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Anyone add fireant treatment services to their lawn care repertoire?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Ijustwantausername, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Ijustwantausername

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,711

    I figure it can't be that hard to go and sprinkle some fire ant killer over the mound then be done. Unless of course they had hundreds. Am I wrong? And yes before I get yelled at I do have my license.
  2. I'm glad you put that in there. A lot of people think that because they can buy it at the hardware it's not regulated. If you do pest control on someone else's property...that's regulated by USDA

    Other than that, If I had customers with fire ants, I'd insist they get fire ant control. Like I do with poison ivy. I won't work in dangerous conditions. People have no right to ask you to.
  3. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    Forget the mounds that's a waste of time. One annual treatment that lasts 52 weeks is the money maker and it's an easy sell. Top Choice's patent has expired so you can now get generic Top Choice for about $90 a bag versus Bayer's MAP price of $162.50.

    I do not expect retail prices to come down even thought the material cost had dropped by a bunch. Your cost is $3.60 per 1K and you should be charging at least $12-$16 per 1K. I have one property near my house that puts $800 in my pocket for two hours worth of work. Top Choice (or generic) should be the biggest money maker of all the applications you do. From the Carolinas over to CA fire ants are your money making little friends.
  4. Ijustwantausername

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,711

    Wow, thanks for the great advice. Where do you buy the generic? So would a half acre lot be roughly $250/280 a treatment?
  5. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    The generic is called Quali-Pro Fipronil. Any of your local commercial places for fert type stuff should have it. Fipronil is now a Restricted Use (RU) insecticide so you have to have an applicators license to get it.

    Fipronil becoming RU this year was the reason I finally got off my azz and became a licensed applicator. I took three tests yesterday with a total of 250 questions. I'd been putting off taking the test for about five years even though I had already studied the material. When I found out Fipronil went RU it was going to cost me a couple of grand for about 1-2 days of lost work and profit.

    Most guys probably don't realize it illegal to even squirt a little RoundUp on a customers property without a license. I would dare to say that over 95% of the guys using RoundUp, preemergent, and other easy to get pesticides are doing it without a license.
  6. Ijustwantausername

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,711

    Oh yeah I believe it. I was one of the 95% until some of the bigger guys told me if I got caught it would be bad. It carries up to a $5000 fine here in NC based on the "discretion" of the guy ticketing you. I'll have to check on that though.
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Nope, not in Texas it isn't as long as the applicator is using over the counter non license required pesticide(s) and maintaining records in accordance with the TDA guidelines.

    The second one begins marketing the service the same guidelines covering licensed applicators MAY cover the unlicensed applicator - the rules are subject to inspector "determination" hence are a bit "iffy".

    Also, since you are now licensed, expect an unannounced TDA inspector to arrive and conduct a proper pesticide storage/record check. Depending upon your area of operations this check should be done every two years.

    Regarding Friponil and the alleged 52 weeks of control, well this is highly dependent upon soil/site/environmental conditions. Heavy clay based soil common to most of Texas may see this control but loose sand, sandy loam soils common to NC, forget it. You might get 4 months if the site is irrigated and the cultural maintenance program includes hollow core aerification and clipping collection.

    There is a great deal more to pesticide application than the label. Know your site condition(s), what you are treating and probably most importantly, the mode of action of the pesticide and how site conditions effect efficacy.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  8. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    Every chemical pesticide sold in the US is a regulated pesticide. In Texas every pesticide is additionally regulated by the Texas Department of Agriculture. You can't sell a pesticide in TX without it being registered by the TDA. Any pesticide whether it be a simple regulated over the counter pesticide (RoundUp ect.), RU, or SLU it can't be sprayed on the land of other for hire with out a license. The rules are pretty clear even though every Tom, Dick, and Harry is running around unlicensed (just like I used to be).

    One of my friends was a licensed applicator for years and he said he was never inspected. The TDA once did show up at my house because I have a class one nursery certificate but that's it. Top Choice is too much of a money maker not to be a licensed applicator. Plus it's one more thing that shows your a professional and not just another uneducated yahoo running around.

    You also need to have a class one nursery certificate and at least 100K per incident 200K aggregate commercial insurance to be an applicator. You must get at least 5 CEU's per year to keep your license. I'm a member of the TNLA and will be able to get some credits just for going to meetings.
  9. RealGreen5

    RealGreen5 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    We are getting good results with Advion. Has to be applied several times throughout the year but very effective in Central Texas for Fire Ant control. Cuts down on the customers that bust your chops over Fire Ants in the lawn. We have not had to run many service calls for fire ants since switching from Top Choice to Advion and gives the option to spot treat or blanket.
  10. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    Why don't you just use the Quali-Pro Fipronil for about $90 a bag? The 52 week treatment is the big seller. Do you work with Real Green or is it just a coincidence your screen name is so similar? That guy spends a ton of money on advertising and seems to target the low baller market. He treated one of my neighbors yard with Top Choice for about $9 per 1000 sq ft. I landscaped part of my neighbors yard but I wasn't going to treat about 15K and make only $36. Not worth it.

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