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Fire Ants are Here to Stay - 2009 Alert

May 19, 2009
by Rick Brandenburg

Rick Brandenburg
Wm. Neal Reynolds Professor
Co-Director Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research and Education


It’s 2009 and the fire ants continue to take over North Carolina. While this isn’t true, it does seem like it in many areas, especially in central North Carolina. The increase in fire ants in this part of the state, especially in metropolitan areas has been impressive. Don’t expect them to slow down any time soon. We have a number of excellent products for fire ant control available in North Carolina, but I want you to listen very carefully to the following statement. YOU CANNOT AND WILL NOT ERADICATE FIRE ANTS. YOU MUST LEARN TO LIVE WITH THEM.

The level of control you are able to obtain in a turf area will be dependent, for the most part, on the amount of time and money you are willing to spend. However, do not expect that even the most effective product is going to eradicate fire ants. If you do not believe this, take a trip to south Alabama or Mississippi or Georgia, or Louisiana, or Texas, or Florida, or South Carolina and notice all the fire ant mounds. People have learned to live with them, control them in high risk and high traffic areas and moved on with their lives. This is nature in action. Don’t call us claiming someone at NC State needs to figure out a way to eradicate fire ants. Millions have been spent on research concerning this pest and we can manage it fairly effectively, but not eliminate it.

Below are some websites that provide additional information on fire ants. I encourage you to view these and upgrade your knowledge about this challenging pest.


2008 Imported Fire Ant Quarentine Area
2008 Imported Fire Ant Quarentine Area

Fire Ant on Mound
Fire Ant 

Fire Ant Mound
Fire Ant Mound