How To Handle Fire Ants In Mobile

fire ant facing right

Moonpies, the USS Alabama, and 98 % humidity levels are unfortunately not the only things our hometown of Mobile is famous for. In the early 1930s, black and red imported fire ants were unknowingly brought into the U.S. through our ports.

Since then, the earthen mounds that dote Alabama's landscape are a telltale sign of this extremely efficient southern invader, and knowing how to identify fire ants as well as where to find good pest control in Mobile is a must for an Alabama homeowner.

The Role Fire Ants Play In Our Ecosystem

Both the black fire ants and their more aggressive cousins, red imported fire ants, have spread throughout Alabama and to points far outside the state borders.

Like all ants, fire ants are social insects living in underground colonies that commonly extend above ground into mounds. The colony consists of a queen and her offspring, sterile and wingless workers. Workers take care of the queen, build tunnels, gather food, and protect the colony. Every colony also has a few hundred fertile male and female winged members that you'll often see flying around after a rain. A colony lasts as long as the queen lives, usually around five years.

In general, fire ants in Mobile are beneficial to our ecosystem. Their nests aerate the soil, and being omnivores; they'll eat or at least try to eat just about anything. A big part of their diet consists of other insects like ticks and mites and even certain rodents and reptiles) helping to keep their population under control.

All The Problems A Fire Ant Infestation Can Cause In A House

Unfortunately, the benefits fire ants provide to the ecosystem outside of your house do not continue once they get on the inside.

  • Fire ant bites are extremely painful and often get infected. When a fire ant bites you, it grabs the flesh with its mandibles and then pierces it with a stinger multiple times.
  • Their venom contains a chemical called piperidine, which, when injected into your body, can cause swelling, redness, itching, or puss-filled blisters that will last for days.
  • People allergic to fire ant venom can go into anaphylactic shock and must receive immediate medical help.
  • A person who suffered multiple fire ant stings will experience vomiting, swelling, shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat, and go into shock.
  • Fire ant hills in your yard are unsightly and can destroy carefully planted vegetation. While not a huge deal out in the wild, a fire ant hill in the middle of your carefully manicured yard is an eye sore and a danger to anyone nearby.
  • Fire ants are attracted to electrical appliances and are responsible for damaging a significant number of appliances each year, such as air conditioners and pumps. 

If you've seen signs of a fire ant infestation on your Mobile property, it's important to get the situation under control as soon as possible. Fire ants spread quickly, and each spring, hundreds of winged fire ants fly out of the colony mound on their way to establishing new colonies.

Five Natural Ways To Keep Fire Ants Away From Your Property

Coexisting with fire ants on your property is not a very practical option, but luckily they respond well to a number of natural deterrents and fire ant treatments:

  1. Take away the food that attracts them. The best way to prevent a fire ant infestation is to remove food sources by keeping food stored in sealed containers and cleaning up crumbs and spills as soon as possible.
  2. Seal cracks and openings leading into your house to keep ants out.
  3. Citrus fruits are a strong deterrent for fire ants. They hate the strong smell of citrus. Spread around the skins of oranges, lemons, grapefruits, or citrus oils to keep them away.
  4. Peppermint or tee tree oil is another deterrent. Soak a few cotton balls in oil and place them around the area.
  5. Coffee grounds deter fire ants. They can't stand the smell of coffee and will do their best to stay away.

If you've tried prevention and it just wasn't enough to keep fire ants away from your Mobile property, it's time to get a pest professional involved.

Call The Professionals At The First Sign Of Fire Ants On Your Property

A seasoned pest control professional will evaluate the fire ant infestation and then develop and execute an effective plan to rid your property of fire ants and keep them from coming back with our effective fire ant control services in Mobile.

Get in touch with us at EnSec Pest & Lawn and keep your Mobile home fire ant-free!