Fire ants can be a nuisance in the vegetable garden. In addition to being a stinging insect, they can damage some vegetable crops, such as okra and Irish potatoes. Occasionally they may feed on tender seedlings of corn, cucumber and watermelon.
A vegetable garden that is frequently tilled may have fewer fire ant mounds because tilling disturbs the fire ants and causes them to move. However, some mounds will persist, such as those that are too close to the individual vegetable plants to adequately be disturbed by tilling, or in gardens that are heavily mulched for weed control. In these cases fire ant baits or mound treatments may be necessary.