Well, March is here. We made it through the “bitter” cold months. (No wonder Texas is growing… people are tired of snow and driving on ice… but they sure don’t like our bugs and hot summers!) Speaking of growth… Montgomery County is exploding with new homes, subdivisions and businesses… just drive around the county and you will see what I am talking about.

As you are well aware of, this past “winter” was of no help in decreasing the insect population. In fact, if it were not for all the rain, I would venture to say that most pest control companies were extremely busy and are still playing catch up. If you are still playing catch up trying to complete those exterior exclusion projects… you need to hurry up, because our unwanted insect friends are fixing to be knocking on the doors.

One insect you will begin to notice, as the rains progress, is the Fire Ant. As the water table in the ground rises, so does the fire ant mound. These unsightly mounds in our lawns, and especially next to our homes and offices, can be a real sore subject. Not only does the Fire Ant sting (and it hurts) it can also kill our vegetation, short out electrical connections and harm our pets. Control of Fire Ants can be a daily, weekly, monthly or once a year application… just depends on your approach, the product and how much time you desire to spend chasing them around your lawn. Most DIY’ers (Do-it-Yourselfers) go out and buy a canister of Amdro, come home and “pour” it all over the mound. Only the store and Amdro appreciate that application, cause next week that mound will be moved over about 10 feet from where you just treated. Amdro was not the problem. The problem was utilizing the concept my dad created… “if a little bit will solve the problem, then a hole lot will kill’em faster and longer.” (Sorry dad, but that’s not right and in fact it’s worse) (Well there goes my next Christmas, anyone looking for a “slightly used” son? I can hang lights, if they are not too high.) All that has been accomplished by utilizing this approach is putting more money in the stores pocket, moved the mound with minimal kill and, quite frankly, broke the law by over applying the product, per the label.

So, Cary, now that you told me I have been spending more than should, breaking the law, not solving my ant problem and, quite frankly, will probably not be purchasing any Christmas presents for you either, just what approach do you recommend? My first suggestion is get on the internet and search “fire ant control in Texas” or call us to come solve the problem. The reason I mention the internet is because new research is continually being completed on new products and techniques. Some of you may want organic methods, some may want chemical methods and some of you don’t care what method just as long as it works. Several years ago “The Texas Two Step” method was created, and still works fine, and is a method comprised of treating the entire area and then treating the mound(s), paying attention to the product label, specifically to the application rates and reapplication time frames. Very few, if any, over-the-counter products will be effective for controlling ants on a one time per year application. The products are fine; they just have to be reapplied at timely intervals. (Read the Label)

Pest Control and Lawn Fertilization companies have access to a granular product called Top Choice. This product can be applied one time per year, to a defined area, and will control fire ants for that twelve-month period. Top Choice is slow to take effect, but when it does, the fire ants are gone. Generally, we will apply the Top Choice and then spot treat each active mound to expedite the control process. Should you desire to pursue this product application, get started now so that the control features will be at its highest when the activity really begins in April/May.

Prepare now so that you can enjoy your lawn in the Spring. Should you have any questions that I can assist you with in regards to insect control, please email me at chasepestcontrol@consolidated.net or give me call at 936-441-2847.

Until the next issue in April, enjoy the weather and your time spent outdoors.