There’s a thing in taking pride in how the exterior of your business looks. Keeping up its external appearance is about as important in attracting potential customers as the interior. One of the few things many small businesses run into may be what you’re dealing with right now: pests.
Ants, termites, roaches and other annoying pests can wreck havoc on your business’s beautiful appearance. Of these, ants are the most common. The worst of the bunch, fire ants, can be particularly troubling. Here are a few tips to help when dealing with these.
Know Your Enemy
The fire ant has a short history in the United States. Originally from South America, it was imported sometime in the 1930s and has since spread throughout the nation, particularly in the southern region. Although these ants do not directly damage turf grasses, the presence of their colonies can be distracting and distort the beauty of your commercial lawn.
The more an area is infested with multiple queen ants, the more colonies you will see in that space. Nested areas are found underground and can house up to 250,000 fire ants! The colonies resemble mounds of dirt that can be up to 18 inches high and four feet deep.
The Dangers They Pose
Having to deal with a fire ant infestation can be hectic, but it’s not as troubling as dealing with the consequences of unintentionally walking over dirt mounds full of them. These tiny insects are quite aggressive and will not hesitate to attack anything that disrupts their colony or food supply.
Fire ants can sting repeatedly, but if treated quickly, injuries are not life threatening. The stings are actually the ants injecting small amounts of an oily alkaloid called solenopsin that can cause itching and burning, and can leave a blister or two the next day. In rare cases, a person who is stung can experience shortness of breath, chest pains, swelling of the tongue or severe sweating and should seek immediate emergency help.
Don’t Mess with Texas
According to the Texas Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society, more people have died in Texas from severe reactions to fire ants than anywhere else in the United States. Of all people stung, only 1% to 6% suffer severe reactions. Even though the numbers are small, everyone should treat interactions with them with caution.
What to do When Stung
Generally, if a fire ant stings you, it most likely won’t be just one bite that you’ll have to treat. Wash the affected area with cold, soapy water and apply ice. Covering the area with a bandage is fine but not necessary. The last thing you want to do is scratch as it can cause irritation. It can also result in slower healing and even an infection.
Prepare Your Business
Of course, the best way to prevent a fire ant sting is through avoidance. If you happen to see an anthill on your commercial lawn, don’t go near it and set up a hazard sign warning guests or customers to do the same. Get in touch with us to see what we can do to handle this issue to preserve the beauty of your lawn.
If you think submerging this pest in water will get rid of them, sadly you are mistaken. Fire ants actually have an incredible ability to band together during floods to create a float around the queen by holding their tarsi, the equivalent of their hands. The worker ants move around constantly so no individuals are underwater for too long. Fire ants in these “rafts” can stay above water for hours, but with many immature fire ants, can stay afloat for up to 12 days!
What the Experts Say
TLC Lawn Care’s Account Manager, Roy De Leon, explained, ”Fire ants are the most common pests in commercial lawns in the Rio Grande Valley. You know you’re house or business has been infested with these pests when there are lots of ant mounds across your lawn. When TLC finds ants in a lawn where we’re doing maintenance, we put substances down until they are gone.”
Keeping Them Away
Remember, a healthy lawn is always the best defense against pests, and TLC Total Lawn Care will help keep your yard healthy. Removing weeds, watering regularly and mowing consistently will keep your commercial lawn in good shape. If you require pesticides, be sure to read all instructions first. For questions or to schedule a consultation, get in touch with our commercial lawn care specialists.