Sign of Spring – Fire Ant Mounds

A sure sign of spring is the appearance of fire ant mounds. As you’re working in your garden, planting early seedlings, you may notice a mound appearing suddenly in your plot. It will be marked by characteristic granular bits of loose dirt, perhaps lighter in color than the surrounding soil, and pocked by lots of small holes. You’ll see plenty of reddish brown ants, too, if you disturb it. If this occurs in your plot, you need to act promptly to eliminate the nest population for your comfort and safety, as well as that of other gardeners and visitors, since these invasive ants will deliver an uncomfortable sting that can be dangerous for people with heightened sensitivity. The organic treatment I found effective is to pour an entire jug of distilled vinegar (I used a gallon.) on the hill to completely inundate the colony. The idea: to kill the queen. If the roots of a plant are in the immediate area of the mound, you may lose that plant, but no further harm will come of the application. Check the spot a day or so later; if ants still are visible, re-apply. However, with a thorough application, the ants should be gone from your garden. –Carol Hassell