Fire Ant Program

Wood GlenFire Ant Monitoring and Control Program

Invasive non-native fire ants are problematic throughout the southern United States. They hurt when they sting, they can invade electrical equipment causing short circuits and equipment failure, and they impact the native wildlife.  It is estimated that the economic losses in Texas are about $300 million annually.

Wood Glen HOA, working with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, has a community-wide program to suppress fire ant activity in our yards and common areas. Joining in the community wide fire ant baiting effort can help reduce the number of fire ants within the neighborhood as well as increase the number of native ants. By joining together, re-invasion boundaries can be pushed further out causing a longer period of time to elapse before fire ants move back into the area. Studies show that community management can reduce the number of fire ants within the community, reduce the amount of money spent on fire ant management and reduce the amount of chemical placed into the environment.

The community-wide baiting is Step 1 of the Two-Step Method for controlling fire ants.  Step 2 is treatment of any new or remaining individual active mounds.  More information can be found at http://fireant.tamu.edu/controlmethods/twostep/.

Quarterly Monitoring

Approximately every 3 months, Wizzie Brown of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service performs fire ant monitoring. This involves surveying 17 areas throughout the neighborhood (~14 front yards and ~3 common areas) to identify active mounds and check for foraging activity. Foraging activity is determined by leaving bait (hot dog pieces) for a couple of hours and then returning to check for ants.

Spring and Fall Baiting

Front Yards and Common Areas:
Bait is professionally applied to the front yards and common areas. It is helpful to turn off sprinkler systems and park vehicles in the driveway the day the front yards are treated.

Back Yards: Homeowners can apply bait to their back yards for additional control. Wood Glen POA provides bait for backyards at the Backyard Bait Pickup Day each spring and fall. To get bait for your backyard, bring your hand held spreader to the amenity area on the Backyard Bait Pickup Day. Since bait should not be applied within 12 hours of rain, the Backyard Bait Pickup Day will be rescheduled in case of rain in the forecast.


Tips for baiting

  • Make sure bait is fresh.  Fresh bait should have a nutty or corn-like scent. Rancid bait smells sour.
  • Apply bait when ants are foraging. On hot days, fire ants forage for food in the mornings or evenings when temperatures are cooler.  If you’re unsure if fire ants are foraging, place bait beside a mound and check back after 15 minutes to see the bait is being picked up.
  • Broadcasting baits can save time by not having to locate each mound in your yard.
  • Broadcasting will also help get smaller mounds that may not be visible.
  • The bait used in the neighborhood program is applied at a low rate (1.5 pounds per acre) and should be applied using a hand held spreader set on the lowest setting.
  • Bait should NOT get wet (if it does it will not be picked up by the fire ants).  Apply baits when rain is not expected for at least 12 hours.  Turn off sprinkler systems for at least 24 hours. Apply baits after dew has burned off the grass.

 

For any questions please call Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Program Specialist at 512.854.9600.