Fire ants may be beneficial to your yard but what happens when you get bit by one. One word comes to mind. Painful!

Fire ants can help your lawn and garden by aerating the soil and keeping other insects away including insects that can cause damage. Cockroaches, termites, scorpions, and chinch bugs all have the ability to create damage to plants and leaves. Fire ants feed on these insects as well as decomposing carcasses.

A sure-fire way to tell if you have fire ants is the type of mounds popping up throughout the yard. As fire ants’ tunnel and create their nest, they push soil to the surface. These mounds have no entry point and are more noticeable after a good rain. Even though there’s no entry point, it doesn’t mean fire ants aren’t in the mound. Worker ants are continuously building their colony and moving dirt around. Some mounds can reach over 2-feet in height.

Fire ants enter and exit their nest through access areas away from the mounds. These areas are just a small hole in the ground.

Fire ants are most active when temperatures are between 70-95 degrees during day and evening time hours in spring and fall.

Fire ants are an aggressive ant and, when disturbed, will attack. A fire ant bite can be quite painful and, in some cases, cause an allergic reaction. Fire ants inject a venom when they bite. The site of the bite will become red and a rash may become present. Increased itching may occur for several days. Over the counter medication can be taken and ointments can be applied, if necessary. Always follow product instructions or consult a physician if symptoms worsen.

Safe Earth Pest Control has a granular treatment that is applied to the lawn that targets fire ants and their queen. This application requires watering the product into the soil. It is recommended watering 1 hour after initial treatment. After 12 hours, it runs the risk of granules blowing away from application site and weakening the effectiveness in that area.