Noticed a mound of fluffy worked soil in your compound especially after a heavy rain and later realized you have a fire ants infestation? In this editorial, understand how to quickly detect and eliminate the destructive insects. As a result of their living habits, it can be a difficult undertaking to eliminate them, especially since unlike most other ants; fire ants do not leave an opening in the center of the mound. This piece focuses on effective ways and products of eliminating the ants, as well as effective methods of keeping them out of your property for good.
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How Can You Identify Fire Ants?
The quickest way to identify fire ants is by the painful sting they leave on your skin. They can also be set apart from others by their dull red coloration, ranging from reddish black to brown. Their abdomens are darker, and body and head coppery brown. In sunny areas, these ants are known to form soil mounds. The mounds can grow up to 61 cm wide and 18 cm tall, often dome-shaped.
The mounds are quickly noticeable in open places in your compound as opposed to under shades and bushes. When the ant hill stays uninterrupted, the colony tends to grow very fast, and the queens can spread in your compound to form new mounds. Once you shovel into the soil, you should see what appears as white objects. These are the eggs, pupae, and larvae of the developing ants. Fire ants feed on dead animals and living insects.
When in your house, they are mostly looking for sweet bites and fats. Only the venom of fire ants can leave the stung part of your body forming a blister a day after the bite.
- Worker ants bite and sting aggressively.
- Fire ants are just about ¼ inch long and have a variation in size, unlike most other ants which have a uniform size.
When an ant hill is disturbed, the ants swarm out and move on vertical surfaces to sting.
How to Kill Fire Ants
When it comes to highly destructive and stubborn ants, fire ants would certainly top the list. They are an invasive species whose bite can quickly injure and eventually kill livestock, humans, and wildlife. More so, they can also easily infest a property and damage electrical equipment through chewing off the wire insulation. Knowing your options of the best ways of how to get rid of red ants can protect your family, pets, and property.
About 80 percent of homeowners try to eliminate the ants by handling individual mounds with too much insecticide. This can, in turn, lead to environmental contamination when rain washes the chemical away into water sources.
Remember, your target should be the queen when trying to kill fire ants. Otherwise, the colony will survive. It is more effective to treat an entire compound with products designed for the broadcast application.
Does Sevin Kill Fire Ants?
Sevin is an effective pesticide that contains carbaryl capable of killing fire ants and common insects that invade a home. This powder has been one of the best ant killers and has been proven to be highly effective. Treating your home’s outdoor foundation can reduce ant population drastically and prevent future infestation.
The Top 6 Baits
Today, the market has multiple ant baits. Most of them have insect growth regulators, highly effective when you have a medium to large infestation. The regulator acts as a birth control for the fire ant colony, helping to stop their reproduction cycle when you are trying to eliminate them. Be sure to apply the bait away from water bodies and during seasons when no rain is expected for at least 48 hours.
Use fresh baits from unopened containers, and remember that fire ant workers will mostly look for food in the evening hours or late afternoon, so spread the bait around this time for complete effectiveness. When it’s extremely hot, wait to apply the bait in evening hours when it is a little cool and the ants are ready to forage.
You can use Advion Gel, Maxforce, Extinguish Plus, Tartar, Terro, and AMDRO Bait Stations:
- Advion Gel: worth $26.64, Advion ant gel is one of the best-selling and high-quality insecticides for baiting fire ants. Its ingredients are enhanced to eliminate sweet feeders such as fire ants within a short period. Indoxacarb, for instance, is an active ingredient used in the solution that acts on the nerve cells of the ants leading to paralysis and finally death. Advion is sweet and odorless, giving worker ants enough time to carry the substance to the colony, where it is eliminated.
- Maxforce: worth $36.96, maxforce ant bait gel-ant poison presents effective control of fire ants. It can be applied to lawns, sod farms, landscapes, recreational and commercial turf. When placed strategically in places they can easily access, the foraging workers carry the formula and destroy the colony. In about five days, you should notice fewer ants. This formula offers a long-term solution in an easy to use application. Maxforce FC is gentle on pets and humans, yet tough on fire ants.
- Extinguish Plus: worth $52.09, Extinguish bait is a double action product that kills an entire colony by sterilizing the queen first. It comes packed with an insect growth regulator, methoprene, and hydramethylnon.
- Distance Fire Ant Bait by Sumitomo Chemical: worth $40.76, Distance offers effective long-term control of fire ants. It does so by sterilizing the queen first. Distance is a non-restricted bait that is undetectable but irresistible to fire ants.
- Terro: worth $7.49, Terro ant killer controls fire ants within eight months of treatment. When placed near indoor areas where the ants can quickly spot it, the workers consume the bait and carry the rest to their colony where they are then all destroyed.
- AMDRO: worth $13.92, AMDRO is a slow acting stomach poison that prevents the ability of ants to convert food to energy. It is designed to kill fire ants in the backyard and prevent them from penetrating your house.
Anyone who has been stung by fire ants understands their impact in a home. Their ill effect goes beyond the medical implications inflicted on the victim, as large amounts of dollars can also be used to attempt to manage them.
They can travel for more than 100 yards from their mound to look for food, and this is what makes it difficult for most homeowners to control them. Insecticides are formulated to kill target organisms. Most of them are contact insecticides that interfere with their nervous system. These include carbaryl, fipronil, broadcast granules, acephate, and liquid spinosad formulations. They all vary in the speed taken to kill ants.
Synthetic pyrethroid and pyrethrins are known to kill the ants within minutes. Talstar which contains 7.9 Bifenthrin is one of the most commonly used insecticide. It is compatible with fertilizers and fungicides allowing you to achieve long lasting control. Those registered by the EPA are considered as less harmful to the environment, humans, and pets when used as directed. They are formulated as liquids, dust, aerosols, and granules.
Ants are highly susceptible to most insecticides. Orange Guard which is an organic mound drenching product is also highly effective.
There are many natural remedies that have been tried before and worked. To ensure your pets and children are safe, it pays to learn how to get rid of ants naturally. Pouring hot water into a mound, for instance, is an old remedy that has been used to control fire ants. Not only does it eliminate the queen, but every other ant in the mound.
It is considered to be about 60 percent effective, but can also be dangerous to the applicator and the surrounding vegetation. To get to the bottom of the reproductive areas of the mound, about three gallons of water should be used. Bucketing is also highly effective. This is where rapid digging up of mounds is involved, then the scooped soil is quickly filled into a bucket and stashed away.
Does Salt Kill Fire Ants?
Salt may be cheap, easy to clean and friendly to pets and humans, but it does not kill ants. However, it can be used as an ant deterrent to stop them from getting into your house through holes and cracks. Salt does not attract ants, meaning it cannot kill invading pests. In fact, they try to avoid the salt given that it has drying properties that could be dangerous to their bodies.
Do Grits Kill Fire Ants?
Grits alone have no capacity to kill fire ants. An old theory suggests that ants eat grits which then swell in their stomachs and cause them to explode. Understand that fire ant workers cannot consume solid foods, meaning grits are ineffective.
DIY Fire Ant Killer
There are many safe to use methods a homeowner can apply by simply following instructions.
Some of which are highly effective yet safe for pets and humans include:
You can kill fire ants using borax, water, syrup, and sugar solution. Borax ($8.49) is a white crystalline substance that comes in a powder form. Remember, the more the borax used, the higher the amount of sugar needed to attract the ants. Be sure to mix the solution to a completely smooth formula, removing any large clumps left behind. Once they find the solution, they will come in large numbers, feed on it, and carry the rest to the colony. Within a few days, the colony should be destroyed completely. Although boric acid is a natural product, it should not be directly ingested by pets and humans as it can be toxic.
- Soapy Water
Soapy water is an easy and sure way of getting rid of fire ants. Gather enough soap water in a spray bottle, and ensure the water used is warm. The solution should kill the ants and destroy ant trails.
- Diatomaceous Earth
At $18.49, DE is a multi-purpose remedy for killing fire ants naturally. It can be used outside by simply sprinkling around the perimeter, and can also be safely used indoors. It may not kill the ants immediately, but within a few days, you should see change. This formula is known to absorb lipids from the outer layer of a fire ant, dehydrates the insect and causes it to die.
How to Eliminate Fire Ants Permanently
- The first step towards eliminating fire ants permanently is finding the location of their mound.
- Then, generously sprinkle or soak the mound with your preferred formula.
- If the ant hill is too large, poke holes into it and then pour in your formula.
- You can opt for the drench method of liquid insecticide. This must only be done when most of the ants are in the colony.
- Be sure to broadcast a fire ant bait around the area of the mound, especially during the warm months to prevent the bait from being washed away by a downpour.
Fire ants are tiny creatures that can be both annoying and beneficial. As they tunnel underground through the soil to get to their colony, they aerate the soil and improve drainage. However, they are also unfriendly and can leave a very painful sting on their target, and also cause destruction to a home. With the above solutions on how to get rid of fire ants, you are now safe and should easily get rid of them.
You can find further details of Ants Control here.