Fire ants booted at Texas block party
The Texas Agricultural Extension Service is encouraging Texas homeowners to organize block parties for coordinated fire ant management. Participants simultaneously disperse fire ant bait across all yards and open spaces, preventing mounds from popping up next door just after one yard istreated.
By using large amounts of bait, the neighborhoods can diminish ant populations. Ants accept bait as a food source and carry it back to the colony to share with the queen. Once the queen dies, the colony perishes.
Last fall, Austin homeowner Melanie Duck responded to a flyer from the Travis County Extension Service and volunteered her neighborhood for a demonstration project on fire ant control. “Fire ants are a real problem here,” Duck explains. “We have upwards of 80 children in the neighborhood, and they’ve all been stung at one time or another. The ants get into pet food, damage electrical wiring and create a general nuisance, as well as a potential health problem. Most homeowners were treating for ants on an individual basis, and the program gave us an opportunity to work together.”
“We ended up with 90 percent participation when we held the block party last fall,” Duck says. “It took about two weeks for all the ants to disappear, but, once they were gone, they stayed gone. We’ll definitely continue to use the block party concept to manage our fire ant problem.”