Help -- raised garden bed has fire ants

Asked September 14, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT

I just got a new raised bed made for fall vegetable gardening and find the soil has become filled with fire ants. I don't want to put poison in garden soil. How do I get rid if them? I can't plant and weed with them there.

Travis County Texas

1 Response

You may want to listen to the recording of this webinar, which discusses controlling fire ants in vegetable gardens: https://learn.extension.org/events/841

There are fire ant baits that you can broadcast between May and the end of October that keep fire ants in check. There are also various individual mound treatments that are available. Baits are generally safer than individual mound treatments. Spinosad fire ant bait will work faster than pyriproxyfen or methorpene baits. Spinosad is an organic insecticide. The other two active ingredients are very safe for humans and pets because they are insect growth regulators. See also http://www.extension.org/pages/34820/what-fire-ant-control-measure-can-i-use-in-my-vegetable-garden

If you do need to apply a drench for control of an individual mound in a vegetable garden the most widely available insecticides contain spinosad. Make sure to find an insecticide that is labelled for vegetable gardens. This publication lists many of these individual mound treatments:
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/gardening/hgic1263.html