With a little bit of rain and warmer temperatures fire ant mounds are popping up throughout Texas and the southeast. Spring mound season is an excellent time to think about controlling some of those larger mounds with a mound treatment of your choice.
Despite the warm days with air temperatures in the 80s and 90s, soil temperatures are just climbing to levels where fire ants are thinking about foraging for food. This means that in some areas it may still be a little early for applying fire ant bait. I just checked soil temperatures here at our Dallas office and temperatures ranged from mid-60s to the mid-70s. Research indicates that fire ant foraging doesn’t begin in earnest until soil temperatures reach the 70 degree mark. Our standard recommendation is to hold off bait applications until late April or May.
While baits are still the most cost-effective and environmentally sensitive option for area-wide fire ant control, mound treatments are effective for controlling visible mounds and can be applied any time of year. Mound treatments are ideally used against fire ant nests that need quick control, like mounds next to the house or in other inconvenient locations.
There is a notable change in at least one popular consumer product this year. GardenTech’s Over N’ Out formulation has been changed from the long-lasting fipronil, to bifenthrin. The only package change, other than active ingredient, is that the seller now promotes it for six-month, rather than 12-month control. So if you are buying Over N’ Out for its yearlong control, you might want to revise your expectations.