fire ants in raised beds


I love your site! Thanks for all the work you put into it! I have the following pests that I am going to order for…carpenter bees, fleas, red flour beetles, and fire ants. But before I do, I want to ask a question about fire ants in my garden so I don’t end up having to make separate orders. We spent a lot of time and money making raised beds, only find that fire ants LOVE them. Now what? What can I use that won’t result in the uptake of the pesticides/bait by the plants? I live in SC, so it may all be hopeless. Also, just FYI…we have one acre of land. We know we have to get more vigilant about treating the whole acre, but we are already pretty good about it. We just haven’t been treating the raised beds. Since we live in SC, we have great difficulty with insects in our gardens. What are the least toxic sprays you have that we can use? For example, we cannot grow any type of pumpkins, squash, or melons. We get incredible infestations. Organic people tell us to pick the bugs off by hand. We have SO many that I don’t even think we could do it if we wanted to pick them off by hand. We have given up growing those crops. What do you think about using nematodes to keep fleas down, in addition to flea treatment? Will flea treatment kill the nematodes? Nematode producers swear by them. We live in the Sandhills of SC, so we have ideal conditions for breeding fleas and sand fleas. Thanks for your help! D. Boggs

If you review our online articles, you’ll learn that the one common thread for the outside pests like fireants, fleas and other garden insects is to use a combination of granules followed by a liquid spray over the top. And since we have both traditional formulations and the newer organic products, you merely have to choose which of the two types you feel okay using. Remember, since we only list products which work, there is no need to wonder if one is better than the other. As distributors of fine pest control products, we typically don’t stock, sell or “push” products which have a history of not performing. That means if we recommend using it, you’ll be able to proceed with confidence when using what we list.

That being said, it is important to understand that the organic options will typically not last as long as the standard traditional formulations. This means you’ll need to use them more frequently and over the course of any one season, apply more. But they do work well so you can use them with confidence.

So getting back to your outside pests; a combination of lawn granules and spray over the top of the granules will be the best way to keep these outside pests minimized throughout the year. Initially you’ll want to treat monthly but once you find you’ve got control over your target pests, you’ll probably be able to wait 1-2 months in between treatments and still keep things under control. The frequency of treatments will vary from yard to yard and region to region but in general, one can expect 1-2 months of protection in the southeast based on our typical weather patterns. I know this to be true based on first hand experience since we’re here in Georgia, just outside Atlanta and close to S.C.

Now which of the granules and sprays will do the job? Well, first you need to choose if you want something organic or something super strong and more traditional. The organic option would be products using federally exempt actives. And though there are many such products available in the market, the best of the lot is the Essentria line. Specifically, the ESSENTRIA GRANULES and the ESSENTRIA IC.

Essentria Granules:

Essentria IC3:

You’ll need to apply the granules first followed by the liquid applied via a HOSE END SPRAYER. These treatments should be done monthly throughout the active pest season. Here in GA and SC, that would be from March through November most years.

Hose End Sprayer:

Now if you want the “stronger” option, go with the BIFEN GRANULES and the CYONARA RTS. These actives will last longer and once your problems are under control, you should be able to go 1-2 months in between applications.

Bifen Granules:

Cyonara RTS:

Now for the fireant mounds you see at this time, the most effective way to deal with them is to “drench” the visible mounds as explained in our FIREANT CONTROL article. This method is fast and effective. You’ll be using CYPERMETHRIN for this process which is super strong, fast acting and works great on CARPENTER BEES too. So get some of this no matter what since you’ll be using it for the ants and bees.

Fire Ant Article:

Carpenter Bee Control:


Lastly, read our FLEA and RED FLOUR BEETLE articles for info on what you’ll need for use inside the home. Both these articles offer different treatment options and I don’t have enough space in this post to cover them all.

Flea Article:

Red Flour Beetle:

Give us a call if you need more help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM Mon-Thur; 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Friday and 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Saturday, Eastern Standard Time.

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