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Fire Ant Control

Do you want to control fire ants in your yard? Here's information on the two-step method of control.

Nashville, Ark. – If you have had fire ants in the past and are seeing those unwanted mounds pop up on your property, then it is time to do something about them. Imported fire ants are a serious pest, but fortunately their impact upon our lives can be minimized through patience and the use of integrated pest management practices. The most effective chemical control methods for imported fire ants result in queen mortality or prohibit her from producing more worker ants. The control program described below is a cost-effective and proven procedure that provides long-term ant suppression in home lawns, ornamental turf, area-wide treatment programs and other nonagricultural land. This program is also suited for pasture and rangeland provided the products are labeled for use in these sites.

The two-step method is suggested for areas with a high IFA mound (colony) density (over 20 per acre) and low numbers of beneficial native ants. This method can effectively control heavy fire ant infestations when conducted at least twice yearly. The first step is to broadcast a bait formulated insecticide over the entire yard on a semiannual basis (spring and fall). The second step occurs seven to ten days later with the individual treatment of problem mounds with approved insecticidal dusts, liquid drenches, baits, granules, aerosols or a nonchemical treatment, such as pouring hot water on the mound.

Step One - Broadcast Bait Applications: Most fire ant bait is a combination of insecticide plus an attractive fire ant food (generally processed corn grits coated with soybean oil). Baits are taken into the colony by ants searching (foraging) for food. The bait is distributed to other members of the colony through the exchange of food, a process known as trophallaxis. One key to the efficiency of baits is that the insecticide gets to the queen.

Step Two - Individual Mound Treatment: Chemical and nonchemical methods may be used for individual treatment of fire ant mounds. Individual mound treatments should be applied from seven to ten days following the broadcast of bait. Dusts, liquid drenches, granules and aerosols are examples of contact insecticides. As a contact insecticide, these products must actually come into direct contact with the ant.

For more detailed information on controlling fire ants using the two-step method see fact sheet FSA7036, or contact Howard County Extension office. We will be glade to mail you a copy.

For more information, you can send an email to Howard County Extension office is still working and is there for all the residences in Howard County during this time. 

By Samantha Kroll
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Samantha Kroll
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.