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Article: Battling the Infamous Imported Fire Ant: FIRE ANTS LOVE CORNMEAL TO DEATH......

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Forum: Article: Battling the Infamous Imported Fire AntReplies: 2, Views: 64
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ranch_garden
Hico, TX

April 17, 2010
4:38 PM

Post #7713553

My husband and I live on 200 acres with cattle, and donkeys. About five years ago, I started a garden about 200 miles south of here only to have the fire ants feast upon our cantaloupe and tomatoes. Even though we moved 200 miles north, we still have fire ant infestations. In one of our fields, we noticed hundreds of ant mounds forming after a rain earlier this year. I asked our local pest control representative what we could do to get rid of such a huge area of fire ant mounds, yet do so economically. He told us that he uses ordinary cornmeal on his fire ant mounds. According to P.C., he gives the ant mound a kick with his shoe, and shakes a 1/2 cup or more of ordinary cornmeal, depending on the size of the mound, and that's it. P.C. says that the worker ants will take the cornmeal to the Queen Ant; then the worker ants will eat cornmeal. When the ants drink water, the cornmeal swells and kills the ants. If not enough cornmeal is sprinkled for the whole colony, P.C. says that fire ants are naturally cannibals and will eat the dead ants, drink water and will also swell and die. I'm not from Missouri, but this I had to see before I believed it would work.

The next day, my husband and I were putting out hay for the cattle, when I saw a large fire ant mound that measured about 1 ft x 1 ft. in size. I went back to the house, got a bag of cornmeal, returned to the mound and gave it a kick, which stirred the fire ants into a frenzy. I then sprinkled about a cup of cornmeal on the mound. A couple days later, we were again putting out hay. I checked on the fire ant mound, gave it kick, but not one fire ant stirred. In fact, I could only see several tiny tunnels that had been used by the ants. I was amazed that the cornmeal had killed the entire mound. Even more exciting, there was no concern that cattle, baby calves, or pets would be poisoned from this natural product. I have since used the cornmeal on numerous other mounds with the same results. Don't be stingy with the cornmeal. I had to go back to 3 or 4 small mounds and give them a second helping. We have had so much rain in our part of Texas this year, that we are waiting for the field to dry enough that we can use our ATV to go from mound to mound. Also, I need a lot more cornmeal to take care of the 40 acres where fire ants have taken over. Another hint...P. C. told me that we can also buy a commercial grade of cornmeal from a feed store cheaper than buying cornmeal at the grocery store. Also, P. C. said that we can use grits, but unless the grits are "out-of-date", the cornmeal would be cheaper.

We have grandchildren that love to play in the yard, so that's another incentive to rid our yards of fire ants with a non-toxic product. I've been so excited about P. C.'s "cornmeal" remedy that I have to restrain myself from telling shoppers about cornmeal when I'm in stores where the toxic powders are sold at exorbitant prices compared to the price of cornmeal. I've sent this story via emails to all my friends in hopes that they will share this information with their friends, etc. Personally, I'm on a mission to feed cornmeal to every fire ant mound that I find. One question to those of you who have dealt with fire ants in the southern states, does it just make you madder than a kicked mound of fire ants when you wonder why all those brainy people who are trying to figure out how to eliminate fire ants have only come up with poisonous chemical powders and granules when all it takes is a cup or less of plain ole cornmeal??!! I've spent a lot of money on those toxic chemicals, but no more! Happy gardening everybody!!
TexasTam
Plano, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 19, 2010
8:26 AM

Post #7717931

Glad this method worked for you. I've heard the same theory about using instant grits. It seems to work for some and not for others, not sure why.
CCLLYYDDEE
Lanark Village, FL

March 25, 2013
5:11 PM

Post #9461812

This is my understanding of the methods to control Fire Ants. The only method that works is to follow the directions for the fire ant hormone control. I can't remember its name, but it is not a poison and works only on the queen. She eats the bait and it disrupts her hormonal cycles, stops laying eggs, and stops producing the hormones that keep the colony organized. The queen dies, the workers fall into disarray and the colony dies. The instructions say to carefully sprinkle a small amount on the mound so as not to disturb the guard ants. The workers ants will come out, take the bait into the mound. I've watched this part happen.

If you disturb the mound while baiting it, the mound will be shut down and the ants will move on down the street. Just because a fire ant mound has been deactivated, does not mean that the colony is dead.

The feeding grits and corn theories seem to be a variant of the do not throw rice at a wedding theory, that birds will eat the rice, drink water, and their craws will explode in mid-flight. I have been told a different story about corn meal. Supposedly, it contains the same hormone disrupter as the bait and works that way. But, again, I must emphasize that an inactive mound does not mean a dead colony. If you want to work where a mound is, such as digging up a rose bush, then liberally cover the mound with ice, and wait until the ice melts. It is amazing to see the attack ants biting ice and then freezing to death.

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