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Management — Treatment

Electrical Equipment and Utility Housing Treatment Program


Fire ants in rely switch box Fire ant colony in transformer

Fire ants in relay switch box

Fire ant colony in electrical utility housing

NOTE: For safety reasons, an electrician or a licensed pest control operator should treat infested electrical euipment. Specialized product and training are necessary to treat these sites safely and effectively.

Treatment Program

  1. Turn off all electrical service before starting.
  2. With an individual mound treatment method, eliminate colonies around electrical and plumbing casings and housings.
  3. Injectable aerosol products containing pyrethrins give rapid control.
  4. Hydramethylnon, abamectin, indoxacarb, and spinosad baits applied to individual fire ant mounds will provide control in about 1 week, even if the colony is located within the structure.
  5. Do not use liquid drenches, sprays, or products that may damage insulation around electrical fixtures.
  6. Treatment of a larger area around the electrical structure is optional.
  7. Mound and area treatments are described in the section on Home Lawns and Other Ornamental Turf Areas.
  8. Be extremely careful when applying pesticide around water systems and well heads to prevent contamination of wells and ground water.
  9. Once ants are eliminated, remove debris and soil from equipment housing to reduce possibilities of short circuit.
  10. Treat the inside of equipment housings with products labeled for this use, such as Rainbow® Fire Ant & Insect Killer (chlorpyrifos), Ascend® (abamectin), or Hot Shot® No-Pest Strip 2 (dichlorvos).


  1. After ants are removed from the electrical equipment, prevent reinfestation, and damage.
  2. Where possible, seal all sensitive electrical components, particularly those that are not insulated.
  3. Examples are plastic housings containing contact points of switches, relays and circuit breakers.
  4. Spray long-residual contact insecticides around housings, making sure to avoid the electrical circuitry or components.
  5. Apply specifically labeled products to the housing itself or the mounting pad (see Step 10 in the treatment program above).