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Fire Ants....ouch!

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#1 Michael Rapp

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 11:20 AM

So the evenings down here along the Texas Gulf Coast are starting to turn from miserable to not-to-bad.

The seeing was forecast to be quite good, so I took my C102 out to do some relaxing lunar observing. It's bright, detailed, and doesn't require star hopping. :)

Well, as I gazed at Ptolemaeus trying to pick up some small craterlets I felt a sharp pinch on my foot. I thought it was a mosquito, but as I brushed it off, I realized it was an ant. Okay, that happens as I'm set up in grass.

Then I feel several sharp and painful pinches and in the dwindling twilight realize that I have ants all over my feet and my pants legs!

I quickly got out of that situation as you can imagine! About 30 minutes later I went back out and moved the scope to a position about five feet away. I switched my eyepiece to my 7.4 mm Plossl and the seeing was just barely shimmering at 135x and -- OUCH....the ants have returned, and are all over my feet!

At this point I realize they must be all over my yard. Curiously, I see no evidence that I've stepped into an ant hill. I guess the recent rains have caused them all to surface. And I just applied ant-killer to my entire lawn about a month ago.

Looks like I need to do it again.... :(

#2 WStewart

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 01:40 PM

Hate 'em. I'm usually pretty good about scouting my observing area out before dark, but several years ago I was out observing and did the dumbest thing one can do...I put a can of Coke on the ground (after dark) for a few minutes. Something told me to shine a light on it before I picked it up, and when I did, I saw that it was covered with fire ants. They were all over the place even after I (carefully) got rid of the can. I won't make that mistake again.

#3 Kraus

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 02:36 PM


So Wesley, you don't like ants with your coke. I'm partial to rum with mine.

#4 GeneT

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 05:31 PM

I live in San Antonio. We have had fire ants since moving here in 1993. I recommend walking around your yard looking for mounds any time you will be doing something outside. The mounds surface especially after a rain. They also like electrical equipment. We have the green box in our yard. About two months ago, I looked around it and found a nest there. Fire ants also raise havoc with pets and children. I have found Amdro to be the best treatment. I sprinkle it heavily on any mounds, or where there is evidence of the ants.

There are yard treatments that are supposed to protect for several months. I find that they work some. But, I always have a lot of Amdro around to treat the mounds. Fire ants can be toxic to some, just like bees. They should not be taken for granted.

Lastly, I recommend spraying bug killer around your foundation and at the floor of all door openings. You want to keep fire ants out of your house.

#5 Rick M.

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 06:23 PM

My understanding is that the nasty little critters have reached Nova Scotia. So much for the theory that they wouldn't be able to withstand a real winter.

#6 Seldom

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 06:34 PM

Would somebody be kind enough to post a photo of a fire ant mound? I see lots of anthills around here, some as high as a foot. But I haven't gone out of my way to tick them off.

#7 Stargaz18

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 10:13 PM

I don't have a pic of a mound but I can tell you one thing, if you disturb a fire ant mound even very very slightly, hundreds will swarm out to defend it. Then just let one crawl on you and you'll find out for sure.

#8 REC

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:12 AM

Nasty little buggers and the bites lasts for weeks!

#9 vahe

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:18 AM

Here in Houston fresh mounds are formed after very heavy rains, I have tried different methods of controlling these ants, one of the methods that seems to work well is pouring boiling water right on the mound.
It has been relatively dry summer here so not many fire ant colonies to deal with.

Vahe

#10 David Pavlich

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:21 AM

Would somebody be kind enough to post a photo of a fire ant mound? I see lots of anthills around here, some as high as a foot. But I haven't gone out of my way to tick them off.


Here ya' go! We have our yard treated for weeds and insects, including the lovely fire ant. Nasty critters, these.

David

#11 CharlesW

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 09:05 AM

Not to long ago I read about a new species of ant that is invading Texas called the Crazy ant. People that get these in there yards wish they had their fire ants back.
We pay Orkin $70 every other month to come out and take care of our bugs. Something you might consider.

#12 Seldom

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 09:22 AM

Would somebody be kind enough to post a photo of a fire ant mound? I see lots of anthills around here, some as high as a foot. But I haven't gone out of my way to tick them off.


Here ya' go! We have our yard treated for weeds and insects, including the lovely fire ant. Nasty critters, these.

David


Thanks, guess I coulda done that. :rainbow: Not my ants though. :jump:

#13 Gil V

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:58 AM

I would lose my mind if I discovered ants all over me while observing...

#14 Michael Rapp

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:41 AM

I would lose my mind if I discovered ants all over me while observing...


I am only thankful I wasn't holding a 31 mm Nagler or what not. :lol:

After the episode, I couldn't help but be reminded of the story story Leiningen verses the Ants by Carl Stephenson. It is a common stable of middle school reading curriculums in the United States.

You may have read it....plantation owner is besieged by an army of ants that devours anything in its path. Although this time, it is my telescope and view of the Moon that is at stake! :bawling:

#15 Geo31

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:01 PM

Carburetor cleaner. My preference is Berryman's. It's like napalm for bug. The little buggers squirm for a few seconds and then stop forever. I attach the straw and it spays down deep into the colony. Boom! One less fire ant colony.

#16 Retsub

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:53 PM

DIY buy using a Ortho hand crank spreader. Get a bag of granules of whatever name that has Bifinthrin (sp?) in it. Spread a heavy band around your house, then a normal application in the yard. Water it in, unless the hurricane brings rain to you. Then every month spread a lighter application everywhere and you won't have any more problems. Listern to Randy Lemon Garden Line on radio too. *BW*

#17 Taylor

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 01:01 AM

Permethrin is rated to kill ants.
I use it for mosquitoes and chiggers here in Tulsa. Kills everything.
I think you need to up the concentration for ants though. 1% wipes out biting/flying insects in my yard.
I bought a bottle of 37%, so you can make whatever concentration you need.

#18 Unknownastron

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 03:58 AM

Use a wide range insecticide your county agent recommends, many home remedies merely make the ants move a few feet and become annoyed.
Mike

#19 Rick M.

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:29 PM

I would lose my mind if I discovered ants all over me while observing...


I am only thankful I wasn't holding a 31 mm Nagler or what not. :lol:

After the episode, I couldn't help but be reminded of the story story Leiningen verses the Ants by Carl Stephenson. It is a common stable of middle school reading curriculums in the United States.

You may have read it....plantation owner is besieged by an army of ants that devours anything in its path. Although this time, it is my telescope and view of the Moon that is at stake! :bawling:


That story was in the curriculum in Canada too in my school days.

#20 tigerroach

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 09:34 AM

They are evil!

Amdro works well to kill a mound, but you have to stay vigilant because new ones keep showing up.

When we had our porch and driveway repoured, I had them make me a pad in the back yard for my scope. That helps with the ants, and also my scope and I don't sink into the turf when the weather has been wet. :)

#21 csrlice12

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 10:30 AM

....and now a discussion about sink holes.......

#22 Geo31

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:39 PM

....and now a discussion about sink holes.......


That would be in the equipment section, right? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ ;)

#23 hottr6

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 04:24 PM

I have found Amdro to be the best treatment. I sprinkle it heavily on any mounds, or where there is evidence of the ants.

+1 on Amdro. There are a lot of ant treatments, but most work only with "sweet" ants. Fire ants are not "sweet" ants. Amdro has been especially formulated for fire ants, is fast working and very, very effective.

I don't feel bad killing individual insects, but deliberately killing a whole city makes me really sad. I had an Ant Farm when I was a kid and developed a very healthy respect for these wonderfully industrious creatures. Nevertheless, I have other animals on our property that I am sworn to protect.

#24 rookie

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:12 PM

Fire ants are not really ants, they are wingless wasps. They have been studied because they can stealthily cover an animal and then all bite at the same time. The mystery is how they are able to communicate with each other. They kill cattle. I've had to become educated about them because my son nearly died from several bites when he was 4 years old and I've been giving him monthly allergy shots since that time. The serum also protects him from wasp stings.

I regularly check the our property to the perimeter and put bait down. I use Amdro or similar specific to fire ants. I used to have a constant problem, but it has gradually declined over the years. Since his problem is a severe allergy, I also keep topical benadryl gel in the house. I needed it for him just last week.

#25 csa/montana

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 09:01 AM

Fire ants are not really ants, they are wingless wasps.



Wow! no wonder they are so feared! Thanks for this information. I'm very thankful that there are none in my area!






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