View Full Version : Fire Ants march on Memphis Mike's back yard!

Mr. Know It All
12-09-2002, 07:41 PM
Cold needed to fight fire ants
Mon, Dec. 09, 2002 9:29 AM ET
By the Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Only a long, cold winter might save Tennessee from the ever-growing bite of fire ants next summer. But forecasts by the National Weather Service indicate a wetter winter because of the El Nino effect with average temperatures January through March. More than a third of the state's 95 counties have severe enough infestations to be in Tennessee's quarantine area, up from 29 last year. Recent surveys found hundreds of new fire ant mounds in Knox, Sevier and Blount counties. "The mild winters of the past several years have been killing us. Fire ants have taken advantage and expanded their territory," said Gray Haun, whose job as a state plant certification administrator is to protect Tennessee agriculture from pests. "... You can find mounds in just about every county." Fire ants have been moving north for decades. Their mounds can grow large enough to interfere with lawn mowers and farm machinery. Imported fire ants were accidentally introduced into the United States from South America in about 1918. There are three kinds of fire ants: imported black, imported red and a hybrid of the two. While the majority of southern infestations are of the red variety, the black is predominant in Middle Tennessee. The black fire ant was the first of two species to be imported via shipping into Mobile, Alabama. The red fire ant also became established in the Mobile area by the early 1940s. The first confirmed sighting of fire ants in Tennessee was an isolated infestation in Shelby County in 1948, which was quickly eradicated. Natural migration of fire ants was first documented in Tennessee in Hardin County in 1987. Now, much of southern Tennessee is infested. Without natural enemies, the ants have spread throughout the South, with Tennessee marking the northernmost extension of the invasion. There's little doubt from experts that the quarantine line, now about 70 miles south of Nashville, will continue to move north. "It's hard to say how long it will take, but 15 to 30 years is a reasonable guess," said Stev e Powell, state entomologist. "We don't use the word 'eradicate' any more. We realize that most of the models predict that most of Tennessee will be susceptible to infestation by fire ants," Karen Vail, associate professor of entomology at the University of Tennessee, told The Tennessean newspaper. The quarantine designation means that hay and nursery stock grown in the fire ant counties must be inspected by the state Department of Agriculture to ensure the ants aren't transported to unaffected counties. The front line of infestation extends along the southern tier of counties from Memphis to the North Carolina border. "They get worse every year. They were worse last summer than they have ever been," said Calvin Bryant, county director of the Lawrence County Extension Service in Lawrenceburg. Control is a labor-intensive prospect for property owners. The preferred method is a two-step application of bait poison around the mounds, followed by a dousing with insecticide to kill survivors. "A farmer is unlikely to do that. It would cost too much and take too much time," Bryant said. Vail said an 80- to 90% reduction of the ants is the best anyone can hope for. "You're always going to have new queens starting up again," she said, adding homeowners will experience the same problem. They might control the mounds on their property but won't be able to stop advancing colonies from a neighbor's lawn.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press.

gunnar I am
12-09-2002, 07:59 PM
Ah tellyu wut, we'uz down to the vol-un-teer far house las not, and we'uz talkin bout them far ants.Gits ,so' sum dayze, don't seem lock things'r runnin in are fav-er.Me'n Snooky Tatum was out one not'n we'uz makin margeriters with his blander'n his Av-uh-lanch,wel ah tellyu wut, I felt sumpin bottin at ma laygs'n ah thowt a'da cowt ma legs on far er sumpin.Guess that's wah they coll em far ants. Yep.Any yew guys ever heerd'uv Lester Mo-ran Roadhog and his Cadillac Cowboys? I learnt how tew tolk from them.

Memphis Mike
12-09-2002, 08:08 PM
Funny, I haven't been bitten yet. But
maybe I'm not doin enough to attract em.

Mr. Know It All
12-09-2002, 08:40 PM
When I lived in Texas I made the mistake of hanging my swim trunks on the outdoor clothesline. I went to put em on the next day and guess what?!? Infested with Red Eastern Texas Fire Ants and I found out good why they call em fire ants. :eek:
Of course my friends thought it was funny but I assure you it wasn't.

Kevin in Ohio (where it's nice and cold)

12-09-2002, 09:08 PM
What do they eat when they are not munching on people? Are they scavangers like sugar ants, or wood eaters like the carpenter ants, or???

Thankfully, they have not made an appearance in "very cool" Michigan!

12-09-2002, 09:39 PM
Theyve gotten into a small area round Brisbane, Queensland and there is a national eradication program in place with an open-ended budget. Ag. Depts. are undecided if they'll be successful yet. It has sharpened up discussion about quarantine vs. free trade. They came in in imported pot plants to a nursery.

12-09-2002, 10:15 PM
Lock and load, baby, and start stockpiling the diesel fuel!! :eek:

[ 12-09-2002, 10:15 PM: Message edited by: Conrad S. ]

John Bell
12-09-2002, 10:17 PM
When I was two years old we lived in Mobile, AL, where fire ants entered the US from South America. As a normal active two-year old boy, the mounds were an irresistable attraction to be played in. I still have scars on my hands from the stings, visible after over 35 years have passed.

We've had fire ants in North Georgia for a few years now. We are in constant chemical warfare in our yard trying to keep them out. The ant killers are pretty effective on induvidual mounds, but new mounds arise a few weeks later on the other side of the yard. They don't eat wood that I can tell.

In a recent issue of MAIB, Robb White shares how to rid yourself the pain of the stings. He says the poison is a protien which is denatured by heat. Soaking the area in hot water breaks the poison down and relieves the symptoms. Now we are not talking about enough heat to scald you, but hot enough to be mildly uncomfortable. Robb says the best way to get after fire ant stings in particular is to use a microwaved Q-tip. I haven't tried it myself, but you can be sure the next time I get nipped I'm going to.


12-10-2002, 11:12 AM
Those devils are hardy little critters. What amazes me is the way they sneak all over your legs and then they all bite at THE SAME TIME! I usually poison them just as the weather starts warming up in the spring. A through job will usually knock 'em back for a good spell but nothing will eradicate them. Oh... BTW, they love dog food and they can sense it almost as soon as it hits the feeding dish.

Greg H
12-10-2002, 11:32 AM
Ah Ha! So they are meat ants, eh. We have had a few show up in nursery pots, which we promptly dispatched. Nasty buggers.
....so that's what happened to Joan Collins.....

[ 12-10-2002, 11:35 AM: Message edited by: Greg H ]

Jim H
12-10-2002, 11:45 AM
Red ants are a pain, they can infest your yard and deny you the use of certain sections. You cannot eradicate them, but you can control them. They are scavengers and they actively defend their mounds, you don't have to stand on the mound to be attacked. They are not really dangerous as the media would like you to believe, but they do cause property damage. Texas A&M published a study last year (I won't go into the details) that detailed how one might rid their yard of fire ants. Basically, you treat your entire yard twice a year with ant bait (Amdro was used in the study). You use about 6 oz. for a 1/4 acre lot (follow the directions), it kills the exhisiting colonies and the ants go looking for greener pastures. I treated my yard (front & back) last spring and I have not had any fire ants all year. You'll know when they are around, after a rain they will build a mound of dirt (size depends on colony size) usually about 3 to 6 in high (for enviromental control). They will live in electrical boxes & outlets, water meters and valve boxes, under any peice of trash just left lying around for a few days and they can build colonies inside the walls of your house (through the weep holes of brick facades and gapss in siding). If you are allergic to bee stings, you will have a reaction to red ant bites. Red ants are a pain, but I would'nt trade them for greenheads. If they came to Texas, I'd move.

Jim H
12-10-2002, 12:01 PM
Red Imported Fire Ant Management (http://fireants.tamu.edu/research/arr/year/00-02/index.html)
Red Imported Fire Ant Management
Applied Research and Demonstration Reports

Therre are many reports of interest, but for an overview of the treatment I described click on: Community-Wide Fire Ant Management with Lakeview Country Estates in Mansfield, Texas - Elizabeth Ann Hickman

Mike H.
12-10-2002, 12:43 PM
"The Complete Lester "Roadhog" Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys"
Mercury Music Record Company
Live from the Johnny Mack Brown High School, it's ...
Roadhog and the 'Boys stumble through a host of old classics. Roadhog stumbles over his between-song patter. This could easily have happened to Elvis.

"Ah esk 'em t' be own thur bess' buh-hayver. Ah don' know." -- Roadhog Moran

Hey, Gunnar, I actually have that tape! I didn't think anyone else in the world knew about it. My sister made me a copy of it years ago, and I played it one time for MMike, and he said something like, "My lord, what is that?" hehehe
Do you think the Statler Bros. got a little buzzed when they made that one? ;)

John Bell
12-10-2002, 11:02 PM
"Brought to you tonite by Ernie's Egg Mart."
"We gotchyer Grade-A large aigs, yer Grade-B Large aigs, and yer cain't be too large aigs! Hawwww-righhht!"
"If'n you need aigs, Ernie'll lay 'em on ya."

"Pick it like Chedt Atkins, Wichitaw..."


Gary Bergman
12-10-2002, 11:33 PM
No mounds on deck yet........

12-11-2002, 05:40 PM
Yeah, but you might want to put ant guards on your dock lines.

Jim H
12-11-2002, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by Gary Bergman:
No mounds on deck yet........When it's dry for prolonged periods, you won't.

Potential United States range expansion of the invasive
fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

[ 12-11-2002, 06:33 PM: Message edited by: JimHillman ]

Wild Wassa
12-11-2002, 06:29 PM
Originally posted by JimHillman:
Red ants are a pain, but I would'nt trade them for greenheads. If they came to Texas, I'd move.Jim H, I think I know what you mean. Queenslanders have ones called, Green Tree Ants. They glue the leaves together for their nests and fall on to you. They have a hot bite.


ps, Here are some now, ... :D :D :D , :rolleyes:

[ 12-11-2002, 07:01 PM: Message edited by: Wild Wassa ]

Sam F
12-12-2002, 11:58 AM
Make a pointed stick around 3 feet long. Boil a teakettle full of water. Take the kettle of hot water and your stick out to a mound. Holding the stick at arm's length, stick it down into the mound and swirl it around to make a steep sided funnel shaped hole. Ants will swarm up the stick.
Don't worry, leave it. Now slowly pour the hot water down the stick and into the hole. Use the whole kettle. Remove the stick and go back to boil another kettle for the next mound. This method almost always kills the queen and finishes off the nest. I completely cleared a 1-acre lot in East Baton Rouge Parrish, Louisiana this way. When a new nest moves in, boil some more water. My neighbors all used nasty stuff like Chlordane and didn't control the ants as well as I did. It is quite effective and it is unlikely the ants will ever develop resistance to boiling water. :D
I understand that in some soils, fire ants don’t necessarily make mounds, if you have soil like that I guess ant baits are your best bet, but on that low lying heavy clay soil we had in Baton Rouge every nest was always accompanied by a mound and easy to see.

Alan D. Hyde
12-12-2002, 12:56 PM
Good idea, Sam.

If it's not too cold for the ants, make it too hot.

Sometimes the simplest and cheapest ways also work the best.


12-13-2002, 10:53 PM
I notice that New England is less than "Improable" on that infestation map. Do you suppose that's because fire ants only bite rednecks? tongue.gif

gunnar I am
12-14-2002, 08:33 AM
I had part of that routine on an old Statler Bros. L.P. Well haulrite! Are we awwfff? Are we awwff? :D :D

Mike H.
12-14-2002, 10:38 AM
"I wish they wouldn't a done that. I don't know, I don't know...."
I'm going to make Mike listen to that tape again. I think the first time I played it for him several years ago, he thought it was a legitimate recording of a realllllllly bad country band! tongue.gif

garland reese
12-14-2002, 10:41 AM
Sue! What brought that on!? :D

My Aunt and my Mother are always sending me tapes. Really old stuff mostly, like Hank, Bob Wills, Ray Price (early),Milton Brown, Skeets McDonald....blah, blah..... and in one batch "Lester Moran". My wife and kids can't stand it when I play this stuff. :D

06-29-2005, 05:16 AM
When I lived in Texas I made the mistake of hanging my swim trunks on the outdoor clothesline. I went to put em on the next day and guess what?!? Infested with Red Eastern Texas Fire Ants and I found out good why they call em fire ants I had the same problem with a Funnel Web spider - the rotter bit me twice on the bum - and my wife refused to suck out the poison. Luckily it was a female - the males are deadly, within minutes.

My late mother used to use the boiling water trick on snakes ..... very effective


Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
06-29-2005, 11:39 AM
My butt looked like this poor kids arm after them dang fire ants were done with me. :eek:


I'm sure I looked like one of the 3 Stooges with his butt on fire at the time. :D