Talkin' Turf with Travis

Here are landscaping tips from Travis E. Sales, the City’s Manager of Park Services and Municipal Arborist. If you have questions or concerns about your landscape, please feel free to email Travis.

Red Imported Fire Ant

The red imported fire ant is an insect we love to hate and for good reason. First, they have a very painful sting that can be serious to infants and the elderly. Second, they build unsightly mounds when it is cold or after rain. This occurs because they are cleaning out their underground tunnel network after a rain and regulating temperature by bringing the colony above ground on cool days.

We will probably never eradicate the red imported fire ant, but we can keep populations under control with concerted efforts. The best control method is called the Texas Two Step. Step one is to apply baits in the spring and fall each year. Baits contain insect growth regulators that reduce the amount of viable eggs, reducing the ant population over time. Step two is to individually treat mounds as they appear by drenching the mounds with an insecticide with at least a gallon of water to deeply penetrates the colony.

Remember to use all pesticides responsibly and thoroughly read the label, or contact a Certified Applicator licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture.