I know that many of my readers live outside the southern United States. Most of you reading this do not have first hand experience with fire ants. Consider yourself very, very fortunate.
Like a lot of the pests living down here, the fire ant is not native to the United States. It is generally accepted by scientists that the ant arrived in the 1930's. Cargo ships from South America, using soil as ballast, are believed to have accidentally left colonies of the fire ant off Mobile, Alabama.
The fire ants have spread to nearly all the southern states.
The ants are very aggressive. Whenever their mound is disturbed, they will attack anything with a vengeance. Once bitten, you know immediately why these creatures from Hell are called fire ants.
I recently discovered a bed of fire ants in the front yard. I've had enough experience with the ant to know what will and will not kill them. Not every insecticide going by the name "fire ant killer" is what it is claimed to be. The only commercially available poison that I've had any success with is a product called Orthene. Trust me, it works.
When I found this particular mound, I went to purchase a can of Orthene at Lowe's. I hadn't had reason to buy any in a long time and the price at Lowe's seemed a bit high to me. I decided pick up a can at Walmart instead.
When I got to the garden center at Walmart, I saw that their price was more than a dollar a can higher than Lowe's price. Cheapskate that I am, I decided to buy the Orthene at Lowe's after all. However, it was Sunday and Lowe's had already closed for the evening. I'd just wait. It was only one small mound.
A few days had passed and I had put off going to Lowe's. The mound had gotten bigger after the rains. By now, two smaller mounds had also popped up.
Speedy action was called for. I did the old time, tried and true, environmentally unfriendly method of fire ant control. I poured gasoline on the three mounds.
Now the ants are gone. There are three spots in the yard where the gasoline killed the grass growing around the mounds. I know the green police (who have never been bitten by fire ants) will curse me.....and even pour gasoline on me, if they could.
The spots can be "reclaimed" in time. I can make up for the environmental "damage" I've done and I don't regret my actions one bit.