When you think of Houston, what does your mind jump to? Sports fans might think of the recent Astros scandal or the generosity of football star JJ Watt. If you’ve got an affinity for science, you might think of NASA and “Houston, we have a problem.” If you think about the weather, you’ll probably just think hot, hot, hot, which might be why fire ants seem to love Houston properties as much as anywhere else in the world. But fire ants are more than just a nuisance; they’re a health risk to all children and most adults. So Houston, we really do have a problem. But the more you know about fire ants, the more you’ll be able to find a solution.
The Dangers of Fire Ants
You’ll see them as you walk down the sidewalk or sit down for a picnic. You’ll see them in your backyard too. These red imported fire ants, or RIFA, are the most common fire ants in Houston. They feature dark red or brown bodies, medium-sized when compared to most ants. Their mounds might not be anything crazy, typically less than 18” end to end, but nothing makes your skin crawl like stepping near one. Why is the sight of the thousand-ant frenzy so unnerving? It’s because everyone knows what that sting feels like. When there are 50 fire ants on your shoe, you know it’s only a matter of time before a few get above your sock and start biting you.
Along with that painful bite, however, fire ant stings can be very detrimental to your health. If you have allergies, for instance, fire ant stings can even be fatal. Even if you are not allergic, fire ant venom can induce shock, difficulty breathing, and skin irritation with the potential for long-term damage. Children and pets, because of their size, are also very susceptible to detrimental side-effects due to fire ant stings.
An Underground Stronghold
Along with health risks, RIFA colonies are a pain because of how difficult they can be to get rid of. If there are mounds around your property, it signifies a large network of tunnels underneath. The queen lives in these tunnels, along with most of the worker ants. And if your eradication methods can’t reach the inner-chambers of the tunnels, RIFAs will simply disperse to new parts of the soil and recolonize when their mounds are disturbed.
The Internet will tell you that water, dish soap, white vinegar, or peppermint poured into the mounds will do the trick. However, even these methods don’t reach the tunnels effectively. They may wipe out the mound, but the ants will escape and create more mounds through their elaborate underground network.
So what can you do? Should you just allow fire ants to ruin your backyard fun? Playing pickup wiffleball shouldn’t involve watching where you step on your way to first base. And if you want to walk barefoot in the yard, you should have that option. With the pain and health risks that come with fire ant attacks, however, there’s only one option for proven eradication and prevention methods.
The best way to handle a fire ant infestation is with professional assistance: TNT Home & Commercial Services. The expert pest technicians at TNT know their way around fire ant prevention, and they know how to work within your budget as well. You work too hard on your yard to not be able to enjoy it without worrying about fire ants. For the services you need at the prices you want, call TNT Home & Commercial Services to take back your yard today.