Fire ants mate when the temperature is between 70 and 95F, usually within 24 hours of rain. The humidity must be high and the wind calm. This can occur any time of year, but peaks in spring and fall months. Winged males and females fly into the air as high as 2,000 ft. After mating the males promptly die having fulfilled their only purpose. The newly mated females can fly as far as 2-3 miles before landing. Once they land, they tear their wings off and search for a suitable nesting site in the soil. Nearly 99.9% of all the females die before they are able to begin a nest because of predation and poor landing sites such as swimming pools and ponds.
This "queen to be" burrows a few inches into the soil and forms a chamber that she seals with a waterproof mixture of soil and saliva. The queen then begins to lay eggs. Using the energy reserves from her wing muscles, she rears a few young to adulthood. This takes about 45 days or less depending upon the temperature.
The new workers break out of the chamber and begin foraging for food. They care for the queen and the young. From this point on the queen does only one thing - lay eggs to the tune of 100,000 - 300,000 per year. She may live for 6-7 years.
Although fire ants are voracious predators, they do not eat solid foods. They place solids on the "lip" of the late stage larvae. The larvae secrete digestive enzymes into this "lip" and convert the solids to a liquid. All other ants feed through a process called trophallaxis where they pass this liquid food from ant to ant. This gives the colony built in "food tasters". If an ant in the colony becomes sick due to bad food (or bait), the queen is not fed from that food source. She can always make more workers and the colony continues as long as she lives.
Fire ants forage when the surface soil temperature is between 70 and 95F. In the summer months, this is primarily at night. They may travel up to 100 yards from their mound in search of food. Bait strategies rely heavily on this behavior and allow us to treat away from sensitive areas while reducing the risk of pesticide contamination.
Fire ants can be both dangerous and difficult to tackle on your own. Treatment strategies involve combinations of mound treatments and broadcast treatments using insecticides and / or bait applications. Success relies heavily on making the correct application at the right time. It requires an Expert to rid your home and yard from fire ants.
Expert Pest Control uses proven fire ant control to protect your family and your yard. Our services take into consideration individual characteristics of your yard to get rid of active infestations and prevent future infestations. If fire ants return, we will return at no additional cost to you.