Trust me when I say this: you don’t want to mess with a fire ant. Why not? It is just an ant, right? Well, when you agitate these ants they sting you with their abdomen’s stinger, and that part of your body can sometimes feel like as if it is on fire.
If you are searching everywhere for the best ant killers, then my friend, you have come to the right place. We provide you with the best options to kill fire ants.
Table of Contents
- How to Get Rid of Fire Ants in House (Naturally)
- How To Kill Fire Ants at Home
- Fire Ant FAQs
- Identifying Fire Ants the Right Way
What are Fire Ants?
This type of ant can come in a number of species like the native fire ants, red ants, black fire ants and so on. You can find these ants in your garden, along with the cracks on the floor or on the walls. Sometimes they colonize in large numbers or sometimes in small numbers. In case of large colonies, the number can go up to 300,000 ants.
Now that’s a hell lot of ant strength right? They can even damage the electric circuits in your home. These ants are known to be omnivorous. That is, they feed on both plants and animals.
How to Get Rid of Fire Ants in House (Naturally)
You can use any of the methods listed below to get rid of the Fire Ants. Do note that whichever method you choose, it will never be as good as commercial products dedicated for the eradication of these ants.
A natural fire ant killer is often a person’s first attempt to get rid of these insects. Homemade methods are cheaper, and in some cases, work very well. We’re going to be discussing homemade options first before talking about commercial bait and poisons, which work to kill ants quickly.
I always recommend learning how to get rid of fire ants naturally rather than going the harsh route. My recommendations for you are:
1. Dish Soap Spray
A mixture of dish soap and water may cause a decline in ant populations. The issue is that you’ll need to get close to the ant mound and spray these little buggers for this method to work effectively.
- A spray bottle
- Dish soap
Fill the bottle with water and add a few drops of dish soap into it – the more, the better.
Now, simply go on a spraying spree and see what happens. When sprayed, the chemicals in the soap can cause the exoskeleton to degrade, leading to the ant dehydrating and dying.
2. Orange Oil Mixture
Orange oil is potent, and when mixed with the right ingredients, it can act as a fire ant control. You’ll need to have the following ingredients to make this mixture:
- Compost tea
- Liquid molasses
- Orange oil
Now, add one part of each ingredient into a 4-ounce container. Add 1 gallon of water into a bucket and pour the mixture into the bucket and stir. Now, ensure that you’re properly covered and dump the entire bucket onto the ant mound.
You need to be careful and ensure you’re not going to get attacked by the very angry worker ants.
Repeat this process several times, or double or triple the mixture as needed. Fire ant queens live underground, and if you have any hope of killing an ant mound, the queen must die.
3. Cinnamon Does The Trick
Cinnamon is a great spice that a lot of people have in their home, so it’s very likely that you’ll have some, too. The good news is that cinnamon will not harm animals or other insects.
You have a lot of options when working with cinnamon, too.
- Ground. A lot of people have success with using ground cinnamon around their homes. The cinnamon will act as a deterrent, and it will keep fire ants away. You can also place ground cinnamon on and around the ant mount.
- Essential oil. Do you have cinnamon essential oil? This is a great method of killing and also repelling fire ants. You’ll put the oil into a spray bottle with some water. Spray the areas where the ants seem to be getting into the home or traversing.
Cinnamon is so potent that even fire ants won’t pass through borders if you make one. Another neat trick is to create a border with cinnamon and place sugar water and borax in the boundaries. When you do this, the ants will not only be repelled, but the ants will be attracted to the sugar water and borax and die.
4. Sugar, Water and a Touch of Borax
Remember the trick that we just talked about? Well, one of the most potent mixtures to kill ants is Borax and sugar water. Ants are attracted to sweet tastes, and sugar water is a sweet taste that ants simply love.
With this knowledge, you’ll be able to attract the fire ants, but how do you kill them?
You’ll find Borax in most grocery or hardware stores. It’s a common substance, and you’ll want to keep it away from your pets. I have used Borax to solve a lot of my ant problems throughout the years.
And it’s also versatile.
There are a variety of methods that you can use, and I’ll tell them to you shortly, to kill off fire ants with Borax. These methods include:
- Basic. A basic trick is to add sugar and water into a bowl. Try to make the water sweet (ants love the taste). Add in a good amount of Borax and mix the substance together well. Find the ant mound or where ants are walking and place the mixture out for them to eat. It takes a few days, but once the queen is fed this substance, the ant colony will begin to die.
- Paste. If you want to kill ants that may be entering your home or coming close to you home, you can make a paste. The paste will require you to add sugar and Borax together first. Add water into the mixture slowly, mixing as you go along so that you can achieve a paste-like consistency. Apply the paste in areas that you see the ants, and in a few days, they will die off.
You just need to be sure that the Borax does not come in contact with your dog or cat. The substance is not going to cause any lasting damage to plants or your ground water, but it can be toxic to animals.
Ants will ingest the Borax which will cut through the exoskeleton and slowly dry the ant out from the inside out.
5. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is the best fire ant killer when making a homemade solution. This is a substance that deserves a place in every home because it can be used to kill hundreds of insects and pests.
This is fossilized algae, and it’s non-toxic to humans and animals. Ants and most insects are very small, so a small, sharp crystal-like substance can rip through the ant’s exoskeleton. When ants see this substance, they’ll give it a try and bring it back to their mound to share with others.
Ants live in an orderly fashion, and their behaviors are predictable. You’ll find this substance in garden centers and home improvement stores. The best part is that you can use it as-is without any alterations to it.
The only word of caution is to use diatomaceous earth when it’s dry outside. Simply sprinkle it over the mound and repeat daily. If you have an indoor infestation, this can be used indoors, too, and with great efficiency. The only downside is that this method takes slightly longer than a robust poison, and you’ll need to reapply often just in case it rains or the wind blows it away.
The DE will rip through the ant’s exoskeleton, allowing it to be exposed and eventually die of dehydration.
Note: There are people that state pouring boiling water on the mound is effective.
Boiling water will work to kill some ants, but there is the risk that the water will hit your skin, which will result in burns. The queen, which lives deeper inside or underneath the mound, may not be reached by the water, so this method would be ineffective if the queen isn’t reached.
Keep in mind that the queen is the sole reason for a population’s growth. If the queen is killed, a new queen will need to be found. The entire ant civilization revolves around the queen as the reproducer. In some cases, a mound may have more than one queen, and additional queens need to be killed to ensure the eradication of the mound.
Queen ants are much larger than their counterparts, which is the distinguishing characteristic of the queen from her subjects.
How To Kill Fire Ants at Home
So, you want to know how to get rid of fire ants in your house? During periods of hot and dry weather fire ants may venture into your home. Even in the case of destruction of their mounds, in order to find shelter, they run into the closest home they can find.
- The first thing to do is to find their entry point and to seal it off before the army gets bigger.
- Baiting is a good method in case you don’t know the location of the mound. The worker ants carry the poison back to the nest, and the whole colony along with the queen is infected and ultimately dies. This prevents further infestation.
- Insecticide sprays work wonders, but you may need numerous applications to kill off all of the ants.
- Traps and baits are the best options you have if they are there in your house.
In Case of Lawn Invasions
Mound treatments can be applied if they have invaded your lawn. The good thing about mound treatment is that it has an immediate effect and gets rid of re-infestation. Methods such as mound drenching, mound injection, surface dust or surface granules and baiting can be applied.
Fire Ant FAQs
How Do Ant Traps Work?
Ant traps contain a liquid bait which contains insecticides. The bait is attractive to ants. It looks, smells and tastes like food. Ants will take the bait back to the colony, where they share it with other ants and the queen. After eating the bait, the ants will slowly die. Once the queen dies, the entire colony will fall.
My House Is Clean. Why Do I Have Ants?
Ants invade all types of homes – clean or dirty. Even the cleanest of homes can attract an ant invasion. If you have food and water, these insects will be interested.
It you have any tiny cracks or gaps in your foundation, walls, windows or doors, ants can find their way inside. And if they find their way to the kitchen, they’ll stick around until they have a reason to leave – no matter how clean your home is.
Why are There Ants in My Home?
Ants invade homes for three reasons: food, water and shelter. Your home provides all three. Because these are tiny insects, they can sneak into virtually any home – even new ones.
In most cases, ants are attracted to the food in your home. If your yard is hospitable, they may make a nest in your backyard, right next to a reliable food source: your kitchen.
Can Fire Ants Kill You?
Maybe, but not normally. A mobile person that is healthy can handle hundreds of stings without dying. A person that has a disease or an autoimmune issue may be a different story. Fire ants bite on a person to get a grip, and then they will inject venom called “solenopsin” into the person.
But there is 1% of the population that may suffer from a lethal allergic reaction to fire ants.
Anaphylactic shock can set in on anyone that has been bitten if they’re older, very young or has a suppressed immune system. Under normal conditions, a few stings should not cause a fire ant’s bite to be lethal.
Can Fire Ants Make You Sick?
A person that is allergic to the fire ant’s venom may become sick. Normally, a person that is healthy will feel pain from the bite of a fire ant, but they will not become sick from a bite or two.
Can Fire Ants Hurt Your Animals?
Yes, but it’s smaller animals that you have to be most concerned about in this respect. Larger animals, such as a large dog, should be fine from a fire ant bite. Smaller animals have been killed by fire ants.
This is why it’s important to know how to kill fire ants in your yard naturally.
You don’t want to use a harsh pesticide that your dog can consume in your yard. There are natural fire ant killers, and these methods should be employed before you decide to use any harsh chemicals.
Not only are natural methods safer, but these methods will not kill other beneficial insects that may be in your yard.
Can Fire Ants Kill a Tree?
It’s very unlikely. A mature tree will not be damaged by most ants, and ants may even be beneficial for the tree. What ants do is build their mound next to the tree and feed of off insects that may be harming the tree.
Some of these insects may be bad for your garden or other trees, too.
So, while fire ants may kill some small animals and humans that have a bad immune system, it’s very unlikely that they’ll cause damage to your oak or pine trees in your yard.
Can I Just Pour Gasoline on the Ant Mounds?
No, absolutely not. Yes, gasoline will kill most things that it comes in contact with, but the impact on everything else in your yard is horrible. The residue from gasoline is so harsh that it can actually seep into your ground or surface water.
Do not do it.
You’ll also cause gasoline to kill other insects, grass, plants – everything. Instead, you’ll want to follow the natural approach that we discuss earlier in this article.
My Yard’s Huge, Can I Really Afford to Treat My Lawn?
Absolutely. A lot of people are afraid because they have a 1/2 acre of space that they would like to treat. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to treat everywhere if you have an ant invasion.
I recommend starting by locating the ant mound and treating the mound first.
Otherwise, you’ll be trying to treat areas that may not be overrun by ants. Depending on the method that you use, you may also be damaging the local ecosystem by killing other beneficial bugs.
If you choose to use some form of bait to kill the ants, it should cost you around $10 to treat 1/2 an acre. You’ll spend a similar amount, or less, using the natural methods that you read earlier.
For me, $10 to make sure that fire ants aren’t continually biting my legs or ankles is money well-spent.
Identifying Fire Ants the Right Way
You have a fire ant problem, or you think you have a problem with fire ants. The truth is, you’re not a professional at identifying ants, and you want to make sure that you’re trying to kill the right ant species.
Fire ants are very invasive, and since mounds can have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of fire ants, you need to know what you’re up against.
Identifying these ants is easy.
- What’s the body of the ant look like? Fire ants are a dull red color.
- Fire ants can also be a reddish brown or reddish black color.
- Fire ants have stingers.
- The size of the ants ranges between 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch in length. Sizes vary a lot from fire ant to fire ant which is uncommon for other any species.
Another method of identification is to locate the ant mound. The best time to look for these mounds is after a day of heavy rain. Big mounds may reach 18 inches in height. You may not see ants entering or leaving the mound because they’ll make tunnels that can extend 25 feet from the center of the mound.
Local professionals may be able to help you determine if you’re dealing with fire ants or another species of ant.
Fire ants are pests, and the more you know about them, the better you’ll be prepared to get rid of them. If the infestation will not go away after trying all of the methods that we discussed, you may need to consult with a professional or choose commercial ant bait.