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Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) Control

RIFA mound
RIFA bait
RIFA mound

The Coachella Valley is an arid desert that is not naturally suitable for RIFA survival, however multiple daily irrigation of golf courses, lawns, flower beds and other horticultural landscapes, provide moist and relatively cool conditions conducive to RIFA survival. The RIFA program was established to reduce the potential for injury and economic impact to the residents and visitors of the Valley. Property inspections and control product treatments are conducted at prescribed intervals.

Chemical Control

The District uses ant baits - a mixture of an insecticide and food that is attractive to ants. The workers carry back the bait in to the mound to feed the brood (larvae or immature ants) and queen. Baits are somewhat slow acting, but effective. Broadcast treatment is what the District is using when applying baits to large infested area containing many RIFA colonies. If reinfestation occurs, individual mounds can be treated at certain time intervals.

Non-chemical and biological control

Some non chemical methods include hot water, with or without soap, and mechanical disruption, grits, and biological control including parasitic flies, other ant species, fungi and other microorganisms. However, these may be limited in their effectiveness or best as part of an integrated pest management program.

Physical Control

  • As with any other insect pest, RIFA spend a great deal of time searching for food that can bring them inside buildings. Reduce ant foraging by eliminating available food sources: 
  • Keep trash areas clean
  • Frequently empty outdoor trash cans around schools, park, homes, and buildings
  • Routinely empty dumpsters and grease bins at food service facilities; keep surrounding areas clean
  • Prune shrubs and trees away from building so that ants can’t use them as a bridge.
  • Carefully inspect new landscape material such as plants and sod before purchase or installation
RIFA leg bites

If Stung By RIFA

  • Wash affected area with soap and water thoroughly
  • Elevate bitten area and apply ice or cold compress
  • Seek medical attention if swelling worsens or you experience an allergic reaction
  • Keep blisters clean and avoid scratching
RIFA Resident Property Instructions
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