Protecting Your Family and Pets From Fire Ants

Ants are found just about everywhere on earth, and one of the most dangerous types is fire ants. In many places a careless encounter can be fatal, and homeowners should never attempt to control them.

The red fire ant is a small brown pest that can be difficult to distinguish from their other cousins, that is, unless you are stung. Fire ants are named because of their painful sting. Some use their stingers in defense of the nest and others use them to subdue their prey.

Is there a Benefit to Ants?

Fire ants are very effective predators; in fact, when eliminated from farms, farmers usually notice an increase in other crop pests. The nuisance is high but when weighted against other issues, many people find them a benefit.

Fire ants prey on cockroaches, larvae of flies and other pests. Today, German law even protects red ants so that they can defend the nation's forests. One of the ants' greatest benefits to us is their fondness for mosquito eggs; some species of these eggs can stay in dry spots for years until it comes time for them to hatch, but the foraging ants prevent and control this.

Red ants also act as good insurance against termites, since they will attack the queen termite and search for their nesting site. As much as the red ant is a nuisance, they probably prevent a lot of termite damage to homes.

Getting Red Ants Out

Have you ever set off a bug bomb at home only to feel sick for days after? Or panicked after the cat and dog became violently ill from the insecticides? About 1% of insects respond to store-bought pesticides.

Modern pesticides typically used by many homeowners often have unpleasant side effects that are initially dismissed. Many chemicals simply do not solve your problem, it just makes them worse. If your anti-pest strategies are not working, and small freeloaders are finding ways into your home it's best to call professional help. The biggest problems with DIY pest control are:

* They're a crap shoot - they might work and might not, only you won't really know how effective the over-the-counter solution worked because pests lay in wait.

* Homeowners do not effectively inspect the home. In order to wipe out fire ants, you must know where to look and what to look for.

* Homeowners don't have the commercial tools to perform the job effectively.

Never Flood Their Nest

Time and time again we see homeowners flood the red ants nest mistakenly believing this will rid them of the pests. Ants are most apt to invade a home after their nest has been flooded. It really doesn't matter if heavy rains and downpours or everyday garden watering causes the deluge. A simple crack in the foundation, or a small crevice under the door will invite red ants into your home. If red ants have made their way onto your property and into your home, it's time to call a professional exterminator such as a Houston pest control expert for help before the situation worsens.

Frank Merryman owns a family-run pest control business which has been operating for over 30 years. He enjoys writing on the subject of pests for home and family blogs.


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