FireAntEater™ Informational Article
THE TUNNEL NETWORK IS KEY
© 2011, 2012, 2013 FIREANTEATER LLC
www.fireanteater.com

• Introduction - Fire Ants
  There are many types of fire ants. This article focuses primarily on the Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA), generally considered the most problematic of all fire ants. In the US, the black fire ant is equally troublesome, but is much less widespread than the RIFA.
  The RIFA was introduced to the United States from South America in the 1930's, and is now common throughout the Southern United States. The RIFA has become a major pest worldwide, spreading to Australia, China, Taiwan and the Philippines and with more expansion forecasted.
  In FIREANTEATER LLC’s article “Fire Ant Facts,” there is considerable information about the RIFA: its characteristics, colony life, behavior, nesting, life cycle, and damage they do. There is also some information on the black fire ant. 
• Fire Ant Tunnel Networks
  RIFAs live in colonies. The most critical physical attribute of a colony is the tunnel network which interconnects all parts of the colony and connects the colony to the ground surface. Fire ants are very meticulous about maintaining this tunnel network in good repair. The most effective products for exterminating or controlling RIFAs do not impact or destroy this tunnel network.
  A well-fed RIFA queen may lay up to 1600 eggs per day and grow the colony's population rapidly. To accommodate this growth, fire ants build an elaborate series of galleries and chambers, which act as both nurseries and living space for adult ants and a tunnel network to connect all of it.
  The tunnels are small, delicate and easily destroyed: 1) Any liquid (including boiling water) that is applied to a fire ant colony will destroy the tunnel network and result in sealing off most of the colony from the liquid. The liquid must now percolate through the soil to reach most of the colony with the resulting, natural, dilutive or filtering effect of ground percolation. Since the tunnels leading to the treatment area of the ground surface are sealed off, the fire ants are prevented or deterred from getting to that ground surface area;   2) Solids must be small enough to travel through the tunnel network to begin with, but will almost certainly congest in such a fine tunnel resulting in the same sealing effects as a liquid; and 3) Gases can be made (forced) to permeate the tunnel network provided that the pressure is very low. High pressure will destroy the tunnel network and seal off the colony.
• Fire Ant Killer Products
  The key to any effective fire ant killer product, like the FireAntEater™ AntCrusher, is not to impair the colony tunnel network the fire ants build. The product or method selected should leave the tunnel network intact to allow the substance to permeate the colony and/or to allow the ants easy access to the ground surface where a treatment such as chemicals, bait, crushing etc. can take place. If the tunnel network is disturbed, only the relatively small proportion of the colony on the ground surface at the time of treatment will be affected.

ADDEDUM
FireAntEater™ Products
© 2011, 2013 FIREANTEATER LLC

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  • FireAntEater™ - C1000
  • In travel mode                                      In operation
  • • FIREANTEATER LLC develops green, safe fire ant control products, Made in the USA, that kill fire ants. The patent- ed AntCrusher H-1000 uses no chemicals, liquid or bait to control fire ant colonies. Instead, it uses the naturally aggressive nature of the fire ant for protecting the colony, particularly the larvae near the ground surface, against them, by agitating them into a continuous attack on the unit. In the unit, they are rolled over and crushed. The fire ant tunnel network is not affected. So many ants are crushed that the “health” (the ability of the colony to sustain itself) is compromised. It is completely green, and safe.  Moreover, it does not have to be replenished making it the most cost-effective fire ant control product available. The power source for this unit is a solar cell with auto-recharging batteries for reduced sunlight conditions.

  • • FIREANTEATER LLC also has been granted a patent on a Fire Ant Killer product which, although tested and proven, is not yet in production.  This product forces steam from boiled tap water through an applicator and into the fire ant tunnel network. The steam is at very low pressure (e.g.-.1 psi above atmospheric) so it will not destroy the tunnel network. The steam completely permeates the colony tunnel network killing all the ants, including the queen(s), workers, the larvae, etc. This product was designed for commercial, industrial and municipal applications. The C-1000 is also Green and safe.