EUROPEAN FIRE ANTS : What's all the Fuss? New Info

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 01:39 -- Admin
News

The most probable pathway of introduction is through the movement and distribution of infested horticulture material, including potted plants,  soil and mulch. Example: Gardeners sharing with other gardeners.

Excerpts from European Fire Ants in BC - Please click here to read the full document

Update from VanDusen Botanical Garden : The fire ants have been eliminated from the Meditation Garden at VanDusen. However there has been an explosion of fire ants in the Alma VanDusen area ( closed ) .

2015 update: It has now been suggested by Dr. Higgins that Boric Acid baits may not work due to the fact that there are many Queens in each colony. If one Queen is eradicated the others seem to increase their egg laying.

Why are they a problem?

The behaviour of the European fire ant changes according to the temperature : when it is warm and humid the ants become much more active and are highly prone to swarm and sting. This species of ant forms dense colonies, severely compromising the use of yards, gardens and parks by residents, the public and animals
 
How do they get in my garden?

The most probable pathway of introduction is through the movement and distribution of infested horticulture material, including potted plants,  soil and mulch.
 
Fire ants like:
- moisture and heat
- raised beds
- lawn clutter
- tall grass
 
What Can I Do?

1. Deterrents
Reduce watering and avoid/remove anything from an area that traps heat and moisture
 
2. Stop the Spread

  • Ensure landscaping supplies you bring to your property aren’t infested with ants.
  • Do not move soil, mulch or plants from infested areas. (Example:  Fire Ants have now been found in a Community Garden in Naramatta)
  • Give any new potted plants a sharp knock or bang on the ground and watch for movement of ants. Previously the suggestion was to immerse potted plants in a bucket of water but this does not seem to disturb the ants as much , nor do they drown quickly.

 

3. Baits

  • Baits may provide some control for fire ants. Apple has been used as a trap.
  • -2015 update: It has now been suggested that Boric Acid baits may not work due to the fact that there are many Queens in each colony. If one Queen is eradicated the others seem to increase their egg laying.
  • DO NOT USED BORAX Powder mixed with sugar-- it can be very toxic to small mammals
  • At VanDusen: Two pavers stacked on top of each other are being used to lure the ants to a warm moist environment. Then they are then collected, bagged and frozen.

 
4. Education- read  
this fact sheet from VanDusen Botanical Garden

Go to the BC Ministry Invasives Working Group Website

And Dr. Robert Higgins Website: http://faculty.tru.ca/rhiggins/myrmica_rubra_index.htm

It is important to note that there are many species of ants, including red ones, that are native to our region. Please do not assume that any red ant you see is a European Fire Ant.

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