4.9
Larry Dudek

I could not be happier with the ease of setting up my services and the lack of pressure when deciding which services I wanted completed. Communication was great and thorough. On the day of my service, Damon Moore called about 30 minutes prior to arriving to confirm his arrival time. Damon is professional, courteous and thorough with his work. Thanks for a great experience and look forward to your ongoing monitoring of the service.

Arianna Kane

Excellent service!

tien le

The manager Adan and representative Kate are big help to explain and show us what can be done. And where the rodent start

Jackie Lee

Natran is a great green company to use when you don’t want the chemicals of traditional pest control to be in or outside your home. We chose Natran to have peace of mind about our health and the health of our animals. We love them so far!

Jay Smith

Natran professionals are always courteous and thorough. Their products and services are highest quality and environmentally safe but very effective.

Fyza Hashim

I’ve been using natran for a few years now and can’t recommend them enough! Today, our technician, Damon, came by and confirmed that we have termites. He informed us on the signs, gave us a plan of attack, and promised to be with us every step of the way. I have confidence that he and Natran will take care of us and make our home pest free.

Gwendolyn Richard

I love the courteous and professionalism of the technician

Anna I Peña

Termite System Installation - Damon was punctual, polite, friendly, professional, answered all our questions. All in all, we were very pleased. Thank you, Damon.

Natalie Freeman

Juan arrived at our home and was very professional And knowledgable!

Kevin Harris

Damion is the BEST!

C. R. V.

Chris is a great technician. He used to service us when we lived in Houston. It was a pleasant surprise to have him perform our fist in-home service at our new home in Conroe.

George Dragonir

Great Professional Service!

When did fire ants come to Texas?

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Home > Blog >  When did fire ants come to Texas?

Fire ants (also known as Imported Red Fire Ants or IRFA) are known for their reddish color and painful sting.

As a Texas resident, you’ve likely seen them crawling around on the ground. Did you know, though, that fire ants haven’t always been prevalent in the Lonestar State?

Find out when they got here and what you can do if you spot them on your property below.

What Are Fire Ants?

Fire ants have a distinct, dark reddish brown color and range from ⅛-⅜ of an inch long.

They’re most commonly found in the southern United States, including Texas, New Mexico, and parts of California.

Fire ants build large nests (about 2-4 square feet) with flattened, irregular shapes. They typically build nests in the soil near landscaping or structural foundations. They can also sneak into homes and buildings through the AC unit or HVAC system.

These ants often find their way into new places through potted plants, trees, and shrubs. 

Many people assume that fire ants cause damage by biting, but they actually do harm by stinging humans and other creatures that disturb their nets. They latch onto victims for stability, but they then jab their stinger into the flesh and inject a toxin called solenopsin.

Their stings are quite painful and cause a raised welt that turns into a white pustule or blister. Some people with allergies experience more severe reactions.

When Did Fire Ants Come to Texas?

Before there were red imported fire ants, there were black imported fire ants.

They arrived in the United States from South America over 100 years ago, in 1918, likely via soil shipments. A little over a decade later, in the 1930s, the red imported fire ant showed up and quickly spread over 260 million acres in the southern United States. 

About 20 years later, in the 1950s, fire ants made their way to Texas and continued west into New Mexico and California. Because they thrive in hot, humid climates, it makes sense that they would feel comfortable in Texas and other parts of the southern United States.

Today, fire ants can be seen in most parts of Texas, although they’re less common in drier parts of the state. 

The Effect of Fire Ants in Texas

Since their arrival and settlement in Texas, fire ants have caused serious problems for many of the state’s other species.

Like other imported species, fire ants have pushed other creatures (primarily native ant species like carpenter ants and sugar ants) out of their habitats. Their highly aggressive nature has also harmed and even killed many animals, from songbirds to young deer and cattle. 

To make matters worse, fire ants have harmed Texas’s economy. Every year, they cause about $1 billion in damage in Texas (and roughly $6 billion nationwide).

How do ants cause so much damage?

They harm cattle and livestock and damage farmland (especially crops like corn, okra, and soybeans) and golf courses. Their mounds can also damage farming equipment, and they have the potential to cause short circuits in electrical systems, which they tend to be drawn to. 

What to Do if You Spot Fire Ants on Your Property

Most people, unfortunately, only realize they have fire ants on their property when they stumble across a nest (and when this happens, they sometimes end up getting stung before they understand what’s wrong).

If you do see a fire ant nest or fire ants crawling around on the ground, don’t touch them or their nest. Keep kids and pets away from the area as well.

Then, use the preferred two-step elimination method, which involves baiting and mound drenching.

Baiting

Baiting is used to kill the queen fire ant and other ants located deep in the nest. It typically involves using a granular insecticide, insect growth regulator, or both to kill pests and act as birth control for other ants in the colony. 

Some people choose to bait individual mounds as they spot them. Others prefer to broadcast bait across the entire yard in an attempt to combat medium and large infestations more efficiently.

Most people see the best results from baiting fire ants when the ground is dry, no watering is planned, and no rain is expected for at least two days. On hot days, it’s better to wait until the evening when the weather is a bit cooler and the ants are foraging.

Mound Drenching

As the name suggests, mound drenching involves soaking the fire ant nest in insecticide. This method helps to eliminate individual ant colonies quickly.

You can drench mounds using a hand sprayer and liquid insecticide or pour granular insecticide and water on the mound.

When to Call a Professional

In some cases, it’s better to let a professional pest control company handle your property’s fire ant issue. Here are some situations when you should consider calling an expert:

You Have Serious Infestations

If you’ve only spotted one small or medium-sized fire ant mound on your property, you may be able to resolve the problem yourself and get on with your life. When you have several mounds, or if the nats have found their way inside your house, it might be time to get help from a professional.

Pest control technicians can conduct a thorough inspection of your home and property, identifying all the fire ant mounds and figuring out how they’re getting into your home (if applicable). They can also use more aggressive pest control products to get rid of the problem sooner and prevent it from escalating.

You’re Not Comfortable Using Traditional Pesticides

Some people are uncomfortable with a DIY approach to pest control because they’re not comfortable using the harsh echomail found in many traditional pest control products.

If you’re worried about spraying your yard or home with toxic chemicals that could harm your kids or pets, reach out to a pest control team that specifically utilizes natural, eco-friendly products.

There are many all-natural solutions that work just as well as traditional options but won’t harm your family.  

Your DIY Methods Didn’t Work

Maybe your DIY strategy wasn’t effective as you’d hoped (don’t feel bad; it happens to the best of us).

If you tried to handle fire ants on your own but couldn’t eliminate them, reach out to professionals. They can provide solutions customized to your needs and will help you see results sooner.

You Want to Prevent Future Infestations

Pest control companies don’t just react to current pest infestations. They can also help you prevent future ones from occurring. If you schedule recurring pest control treatments, you can prevent fire ants from returning to your property (and keep other pests at bay). 

Preventative treatments give you peace of mind and save you from having to waste time and money on DIY techniques that may or may not work. They also help you catch signs of potential problems sooner since you get regular check-ins from a pest control technician.

How to Treat Fire Ant Stings

If you or a loved one is stung by a fire ant, you should take action right away. Most people do not have severe reactions to fire ant stings, but it’s still important to clean and address the wound.

Take the following steps to minimize the damage and prevent further irritation:

  • Brush the ant or ants off your skin
  • Wash the affected area with cold water and mild soap (don’t scrub too hard)
  • Take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl to reduce itchiness and other reactions
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream to further reduce itchiness and minimize rashes
  • Apply cold compresses to manage pain, itching, and swelling

If the above strategies don’t work or you experience more serious symptoms like anaphylaxis (a severe, whole-body reaction), you may need to see a doctor. They might recommend the following:

  • Oral corticosteroid drugs (like prednisone)
  • Prescription steroid creams/ointments
  • Epinephrine injections
  • IV antihistamines

Some people also require antibiotics if their blisters break and become infected.

Remember to never pop or break blisters on your own. Cover it with a bandage if needed to protect it from popping or tearing.

Free Yourself from Fire Ants with Natran Green Pest Control

Now that you know more about the history of fire ants, the problems they cause, and how you can combat them, you’re better equipped to handle them if they show up and start building nests on your property.

Remember the tips and guidelines discussed above so you can manage the issue, prevent future infestations, and set yourself and your family up for a fire-ant-free future.

If you decide you need professional pest control help (or are interested in preventive treatments), contact us at get in touch with us at Natran Green Pest Control.

We use safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic pest control solutions to get rid of fire ants and other pests without harming you, your children, or your pets. Reach out to learn more or schedule an inspection today!

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Fast, effective results for your pest problems.
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