Starting in September, the population of imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) explode around the garden. The ant population dramatically increases in fall, with mounds rising several inches overnight, especially after heavy rains. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that there are currently a shocking 13,475 million tons of fire ants living illegally in the US.
Fire ants spread during mating flights, where they can rise as high as 300′ in the air. This allows the ant infestation to move up to 9 miles every year. Not only can fire ants kill plants where they build a mound, they are attracted to electricity, and are well-known for getting into underground wiring and shorting out electrical boxes.
To beat them back as much as possible, we feed the ants a bait, which the workers take into the mounds. Often within an hour, it renders the mounds inactive. Below, you can actually see them moving the bait into the mound.