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Helpful Articles

New Blogspot from Mary Lee Taft, Fire Ant Control Team, Elizabeth City, NC:



Fire Ant Information for Queenswood

See "Photo Album" on this website for more pictures of fire ant mounds and what to look for..

Red Imported Fire Ant in NC - NC Cooperative Extension web pages about integrated pest management methods.  This link has everything you need to know about fire ants and more...please treat your yard or if you need assistance, give Tom a call.


South American Imported Fire Ants make mounds started by queens which
fly to the site then lose their wings. The mounds they make are the
color of the soil they are made in. They have a granular appearance.
They may have no holes or several or many holes. They never have one
hole in the center of the mound the way many native ant mounds do.

If you stand around outdoors, be careful to look down at your feet
before you stop for long !
Fire Ants are spreading here faster than public awareness.

By the way, check your Fire Ant pesticide labels, many dry baits
such as Amdro baits, go bad in 3-5 months

If you're investing in baits for Fire Ants, use them up within 3-5
months after you open them.  Sealed unopened bags may last longer
because they are vacuum sealed.  But use up open bait by winter, and buy
extra before then to store for any emergency needs in late winter and
early spring.  The stores may not have what you want in stock until May
and you don't want to be caught without means to attack Fire Ant
colonies promptly when they are detected feeding above ground during
warm spells in winter months.


In the AFTERNOON on DRY DAYS (from 4 PM to dusk) to avoid rain, dew and
grazing birds as much as possible:

1) Mark each mound with several spots AROUND the mound with tablespoons
of white hydrated lime.  This shows the mound has been detected and you
have treated it.  This costs 2 cents per mound.  Prepare your mound
marker lime in a small light-weight container with a pre-labeled plastic
spoon or scoop to make spotting mounds convenient and quick.

2) After marking a mound, give it a LIGHT SCRATCH test four inches from
one edge.   If no ants appear in 3 seconds, do the scratch again in a
new location.  Do this several times to assess if the mound is empty.  
You don't want to waste treatments on empty mounds.  If the mound is
empty (or dead) mark it further with one to several spots of lime ON TOP
OF THE MOUND.  This will cost 2 cents.  You may then tell dead and empty
mounds at a glance, even from a distance.

3) If a marked mound is scratched lightly at the edge AND ANTS ERUPT,
treat the mound immediately.  If you are applying a contact chemical,
proceed as the label directions instruct.   If you are using a bait,
sprinkle less than a teaspoon on the emerging ants at the mounds edge,
then sprinkle the label prescribed amount of bait for one mound in a
circle around the mound about one foot outside the edge of the mound. 
Remember, this mound has been previously marked with spots of  finely
ground white lime which will remain visible for some days after the
mound treatment.  This will enable you to find the mound again and check
whether or not your mound treatment was fully effective.

Mound treatments should cost you from 20 cents to 90 cents apiece
depending on the labeled product you use.   Unlabeled home remedies such
as gasoline, kerosene, bleach, ammonia etc. will often cost 1 to 2
DOLLARS per treatment and lead to unnecessary long lasting pollution.  
These and other more benign home remedies such as oatmeal, grits, sodas,
etc. will not often be very effective.

To eliminate a mound you must kill ALL THE QUEENS which may lay 800-1600
eggs a day for up to seven years in a normal queen life-time.  If you do
not kill the queen or queens, the mound will quickly regenerate nearby
and your time, effort, and money will have been wasted!

4) Recheck treated mounds in 72 hours (three days) and perform the LIGHT
SCRATCH TEST again.  If the mound is dead or dying out, MARK THE TOP
WITH LIME and move on to other mounds.   If the mound is still alive or
has moved nearby with many strong active ants erupting from it after the
LIGHT SCRATCH TEST,  then reapply a mound treatment to finish totally
killing off the entire ant colony.

5) Areas heavily filled with many fire ant mounds may have to be treated
with broadcast treatments of pesticides labeled for the purpose in order
to regain control over that area.  Call your County Extension Center of
the Cooperative Extension Service, frequently listed in the phone
directory under your County Government listings for further recommendations.

6) Cold weather will lessen the need to check your property every day or
every other day for new Fire Ant mounds.  However you should remain
vigilant about noticing any new mounds on your property and be prepared
to mark them with lime and then treat them promptly as they are detected.

Tom M. Campbell, Extension Agent, Agriculture
E-Mail : thomas_campbell@ncsu.edu
Internet: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/pasquotank/staff/tcampbel
Phone : 252-338-3954 Fax: 252-338-6442
Post Office Box 1608, 1209 McPherson Street
Elizabeth City, NC 27906-1608 




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