Fire Ants Take a Toal on Native Wildlife

Jun 8, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you worry about putting insecticides out to control fire ants, consider the damage these non-native pests cause to native wildlife. Reptiles including 'gators, turtles, and lizards are damaged or killed by fire ants. Turtle nests are particularly susceptible –ants make monitoring tunnels waiting until the eggs open and then begin to feed on the young, killing or blinding them. Ground-nesting birds, the bobwhite quail among them, are especially vulnerable but even hatchlings in tree nests are often preyed upon and killed. Waterbirds in Texas had a 92% reduction in offspring survival during the most active fire ant months. Even domestic animals in pastures can be blinded as these pests. There are different bait products labeled for use in pastures, roadsides, lawns, or natural areas; in all cases start fresh non-rancid bait for success.