Q:

What is the best way to kill fire ants?

A:

Quick Answer

The best way to kill fire ants is to use both biological controls and insecticides. The use of insecticides alone can become expensive, while biological controls take time to work and may bring their own problems with them. Contact insecticides and baits are often used in conjunction with the release of fire ant predators to control infestations, though complete removal of the ants from an area is difficult to maintain.

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Full Answer

Competition from native ants can slow the spread of fire ants. Non-native species, such as the phorid fly, can also be imported to kill them. Phorid flies attack fire ants, laying their eggs inside them. Once the eggs hatch, the larva feed off the ant, eventually killing it. Phorid flies must adjust to non-native habitats before becoming an effective fire ant destruction mechanism.

Insecticides can be applied to individual mounds and to the landscape as a preventative measure. Applying insecticide to a large landscape can become cost prohibitive because the insecticide must be reapplied regularly to prevent reintroduction of the pests. Applying the insecticide to individual mounds can be time consuming and the insecticide may not penetrate deeply enough to kill the queen, allowing the nest to be rebuilt. The application of bait can result in eradication of the nest if consumed by all ants. However, it must be re-applied often as it is consumed or washed away frequently.

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