How to Eliminate Fire Ants for Good in Your Property

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 10 minutes.
Updated: .

Have you noticed a pile of fluffy tilled soil on your property, especially after a heavy rain, and later discovered that you are infested with fire ants? In this editorial, you’ll learn how to to get rid of fire ants.

Due to their habits, getting rid of them can be a difficult task, especially since fire ants, unlike most other ants, do not leave an opening in the middle of the mound. This article looks at effective methods and products to quickly identify and eliminate these destructive insects, as well as effective methods to keep them off your property for good.

 

9 Steps Guide on How to Get Rid of Fire Ants

It is a common misconception that fire ants are simply a nuisance, but they are quite dangerous. The bite of a single ant can cause anaphylactic shock in some people. This type of reaction can be life-threatening if not treated immediately with epinephrine or other medications.

So why should homeowners take the time to educate themselves about their habits? The answer is: because prevention is key! If you want to avoid the potential danger of being bitten by fire ants, you need to understand how they behave, where they nest, what species there are, and how to get rid of them.

It is important to know more about these pests. This way, you can take the necessary precautions and follow these 9 steps to get rid of them.

First of all, it is important to know that fire ants have a red color and are between 1/16 and 1/4 inch in size. They also have a stinger that they can use to inject venom when they bite. Therefore, you should always be careful when dealing with these pests!

These insects live in many places. They live under things like sidewalks and driveways. You can also find them near your house. You should not touch the ant colonies. If you disturb them, they will become angry and very defensive in their nests.

Many people do not know that there are many types of fire ants. There are 10 different species. The red imported fire ant is one of the most common species in the United States. It can reproduce until its 80th day of life.

If you see an ant, do not panic. It could be an entire colony. If ants are invading your home, an exterminator can help. It's too difficult to get rid of them yourself.

  1. Step 1: Identify the species of fire ants

    Step 1: Step 1: Identify the species of fire antsThe best way to identify what types are living near your property is by finding their mounds and looking for tiny holes on top where they enter and exit from.

    Another thing you may notice is that these mounds can vary in size, and they usually have a bigger mound on top with smaller ones around it. Also, there may be more than one hole inside the larger mound!

  2. Step 2: Make sure to wear protective gloves when dealing with these pests

    Step 2: Step 2: Make sure to wear protective gloves when dealing with these pestsDealing with fire ants can be dangerous because of their venomous stings. That’s why you should make sure to wear protective gloves when dealing with these pests. While wearing them, gather all the dirt from the ant mounds into a bucket or trash bag by hand or with a shovel. Once it's filled up, you can discard it away from your property.

  3. Step 3: Find out if any water sources are near your house

    Step 3: Step 3: Find out if any water sources are near your houseFire ants need water to survive, so that’s why it’s important to find out if there are any water sources near your house.

    If you suspect it could be a problem, then try digging a bit and see what you can find. If you discover a water source, then make sure to cover the hole with dirt or sand.

  4. Step 4: Inspect your home for cracks where ants may be able to enter

    Step 4: Step 4: Inspect your home for cracks where ants may be able to enterThis is another very important step in getting rid of fire ants because their colonies can grow very large-especially during warmer months! If necessary, seal off cracks on your exterior walls as much as possible. Also, check around the foundation of your home and near doors and windowsills.

  5. Step 5: Find other places where they could be entering

    Step 5: Step 5: Find other places where they could be enteringIf you've inspected your house and sealed up cracks but still notice fire ants coming in, then it’s time to inspect other property where they may be getting inside.

    • This includes any trees or tall bushes near your house because colonies can build nests here too!
    • You might also find some of them on the side of the road if there are any water sources around.
  6. Step 6: Find the location of the fire ants mound

    Step 6: Step 6: Find the location of the fire ants moundFinding the mound is key to controlling fire ants.

    To find the mounds, first look for mounds that look out of place or about an inch high. Look near trees, plants, fences, walkways, or other outdoor structures where the ants may have laid their eggs or fed on insects living there. Fire ant colonies often have multiple piles scattered throughout your yard. So it's important not to focus on just one mound, but to try to find them all.

    Fire ants like warm soil. For this reason, many colonies build their nests underground in sunny locations.

    Fire ants are usually found in multiple mounds. So do not just focus on one pile if you want to get rid of the ants.
  7. Step 7: Generously sprinkle or soak the mound with your preferred formula

    Step 7: Step 7: Generously sprinkle or soak the mound with your preferred formulaThe type of liquid used depends on what is locally available, but it should ideally be something thick that doesn't evaporate easily, such as petroleum jelly or vegetable oil.

    Sprinkled liberally over the top of the mound so that it seeps down into the nest tunnels below ground level, before reapplying every few days if necessary to keep the ants away.

    If the anthill is too large, poke holes into it and then pour in your formula. Or you can opt for the drench method of liquid insecticide. This must only be done when most of the ants are in the colony.

    Using around 1/2 to 3/4 of a gallon of the liquid insecticide, slowly pour it into each mound that you have found.

    Find the best outdoor ant killer here.

    Compare-N-Save Concentrated Indoor/Outdoor Insecticide is the best product to get rid of fire ants. It is easy to use because it kills by contact and ingestion. This product can be used indoors or outdoors, which makes it great for getting rid of these pesky insects.

    See More ImagesBifenthrin Concentrate
    Compare-N-Save Concentrate Insecticide
    • Can be mixed with water to create up to 44 gallons of ready-to-use spray.
    • Covers up to 44,000 square feet.
    • Active ingredient: 7.9% Bifenthrin
    CHECK PRICE
  8. Step 8. Use bait around the area of the mound

    Step 8: Step 8. Use bait around the area of the moundBe 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.

    In addition to liquid bait, granular baits are also very effective at getting rid of fire ants.

    What is the best outdoor bait for fire ants?

    TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits are the perfect solution to dealing with these pesky little pests. They come pre-filled and ready to use, so you don't have to worry about any mess or hassle of filling up your ant traps. The active ingredient in this product is 5.40% Borax which is a proven pest control agent that kills both large and small insects on contact. This product can be used outdoors as well as indoors because it's made from natural ingredients that are safe for humans, pets, aquatic life, plants, and wildlife.

    See More ImagesTERRO outdoor ant bait stations
    TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits
    • Best for fire ants.
    • The active ingredient is 5.40% Borax which can be used outdoors
    • Pre-filled and ready to use bait stations.
    CHECK PRICE
    • Eliminate ants in your yard for good.
    • Safely kill fire ants without the use of harmful chemicals.
    • Enjoy a bug-free backyard with less worry about fire ant bites.
    • Give your family an outdoor space that's safe to enjoy again!
    Be aware that the colony may relocate to another part of your property if you are not careful, which can make it difficult to know where exactly they are coming from.
  9. Step 9: Repeat Steps 7 & 8 every 2-3 weeks

    Step 9: Step 9: Repeat Steps 7 & 8 every 2-3 weeksYou'll have to repeat these steps every 2-3 weeks while you wait for new queens to stop laying eggs to get control over the population again. If you see any other mounds popping up around your house, then go back and repeat steps 7 & 8 on those too!

In just 9 easy steps, you should be able to solve your fire ant problem!

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 distinguished from others by their dull red coloration, which can range from reddish black to brown. Their abdomens are darker, and their body and heads 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.

Fire ants identifying

The mounds are quickly noticeable in open places in your compound, as opposed to under shades and bushes. When the anthill 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.

FIRE ANTS FACTS

FIRE ANTS FACTS

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 anthill 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 by 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.

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 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 those 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 the 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:

  1. 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.
    Advion Ant Gel
  2. Maxforce: Maxforce FC Ant Killer Bait Gelworth $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.
  3. Extinguish Plus: Extinguish PLUSworth $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.
  4. Distance Fire Ant Bait by Sumitomo Chemical: Distance PLUS Ant Baitworth $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.
  5. Terro: Terro Ant Killerworth $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.
  6. AMDRO: AMDRO Ant Blockworth $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.

Using Insecticides

Anyone who has been stung by fire ants understands their impact on 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.

Fire ants are destructive invasive species.

Talstar XTRAThey 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 insecticides. 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.

Orange Guard

Naturally Remedies

Many natural remedies 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.

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:

  • Borax
    BoraxYou can kill fire ants using borax, water, syrup, and sugar solution. Borax ($8.49) is a white crystalline substance that comes in powder form. Remember, the more 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 waterSoapy 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
    Diatomaceous EarthAt $18.49, DE is a multipurpose 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 a change. This formula is known to absorb lipids from the outer layer of a fire ant, dehydrates the insect, and cause 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 hillFire 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.

Questions & Answers

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. 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 cannot alone 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.

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.

You can find further details of Ants Control here.

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I have been working on pest extermination information for a long time and am excited to share this information with you. I also provide product recommendations for my favorite pest extermination products.
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