Fire ants, also called imported fire ants, were transported into the Southern United States by accident in the early 1900s. Since then, their range has expanded throughout the subtropical southeastern areas in the United States including Alabama, Florida, Virginia, and Texas.
Statistics show that imported fire ants currently cost Texas an estimated one billion dollars per year (..).
What are Fire Ants?
Fire Ants are ferocious, venomous insects that prey on small animals and other insects; they sting humans; and form new mounds that can be as far as 100 feet away from their previous pile, damaging plants, crops, and farm machines.
Although a fire ant’s bite may not be as fatal as other insect bites, individuals should know how to make fire ant killer, how to put out fire ant bait, and ultimately how to get rid of fire ants.
The Danger of Having Fire Ants in Your Backyard
Spotting a red imported fire ant or a fire ant colony can be worrying, but how much more if you see fire ant mounds scattered in your entire yard?
Once attached to your skin, fire ants continue to bite and sting on an average of three times before successful removal. The stings are most painful during summer months when red fire ants have the most significant quantity of venom in their body sacs.
For many individuals, the injected venom may cause an allergic reaction – irritation, a burning sensation, itching, and redness in the skin. However, some people may develop severe reactions, which can be life-threatening.
How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
Each of fire ants’ mounds is incredibly complex. Many have tried to make homemade fire ant killer and tried to get rid of fire ants, but only a few were successful in their various methods of pest control.
Here, we have listed eight simple ways on how to get rid of fire ants to keep your home, yard, plants, pets, and keep your family safe!
1. Using Organic Botanical Insecticides
Organic botanical insecticides are those that are derived from plants. Some of these insecticides are contact insecticides which work in several ways. An example is a substance found in orange oil (called d-limonene) that can make a DIY fire ant killer.
D-limonene is a chemical extract from crushed or grated citrus peels. Products with orange oil or d-limonene as an active ingredient are believed to be toxic to fire ants. They are also available in the market for use as a fire ant mound drench that provides a fast-acting fire ant treatment.
2. Baiting or Broadcast Treatment
A baiting method is an easy way to get rid of fire ants. The procedure involves the use of bait products. Just buy a bait product and broadcast it across your entire yard.
This method of treatment works because the worker ants take the fire ant bait and bring it back to their queen. It is incredibly useful because it will kill off the entire colony of fire ants at the core.
To utilize the baiting method, follow these steps: Using a broadcast spreader or handheld granular spreader, broadcast any of the bait products listed above. Apply these fire ant baits next to a mound during the late afternoon, when the ground or grass is dry, and rain is not expected for the next 48 hours.
The worker ants will take the bait (which usually contain corn grits and insecticides), and once they reach the inside of the mound, the entire colony will be wiped out.
3. Individual Mound Treatment
Individual mound treatments may be more tiring and may need more fire ant killer solutions. However, it is useful and suitable for a smaller area with a couple of fire ant mounds. There are two types of individual mound treatment products – chemical (fast-acting) and organic (non-toxic).
To get rid of fire ants, start by drenching individual mounds. Grab a chemical or an organic mound treatment product and pour it into each bed. Be sure to saturate the entire ant hill to kill the queen that is nesting deep within.
4. Using the Two-Step Method
The two-step method is a combination of the Baiting Method and Individual Mound Treatment. It is best done from late August to mid-October when the fire ants are foraging in preparation for winter.
This treatment method may take 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of your lawn. Just follow the steps and make your entire yard fire ant-free.
5. Utilizing the Boiling Water Method
Hot water is the most common, effective homemade fire ant killer. To solve your fire ant problem, boil water until it is scalding hot. Then, carefully pour the hot water on each ant hill for 3 to 4 times to kill the entire colony. It works best especially if you use three to four gallons of water every application.
6. Use of Other Home Remedies
In addition to using hot water, there are many other ways on how to get rid of fire ants. One method of treatment that is a popular home remedy for a fire ant infestation is the use of cleaning products or soap solutions.
To get rid of the fire ants, mix water with dishwashing liquid and pour it directly to individual mounds. To ensure that it would kill the fire ant species living in the anthill, make sure that you pour the entire solution into each ant bed.
7. Use of Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally-occurring silicone-sedimentary rock that gets easily crumbled into a fine white powder or sand.
Diatomaceous earth products are registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as pesticides. People use DE as an insecticide to ant trails indoors. While it doesn’t work well when used as an outdoor fire ant bait, diatomaceous earth works best if used as a barrier for fire ant control, keeping the fire ants outside homes.
Another good thing with DE is that it is also an effective way on what keeps spiders away. With diatomaceous earth, you’ll have an all-around insect killer that is safe for humans and small animals.
To use diatomaceous earth as a homemade fire ant killer, find areas in your house where you think fire ants can enter. Then apply it by using a duster to target underneath the baseboards and areas that are hard to reach.
Apply the product on your doors or window panes which you find susceptible from fire ant infestation. After one month, clean off the areas where you have previously applied diatomaceous earth and reapply.
8. Using Club Soda
This method is probably the easiest and the simplest among all the methods on this list. To use a club soda as a fire ant killer, you only need to pop it open and pour a bottle of club soda per mound.
How do club sodas help you get rid of fire ants? The carbon dioxide content of club sodas replaces the oxygen in the mound which, in turn, suffocates the fire ants.
However, if this is the option that you want to use instead of using a liquid insecticide, be sure to buy a package of club sodas because once the soda dries up, fire ants might come back after a week or two.
What is the Best Method to Get Rid of Fire Ants?
We have listed eight simple ways on how to get rid of fire ants. You must consider your time, budget, size of the infested area, and if you are willing to invest a lot of effort to determine what will work best for you.
If you have 1 to 2 ant mounds, it can easily be treatable by yourself. If there are more than three ant hills in your backyard, you might need help from friends or relatives to apply the method of treatment of your choice.
We recommend that you assess the extent of your fire ant problem and choose the most appropriate method that suits your specific needs. For example, if you do not want to spend money at all, you can use the boiling method or home remedies. Or you can use commercially made products. You can also try as many of the methods listed above.
We hope that you enjoyed reading and learning about how to get rid of fire ants with these eight effective methods.
Please don’t hesitate to share these pest control tips with all your friends and family so they can get rid of fire ants in their backyard.