Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fire Ant Control - One Man's Methodology

He kills fire ant beds with urine. He pees on them.

This is not white trash entertainment. It's a tested, methodical strategy that he has perfected over years of experimentation, and it works.

Fire ants have plagued the South since they jumped ship in Mobile in the 1930's and started their northward invasion. They bite, and the bites hurt like hell, then itch and fester. Killing fire ants is a serious mission requiring aggressive tactics. Men have tried them all. Pesticides, gasoline, mechanical crushers, exhaust fumes, explosives, electrocution -- it's war.

Urine works. all you need is a flashlight and a full bladder. It's best done at night, he says, so you don't offend the neighbors. The big challenge is not to splash your shoes, but one of the benefits of doing it at night is that the grass is laden with dew, so if you miss, you can just walk through some tallish grass, but be sure to polish your shoes before you wear them again.

It typically takes two applications of urine to kill a fire ant bed. Fire ant beds may be mounded or volcano-like in shape. You want to go for the core. Pee straight down into the highest point and then soak the rest of the bed deeply. You're going for the queen, who is protected at the base of the bed. The peak of the bed is as tall as the queen is deep. So first shoot a straight stream right down the hole at the top. Then you just drench the suckers. On warm days, worker ants bring eggs up near the surface. He calls drenching the whole bed on warm days "fouling the nursery."

Depending on the size of your bladder and urethra, you can make applications to one or more bed with one load. (His personal best -- three.) It takes a lot of control to stop and start and stop, so practice is beneficial. Make sure you get the most mileage out of each load. You might use a full load on a large ant bed, but don't blow your load on starter beds.

Some beds take years to kill. One in his driveway took him five years, but it's gone now. It might crop up again, but he'll be ready for it.

Grass continues to grow as an ant colony builds its bed, so after you kill a mound, the next step is to rescue your lawn. Fire ants secrete a substance that hardens dirt, so rake the mound or it will petrify. Expose the grass and redistribute the dirt.

Fire ants are aggressive and tenacious, and you may have an infestation in some years. Enlist the help of your friends. Recruit a fraternity from a local college. It's worth the cost of a keg.

There is not general agreement concerning the properties of urine that make it poisonous to fire ants. Some suggest it's the proteins and enzymes; others think urine upsets the pH balance of the mound. Although urine has not gained wide acceptance in fire ant control, it works.

He says it's using what God gave you to do what you need to do. And it's damn satisfying. Fire ants are the enemy -- show no mercy. He marks targeted ant beds by stabbing a lit cigarette butt into the peak of the bed. You're next.

1 comment:

  1. I save urine in gallon jugs, and distribute the urine around as well as on top of ant hills.

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