Fire ants are not something you want to have around your home or garden. While there are several different insecticides that you can use to eliminate fire ant colonies, not everybody wants to use harsh chemicals to treat an infestation.
If you have small children or even pets in the home, you might want to look into homemade fire ant killer. Fire ant queens can lay up to 1,600 eggs per day and lives so deep inside the mound that she can be tough to reach.
If you cannot reach the queen ant, there is no hope of eradicating the colony, as the queen will quickly replenish the ranks allowing new settlements to become established. Rather than use harsh chemicals to reach the queen try one of these ant remedies.
12 Natural Homemade Fire Ant Killer Tips and Recipes
1. Lemon Water – The Perfect Natural Ant Killer
Using equal parts water and lemon juice spray the solution directly on any fire ant trails or colony entrances. For this natural fire ant killer to work, you must use it consistently.
2. DIY Fire Ant Repellent with Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper as a DIY fire ant repellent works in two ways; it makes the ant hill inhabitable for a new colony and will get rid of fire ants quickly. The solution can be poured directly into the ant hill or added to a spray bottle to kill ants found around the home.
Boil water in a medium pot. Place sliced cayenne peppers inside a glass jar then add boiling water. Allow to steep for 24 hours and then remove peppers.
Sprinkle powdered cayenne pepper around the entire colony. The powder will prevent the fire ants from escaping as you pour the solution directly into the ant hill.
3. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is fossilized marine phytoplankton in a powder form that is capable of killing a variety of red ants, including carpenter ants and fire ants. The powder causes dehydration in the ants, which eventually kills them as they lose all of their inner body fluid. This is likely the best way to get rid of fire ants.
4. Vinegar Fire Ant Control
This vinegar mixture will not kill the ants, but it will cause them to evacuate the ant mound thanks to the strong vinegar scent. Once the ants have left their nest, you can destroy it to prevent them from coming back.
Combine equal amounts of vinegar, water, and baking soda. For effective pest control pour directly into ant hills or use it to spray ant trails. This can also prevent ants in cat food when sprayed around feeding areas.
5. Dawn Dish Soap
Dawn dish soap will kill ants by breaking down the ants’ exoskeleton which leads to death by dehydration. Just mix either dish soap or dish detergent with some water and spray the colony’s entry points.
6. Bucketing – A great way to kill fire ants
Bucketing works if you only have a one or two mound ant problem. Before proceeding you want to sprinkle your buckets with either cornstarch or baby powder to prevent the ants from climbing out.
Rapidly dig up the fire ant nest, going about a foot under the colony. Toss the dirt and ants into a large bucket. You might need several buckets to clean up depending on the size and number of mounds.
Ants can be relocated or drowned based on your preference. If drowning, add a squirt of dish soap, some water from the hose and stir well to ensure the soap mixes into the mud.
Allow the bucket to sit overnight to ensure they drown. To be effective the fire ant mound needs to be dug up when most of the colony is inside. Mid to late morning is best during the spring, while the early morning is recommended for summer.
7. Boiling Water
Pour at least 4 gallons of hot water directly into the mound. This may take up to 4 tries to kill the ants. Be aware this homemade fire ant killer is effective against killing the colony but may not get the queen, allowing the rest of the colony to relocate.
8. Borax, Sugar, and Water – The Bait Fire Ants Killer
For ant bait to be effective, it has to attract the ants. Ants are attracted to both sugars and proteins making this solution highly effective anytime sugar ants appear. As Borax is toxic keep the mixture away from pets and small children.
Poke holes into the lids of each plastic container. Cream cheese or small margarine tubs make an excellent choice for ant traps. Mix 1 cup Borax with 3 cups sugar to make your ant traps.
Fill each plastic container half full with the powder. Add water until slightly soupy. Over time the soupy water will become more like a syrup. Stir one teaspoon of peanut butter into the mixture. Put the lid on the container and place in areas where there are ants.
The ants will ingest the toxic syrup mix as they enter the containers. They will also transport the bait back to the colony where worker ants will swallow it. When widespread, the bait will show you results within two or three days.
9. The Two-Step Fire Ant Killer Method
According to researchers at Texas A&M, the best way to suppress a fire ant colony in Texas is the two-step method. The two-step method requires you use a fire ant bait consisting of instant grits that have been coated with soybean oil followed by an effective way of treating individual mounds.
Baits, including Amdro, Rapid Fire Ant Killer, Ascend, Logic, Siege, or Award, should be placed during the late afternoon or evening. The bait is slow acting, but can eventually achieve 90% control. The bait should be applied late August until the middle of October and can be used over your entire yard.
After the bait has disappeared pour boiling water or add a liquid insecticide directly into the mound. Maxforce, whose active ingredient is Fipronil works to destroy colonies as the workers take the bait back to the queens. Club soda should not be used as a mound drench product as it will not control the red imported fire ant.
10. Orange Fire Ant Killer
Orange oil contains d-limonene which has been proven to kill fire ants upon contact. Dawn dish soap is also known to destroy various types of ants. The best homemade fire ant killer recipe to treat an ant infestation uses both orange oil and Dawn dish soap with a gallon of water.
Mix Dawn with orange oil in water. Use as a mound drench when ants are most likely to be inside, early morning or later afternoon depending on the time of year.
12. Garret Juice and Orange Oil
In the last year or so it has been shown that Florida is one of the areas hit hardest by the red imported fire ant invasion. Texas A&M University founded an excellent alternative for ant control in the form of orange oil and Garret Juice.
Mix one gallon of Garret Juice with 2 ounces of oil and use as a mound drench on fire ant hills.
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