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Sep 6, 2021 11:58 AM CST
Name: Linda Williams
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Bookworm Enjoys or suffers hot summers Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs
Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder
I've been having a lot of trouble with fire ants the last month or so. Now, normally I didn't have any noticeable fire ant problems...not for a long time, anyway. Maybe it has been the unusual rainfall for a couple of months and that just got them going again. I'm trying to avoid walking one side of my property much, because it's hard to see them with all the plant growth there. But today I got bitten in my new flowerbed and I believe it was fire ants. Lordy, I hope it wasn't.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
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Sep 6, 2021 1:44 PM CST
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Birds Bluebonnets Butterflies Hummingbirder Irises Lilies
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Texas Deer
This is the first year in 6 at this house in Temple we HAVE NOT been troubled with fire ants in both our front and side yards. I was just commenting to my husband on that fact a couple days ago and wondered if the horrific freeze didn't kill them off. I react soooooooo badly to all insect stings, too, I'm very aware of their presence or lack therof.

There are so many ant hills and fire ants down at our 42 acre cabin rural property in Gause (near Bryan/CS) we don't bother to treat anything there but the largest of ant mounds. I was hoping any moles liked ants, but apparently not. Smiling

I spread diatomaceous earth heavily in the fenced yard area around the cabin our first year to own the place and onto the biggest of the mounds we could find, but it didn't make a dent in them. Sticker burs are almost as bad there. Now, I just make sure I wear my rubber boots at all times in that yard to fend off both problems.
My low-carb recipe website: https://buttoni.wordpress.com
Last edited by Peggy8b Sep 7, 2021 1:27 PM Icon for preview
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Sep 7, 2021 3:36 AM CST
Name: Linda Williams
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Bookworm Enjoys or suffers hot summers Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs
Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder
I don't know what made it get this bad here, because we got pretty darn cold in that deep freeze last winter also. The unusual rain earlier in the year is all I can think of to explain it. We are usually a bit on the dry side...and with very little topsoil in our hilly caliche and limestone soil, it's not ideal for some insects like that. Wow, rubber boots...maybe I'll get some! If we have another single digit winter storm with a grid failure again, might need those anyway! I try to remove any sticker plants that show up, but we don't have many.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
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Sep 10, 2021 3:10 PM CST
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Container Gardener Region: Texas Winter Sowing Herbs Moon Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Heirlooms Vegetable Grower Bookworm
Fire ants go deep as 80 ft underground. If they are boiling up now, they are coming after water. Hard cold doesn't kill any but the surface ants, but they can tell it is coming and head deeper into the earth.
Are you watering those flowerbeds? Thats why they are there. Rubber boots might delay them biting you until they find their way into the boot. I hear Lake Livingston is so low on all water they shut the gates and aren't letting any water out. Calif is desperately low on water also, sigh.
So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
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Oct 7, 2021 5:35 AM CST
Name: Linda Williams
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Bookworm Enjoys or suffers hot summers Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs
Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder
Almost all of the fire ants are in the unwatered parts of the property. But if I don't do something, they might be everywhere soon.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
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Oct 7, 2021 12:17 PM CST
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Birds Bluebonnets Butterflies Hummingbirder Irises Lilies
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Texas Deer
Our property is too large for any scale of watering. I water by hose the trees and shrubs I myself have planted when we go down every couple of weeks and that's it. Mother Nature has to do the rest or it dies. Our soil is pure sand IMHO, and dry as a chip most of the year. Ant hills almost ever 12" on our place, with 5-6 large fire ant mounds on average inside the cabin 1/2 acre inner-fenced yard. We treat those with Amdro or similar paroducts. No way to treat all ant hills there as we have them on such a massive scale. In a nutshell, it's a place on which you don't want to spend much time walking without rubber or snake boots to slow them down a bit. I keep mine at the cabin font door and don't go out without them on anymore. We plan to discuss the problem with the county agent to see if he offers any suggestions, but never catch him IN the office when we stop by on the way to the property. May try the 'appointment' route.
My low-carb recipe website: https://buttoni.wordpress.com
Avatar for lkbonham
Jan 2, 2022 9:22 AM CST
west of Austin, Texas (Zone 8b)
The good news is that there *IS* an effective way to get rid of fire ants.

Per the experts at Texas A&M, the best way to get rid of fire ants is to use Fipronil (trade names: Top Choice, Taurus G, Quali-Pro). It's a once a year application.

We have used it in our small neighborhood west of Austin, where we had a horrid fire ant infestation that was making using our yards pretty much impossible. We got everyone to agree to have it applied to their yards at the same time, as well as applying it to the neighborhood common areas. A few weeks after the first treatment, the ants were gone enough that kids could play in the yards without getting chewed. After a couple of years, we have completely eradicated the fire ants from everyone's yards, and now we just treat every other year. (It's what is used on playgrounds, parks, commercial properties, etc.)

Now the bad news.

This stuff is a restricted use product, available to licensed applicators only — unless you have an exterminator's license, you can't go buy it and do it yourself. And it's not cheap — to treat an acre, you need about 87 pounds of product, which is about $100 (plus paying the applicator to spread it). If you go in with your neighbors and split the cost, it can reduce the price and improve the efficiency, but it's not gonna be like buying a jug of Amdro.

You also don't want to use it in your veg gardens (I use spinosad bait there, and treat the rest of the yard with Fipronil).
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Jan 2, 2022 10:16 AM CST
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Container Gardener Region: Texas Winter Sowing Herbs Moon Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Heirlooms Vegetable Grower Bookworm
Too much water here, but with this freeze, the fire ants will go deeper to avoid ice and rains coming in, so pretty much set to see them retreat right now. I hear the fipronil, but too much watershed where I am.
So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
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