Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

Fall is a great time to prepare for not only winter but the coming year.

I know that I prefer to do yard work and other preparation activities now that the days are a bit shorter and cooler. And, would you know it, insects do also.

Insects such as fire ants like to prepare for the coming months during the fall due to their love of 70-85-degree days. This is a great time to control fire ants due to the small colony size and the majority of the colony being close to the surface in our yards.

Fall is when the queen is the closest to the surface and thus the time when she can be quickly killed by a granular insecticide. The worker ants are trying to prepare for winter and carry a larger amount of food, or in this case the insecticide, back to the queen.

If the insecticide does not take care of the problem, or if the colony is too large, use Diazinon, Malathion or Sevin on the entire colony. These chemicals can be mixed in a bucket with water, but care should be taken to label the bucket so that it is not used for anything else.

One or two gallons of the mixture can be used according to the directions and should take care of the problem on larger colonies. If the colony persists, another treatment of the chemical can be given in a few days.

Make sure and treat with granular insecticides again in the spring or a reemergence of fire ants can come back larger, stronger and more persistent than before.

If you have any questions regarding fire ant management, you are welcome to contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email

Information for this article comes from Center for Urban Agriculture, Fire Ants Are Preparing for the Winter, UGA Faculty Member: Willie Chance.

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

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