Are They in My Yard?
If you suspect that your yard is infested with Little Fire Ants (LFA), smear chopsticks or pencils with peanut butter and place them in suspected areas. Check the sticks after one hour, drop them into a sealable plastic bag and freeze overnight. Take the specimens to the state department of agriculture, county extension service or department of entomology at a local college for positive identification.
My Neighbors Say That They Have Them
LFAs seldom forage more than 10 feet from their nest, but nests can multiply rapidly so urge your neighbors to control their infestations or soon your yard will become a LFA Shangri-la.
Control of LFA
Map the infestation as if it were an Indiana Jones' dig by placing chopsticks in a grid pattern every 10 feet. Do not spray the ants as this will only kill a small portion of the workers. To date, organic baits and controls like Boric Acid are largely unproven so use commercial ant baits mixed in soybean oil or cornmeal to help their broadcast dispersion. Note that all baits will have at least some effect on other insects. Although research to control the LFA is at a feverish pace, this author knows of no effective biological controls. However, pastes derived from lipids, proteins and carbohydrates have been used in Australia with some success. As always, read labels BEFORE applying any bait products, observe all safety precautions rigorously and contact the manufacturer if you still have questions or concerns.
Little Fire Ants
The LFA as a Featured Creature
Control of the LFA
LFA Threaten Organic Farms in Hawaii