Maybe you can find the queen in all that mess …

Maybe you can find the queen in all that mess and, well. I don't wanna say squish but needs does as the devil drives and all that.

The wonderful and magical thing about Solenopsis invicta, the Red Imported Fire Ants, is they come in two different flavors: single queen colonies, and multiple queen colonies.

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension puts it pretty well [link to their Fire Ant FAQ]:

Multiple queen (polygyne form): more than one and up to hundreds of unrelated queens per colony; smaller average worker ants; worker ants move freely from one mound to another and share resources; mound densities greater than 300 mound per acre; more ants per acre.

GUESS WHICH FORM MY NEIGHBORHOOD HAS?!

Every time I post anything about fire ants, I get all sorts of suggestions for how to deal with them from people who do not live on former farmland in Texas. Folks, my entire yard is fire ants. If I dig a random hole anywhere in my yard, I will hit a fire ant nest. My entire neighborhood is like this, I asked my neighbors

I will say, by establishing a healthy ecosystem in my yard (and by NOT WATERING A LAWN), the fire ants actually have to compete with some of the native ants, and they have been driven out of some areas by native species, so my fire ant problem is not nearly as bad as it was a few years ago.

Also, the ants in the photos I posted are safely tucked away in the freezer. It’s the only way to safely get them out of the hand vac. I guess I may as well put the pupae in alcohol. Fire ants are one of the few bugs I do not feel bad about killing (well… maybe a little, but I still have scars on my hand from the Cat Food Incident three years ago, the first time they invaded my house, so… I said this was war).

June 29, 2019