Protecting Your Home Against Fire Ants

(WVLT) - Fire ants are now marching further north into East Tennessee. UT Researchers say they're now invading subdivisions, schools, and farmland.

This ant mound at Knox County Elementary is crawling with thousands of fire ants capable of severely harming anyone or thing that disturbs them.

"Compare it to a hornets nest, a yellow jackets nest, something that's they're aware of that's dangerous," Dayton Hylton says.

Dayton Hylton is a pest control expert with a masters degree in the scientific study of insects...he says fire ants use their jaws to latch onto a person's skin, then use stingers located on their abdomens.

"This is the time you want to avoid the fire ant mount because they're coming out in droves and if they get on you they will sting," Hylton continues.

And now fire ants are in all or parts of seven East Tennessee counties including Anderson, Blount, Knox, and Loudon, Meigs, Monroe, and Roane.

They came from South America, and get their name from the intense burning sensation that happens when venom is injected into the skin...multiple stings can lead to severe allergic reactions, even death. Fire ants do more damage than good.

"They can kill ground nesting birds like quail, even turkeys, they can even some damage to wildlife, or even cattle," Hylton continues.

An online agricultural site reports fire ants cause six-billion dollars each year in social and medical methods completely get rid of the pests, but some insecticides will help. control the population.

"The way the products work for fire ants is you simply want to carry it back to the nest to eliminate the colony," Nancy Schneider says.

Meantime, experts caution us to be on the lookout.

"They are new to the area, but they are moving straight up I-75," Hylton says.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Join the Conversation!

While WVLT allows comments on articles, we ask that you respect the online community. Comments may be removed at any time for violations including:

  • Obscenity, profanity, vulgarity, racism, violent descriptions, name-calling or personal attacks.
  • Abuse of multiple accounts.
  • Off-topic comments.

Comments may be checked for inappropriate content or rule violation, but the station is under no legal obligation to monitor or remove comments. If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator. 
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

  • by Amanda Location: Salt Lake City on May 23, 2007 at 11:38 AM
    Mitigator Rules! I can recommend a new “scrub” product called “Mitigator Sting
  • by Chris Wolkotte Location: Lake City on May 11, 2007 at 02:04 PM
    Found fire ants in my front yard this morning.
  • by Beverly Location: Anderson County on May 10, 2007 at 11:08 AM
    I think they have set up housekeeping in my yard; several of them stormed through the kitchen door a few days ago, one bit me leaving a burning pain like nothing I've felt before. I sprinkled boric acid along the doorway. It seems to have worked, although it took about 3 days before they stopped paying unwanted visits!
  • by sue Location: Maryville, Blount County on May 9, 2007 at 11:21 PM
    there are two mounds of ants in my yard they are a reddish color not sure if they are fire ants don't get close enough.


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2015 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 7429871 -
Gray Television, Inc.