasses flakes. It works to increase the micro organisms in the soil and make things less steril. I have just sarted this approach this summer so I don't know what to tell you yet.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 7:32PM
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jbcarr(7 VA)

Placing your pots on "feet" deters the ants, although they will get about anywhere when determined.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 10:02PM
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anyone know what an equivalent to AMDRO would be that I can buy in Canada? I have 1/2 an acre infested with the little buggers. don't want to kill off everything else, but what choice? can't stand in my own yard. I kill the mounds when I find them but otherwise they are everywhere!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 11:07PM
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thatannagirl(8 (houston))

My mother used to use boiling water to kill fire ants in the yard before summer birthday parties when the slip-n-slide would come out. She didn't want our young little bodies to come into contact with the poison of Amdro or anything else she might otherwise use.
Now I don't know if she just didn't use ENOUGH boiling water, or if, as I've heard said, the boiling water only kills the ones it comes into contact with, when it's still hot enough to do some good. (This sounds like good logic to me.) And, considering how deep the mounds can go, and how far they tunnel laterally, I would think you might need a dump truck full of boiling water to actually be sure you killed the colony you were trying to kill.
In any case, I think my siblings and all our childhood friends would agree with me that we'd have rather had a little Amdro residue that would have washed off with all the sprinkler running we were doing, than the years of repeated fire-ant bites, when the buggers were impossible to tell apart from the other yard debris that was mudded onto us.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 6:15PM
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thatannagirl(8 (houston))

As a follow up to that, and something I intended to include: The bleach application works wonders if you can get in on within about 15minutes of being bitten. For those whose skin is less sensitive than mine, straight bleach is definitely the best. For those whose skin will blister from straight bleach, you can go as weak as a 10:1 ratio of water to bleach. Soak it in, rub it into those bites! The idea is the alkaline bleach will help neutralize the acidic fire ant toxin.
Popping the fire ant pustules really doesn't do anything but make it easy for them to get infected, and maybe distract you from the itchy pain for a few moments.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 6:22PM
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Can you kill fire ants with borax or boric acid mixed with whatever bait they might like to eat?

Can you treat the bites with Benadryl, baking soda, or ichthamnol?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 7:08PM
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I live in SW Florida and we have no shortage of these pest! I've used many of the ant killers you get from Home Depot and other retailers with very little success! I hired a pest control who came out and liquid sprayed the entire yard but no clue what they used. In about two or three hours you couldn't find a fire ant and it stayed that way about three months..............then reinvestation! The pest control rep told me you CANNOT get rid of fire ants in the southern US because it is over infested and they move from location to location sometimes several times a day! Rain alone will force them to relocate to drier conditions but it doesn't kill them. You also have neighbors who could care less or are oblivious to their existance in which their ants will relocate to your property! The best you can hope for is CONTROL but you will NEVER achieve EXTERMINATION! I just read numerous articles where ORTHO has a great product and also ELIMINATOR had many recommendations. The pest control method isn't bad...........about $45-$80 a shot. Here's what I think............get the pest control and spray which will show 99% improvement within hours. Then make your way to Walmart and grab a couple bags of eliminator and broadcast the yard on a regular schedule which you'll have to determine by trial and error. Once you know about how often you need to broadcast, you should be able to get a pretty good grip on the situation however, keep in mind you will have to continue the process as long as you live in the southern's part of life here in the swamp!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:05PM
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I read on this site about one person who killed them with nothing more than a shovel. My friend in Ca. Has 6 mounds. A huge at her gate n they biting her little dogs. I told her what I read n she did last night n this morning I called n she went out n there a ton a dead fire ants. Now all she did was to take a shovel n dump some from each mound on to the other mounds. She went into shock as the mounds are seperate n they went to war ! They willfight n kill each other n you don't need to pay for a thing n the next day they were dead,those that weren't looked drunk. Its says it may take a few times but she didn't get stung, didn't pay anyboby, n didn't have to worry about chemicals and hurting her pets. She was so surprised how fast the ants started killing each other,she said she stood there n laughed n watched Red Ant War world war 1. Anyone having this problem use a long handle shovel n another mound of red ants. Thank u to the person whom wrote it. As now she is a happy person n so are her chichuhuas.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:31AM
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What about nematodes? Arbico sells a nematode that they claims kills fire ants.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 10:41AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've not seen any research which indicates that beneficial nematodes have proved promising for the control of fire ants.

This thread is over ten years old. I suggest that anyone with a question or concern about fire ants start a new thread.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 5:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've not seen any research which indicates that beneficial nematodes have proved promising for the control of fire ants.

This thread is over ten years old. I suggest that anyone with a question or concern about fire ants start a new thread.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 6:38PM
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