Rise in fire ant mounds due to East Texas rain

Rise in fire ant mounds due to East Texas rain
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - AgriLife experts are urging you to watch your step the next time you're outside. They say recent rains are creating a fire ant problem.

"It's crazy! It's probably the most I've seen in several years," Jordan Dietz, a pet owner.

Jordan Dietz routinely walks his dog Bear early every morning and late in the evening, but lately he's noticed something out of the ordinary…fire ants.

"Tons! I mean we have them all over the property here and not only here but at the church as well," Dietz said.

More mounds are popping up all over East Texas and one likely culprit…recent rain.

"Recent rainfall that has replenished the soil, those fire ants that were down deep, they'd drown down there so we're seeing them move to the surface, build up above ground level," said Cary Sims, an agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office in Angelina County.

Sims works with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office in Angelina County, he says next time you're outside take a special look at where you see mounds.

"Certainly we'll see them out in the pastures or a lawn, but it's interesting that you'll find them next to some sort of structure that moderates the soil temperature and the soil moisture," Sims said.

And here in East Texas we've gotten a lot of that moisture so with one look around you're likely to see dozens of what may appear to piles of dirty, but one poke reveals a home of between 100 to 500 thousand insects.

And while it may appear the mounds are something new…

"They've been there. Just because I haven't seen you, doesn't mean you've left town, I just haven't seen you. The same way with these fire ants, they've been here. Those mounds that you see out there, they've been here, they've just been down deep where we couldn't see them," Sims said.

With more rain and cooler temperatures in store, it's a problem likely to grow, so the best advice may be…

"Just kind of walk around it man", Dietz said.

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