Ant Problems in my yard and garden

Asked March 11, 2017, 11:45 PM EST

I live in an older community near Houston, TX and I back-up to a golf course. For years I have battled ants in my potted plants, flower gardens and yard. I do what everybody knows to do, when I see a mound I treat it with any killer. Frankly, after all these years and bags of ant killers, I feel like this approach is "spitting in the wind" (and about as effective). Is there a more successful, professional approach to ridding my yard, gardens and potted plants? These ants literally kill my flowers and plants!

Fort Bend County Texas

1 Response

The answer comes from another university educator:

Without knowing what type of fire ant killer and how and when it was used it is hard for me to say what might have gone wrong to cause the fire ant killer not to work. Here is what I recommend. 1. Bait products are as much of a sure bet as anything. They must be used when the temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees in order for them to work because that is when the ants are out foraging for food. The bait needs to stay dry for 24 to 48 hours to allow the ants to collect it and take it back to the mound so don't apply when there is rain in the forecast. Sprinkle the recommended amount around the mound about 12 to 18 inches out from the mound. Do not put the bait directly on top of the mound, that would be like putting a stake on top of your house. Baits take 7 days to 2 months to kill the entire mound so be patient. 2. If the mounds are in an area where you need to take care of them right away or there is a chance somebody might come in contact with the mound then use a drench. Drenches are chemicals that are mixed with water and poured over the mound. It usually takes two or more gallons of water in order to reach down deep enough into the mound to kill the queen and all the brood. Do not disturb the mound before applying the drench. When the mound is disturbed the ants act as if the mound is under attack and they immediately move the queen out of harms way. There are also drenches that are granular products that are sprinkled on top of and around the mound and then water poured over the mound to wash the chemical off the granule and into the mound. 3. Powders must be sprinkled on and around the mound so that ants that are going and coming will track the poison into the mound. These are best used when the ants are actively foraging for food. If you will use these products according to the label and the above recommendations you should be able to get rid of the fire ants. To keep them out there are a few chemicals that can be spread over the area and watered in to prevent ants from making mounds in that area. Ask your local garden center if they carry one of those products. They are more expensive, but are worth the money for areas where children or people who are allergic to them are likely to come in contact with the mounds.

Waterbug-front_thumb Shawn Banks

Posted almost 8 years ago