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Article: Battling the Infamous Imported Fire Ant: Clorox on the stings!

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Forum: Article: Battling the Infamous Imported Fire AntReplies: 16, Views: 170
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SCNewbie
Anderson, SC
(Zone 7b)

April 12, 2008
5:16 AM

Post #4796123

I got this tip from a cousin right after I moved to SC. Take a tissue, cotton ball, or something similar and wet it with Clorox, then wipe your sting. In my case, it got rid of the stinging within a minute. :))
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 12, 2008
10:50 AM

Post #4796445

Thanks for the informative article on these little buggers!

OOooohhhh, this article will get response from the south! Who amongst us hasn't been nailed by fireants! It seems like they swarm all over my body. I don't notice it till the leader says 3, 2, 1, BITE! They all seem to sting simultaneously.

SCNewbie ~ a few years back, a friend who works outdoors alot said to put a piece of ice on it for just a minute or so. They started doing that as they had water coolers handy with ice. Said it will quit burning and won't fester later. Now, if I get stung, I head for the frig. For me, it has worked.

tmbolin
crossville, TN
(Zone 7a)

April 12, 2008
12:47 PM

Post #4796687

They are just now starting to show up in my neck of the woods. Dad was just saying the other day that he wondered what it would ttake to kill them. Thanks for the timely info.

This message was edited Apr 12, 2008 7:54 AM
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

April 12, 2008
12:52 PM

Post #4796710

Sigh. Guess the aspartame is not going to work, huh? $.99 down the drain. But, the Spinosad is on order, so there's hope! Thanks for the timely info...
Yuska
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 12, 2008
3:54 PM

Post #4797424

I dispense with the mounds in my yard by pouring a kettle of boiling water into the main entry hole. The results are instantaneous - the ants and mound disappear. For a very large mound a second kettle follows, just to be sure. Last year I had only two mounds all season.
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 12, 2008
5:08 PM

Post #4797809

I, too, use a pot of boiling water with good effect, but like the idea of the biological control. I hope to see more of that kind of thing. If you have a 50 acre pasture, the boiling water would take forever to solve the problem.
I put ammonia on the bites and that seems to help.
Grr, fire ants!

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 12, 2008
6:53 PM

Post #4798127

Yikes, I've never heard of these things before! Where did they come from? (Who would want them?) hiding in New England, Carrie
Yuska
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 12, 2008
7:29 PM

Post #4798258

They came from South America, apparently, and absolutely nobody wants them. They're
sensitive to cold, so you're safe for now, Carrie. They go underground in winter- we have freezes here but rarely is the actual soil affected, at least much below the surface. They seem to be adapting and moving farther north, however. My brother reports that we now have some mounds on our farm in southern Oklahoma (zone 7b).

You're right, of course, pajaritomt, large spaces need special help. And to the extent that we can spare the good critters when we're battling the bad ones we are obligated to do so. How long have you had them in your zone 5a location?

This message was edited Apr 12, 2008 2:34 PM

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 12, 2008
9:16 PM

Post #4798658

But if they're in z. 5a, they may be here any day! Although, there is a lot of z. 7 - 6 to get through before they reach Massachusetts - they'll have to work their way up the East coast. Still, this is alarming news. Unless they climb up the mountains from Albuquerque every summer? xx, Carrie
Yuska
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 12, 2008
9:39 PM

Post #4798745

Juist how far they've spread is possibly a subject for debate, but this Wikipedia article shows one map -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_imported_fire_ant#Spread

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 12, 2008
9:53 PM

Post #4798801

Well, it looks like I had better cancel my plans to move somewhere warmer! (No such plans exist to date.) xx, Carrie
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 13, 2008
12:28 AM

Post #4799452

I don't have fire ants in Zone 5a! In fact, my zone is now 6 -- since they recalculated all the zones in the US. In addition, if you look at that Wikipedia map, they show fire ants extending even north of Los Alamos, but in truth, I have never seen a fire ant in New Mexico. I understand there is one nursery in Southern New Mexico that is infested because they got a load of infested trees from Texas. I am told that they haven't spread beyond that nursery. They certainly aren't north of Albuquerque and I haven't heard of them in Albuquerque, but possibly things have changed.
My experience with fire ants come from growing up in New Orleans, La and in Mississippi. I have a farm in Southern Mississippi, Lumberton, which is zone 8. It has fire ants and I got some painful bites when I was there less than a week ago. I have used the boiling water treatment there -- also the ammonia treatment on the bites. The cortizone, does help the itching but the pain doesn't go away until you get some ammonia into the bite itself. I am healing, but I still have some red places two weeks after the bites. I decided to wear higher socks after I got the bites so I wouldn't get any more, but that made the ones I already had worse. That's when I covered them with ammonia. I could tell the difference immediately.
You'd think after all these years I would learn to watch out for them, but they are pretty hard to see. I was gathering sticks which turned out to be infested, in order to build a small fire.
Anyhow, if you get fire ants, you will catch on right away. They are tiny and red and the description in the article of their bites is 100% accurate.

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 13, 2008
1:43 AM

Post #4799828

I'll bet that wikipedia map doesn't take altitude into consideration at all - but thanks for clarifying!!
holly_grower
Bear, DE

April 14, 2008
4:04 PM

Post #4807161

Thanks for this article. I used to think we were safe from these things - one thing to be thankful for as we shiver through winter! But we had one instance in 2007 in northern Delaware (Zone 7a) of a fire ant colony which apparently came in on container-grown nursery stock from the South. It survived a mild winter and had gotten well-established before it was eliminated. Last winter (2007-2008) was even milder for us, so I'd not be surprised to see a lot more of them in our neck of the woods.
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 14, 2008
4:22 PM

Post #4807241

It appears that they do get transmitted through nursery stock. Hopefully, the nurseries that ship them will be informed that they need to get rid of the ants!
DILLY
Jesup, GA
(Zone 8b)

May 8, 2008
11:13 PM

Post #4925649

I was using Clorox on fire ant bites, and getting bleached spots on my clothes.
Found out the reason it worked is because it is strongly alkaline.
But then so is ammonia. I have been using that for years.
Since it just needs to get to the acidic toxin; no need on the skin at large, I use for an applicator a length of plastic coated clothesline wire (to give wire end a bit of diameter) dipped into and quickly out and onto the bite with a wee scrubbing action.

It works for bee stings too. In the 1950's in Los Angeles I had a ground cover plant (Lippia repens) with little flowers in summer that attracted bees (and little children, who in turn, attracted the bees). I used a dab of Clorox on a long stick Q-tip and kept chldren happy.

Remembered to try that for fire ant bites in Georgia many years later.
SCNewbie
Anderson, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 9, 2008
2:00 AM

Post #4926589

Cool - I'll try the ammonia next time, then. Thanks!

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