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In The Garden

Controlling Fire Ants in Your Yard

Numerous fire ants on a piece of wood in front of a blue background Play Video

As red imported fire ants continue to spread across North Carolina and the country, you may be a bit more leery about new ant mounds in your yard. We’ve all had that moment when we find little six-legged scavengers and wonder if the dreaded fire ant has set up shop.

But how do you spot a fire ant infestation? What do fire ants look like? And most importantly, how can you get rid of them? Homegrown shares tips and tools to help keep your yard fire ant-free in our latest segment featuring NC State Extension pest management specialist, Mike Waldvogel.

Fire ant mounds are usually a distinct dome-shape, with no opening at the center, and always out in the open.

Bug Shot

As the name would imply, adult red imported fire ants can be identified by their reddish-brown coloration and shiny, dark abdomens. They range in size from about 18 inch long (workers) to around 13 inch long (queens). For more details on fire ant characteristics, visit’s “Identifying Fire Ants.”

Fire ant mounds vary in size but are usually in direct proportion to the size of the colony. For example, a mound that is two feet in diameter and 18 inches high may contain as many as 100,000 workers, several hundred winged adults and a queen.

Fire Ant Facts

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