The red imported fire ant is common across North America and can cause havoc around homes in the spring, summer, or the fall.
Not are they just a pain around the yard when kids are playing, they can begin to invade houses in their search for foods.
Fire ant infestations can make things dangerous as they can sprout up quickly, and when they bite and sting, they do in a swarm.
Fire ants love eating insects and other foods so that they will make a line right to the kitchen.
This leaves homeowners needing a way how to get rid of red ants most quickly and safely if there are pets and children around.
Here we will look at how to get rid of fire ants in the house and the best way to get rid of ants in your yard, so they don’t come back.
Getting Rid of Fire Ants
Before looking at the most effective two-step-method for getting rid of fire ants, homeowners need to know the extent that fire ant colonies can reach.
A single queen colony can have between 40 and 150 individual mounds per acre. Separate queen colonies will be territorial, while if there are multiple queens, they are not. It is this reason why there is an increase in numbers.
There are many fire ant treatments, yet these can be toxic. Ones that use an insect growth regulator will take time before they affect.
In most cases, homeowners are looking for fast-acting solutions, and luckily, there are some easy ways to do this.
Here are some natural methods used to clear an infested area:
- Cayenne Pepper: Boil a quart of water and add two to four sliced cayenne peppers into a heatproof container. Pour over the boiling water and let it sit for 24 hours. Sprinkle powdered cayenne pepper around the mound and pour the water (peppers removed) onto the mound. You can add this mix to a spray bottle for in the home.
- Diatomaceous Earth: This works in the same way as dish soap and causes ants to dehydrate because of their damaged exoskeleton.
- Dish Soap: This contains chemicals that are harmful to ants. They break down the outer parts of the ant’s exoskeleton and cause them to dehydrate. This is an ideal method as a spray for ant entry points.
- Lemon Water: Mix equal parts lemon juice and water. Spray this on high ant traffic areas. This takes repeated sprays to stop them using the trails.
- Vinegar: Mix equal parts vinegar, baking soda, and water. You can either spray this onto traffic routes or pour it on the top of the mound. This won’t kill the ants; it just makes them move so you can tackle the fire ant mound.
These can be quick fixes to get rid of ants, yet they are not sufficient for an infested area.
It is the two-step method, which is the most effective. This includes the following:
Baiting – can be effective yet takes a long time on its own (3 weeks). Additionally, if it rains, it can wash away the bait and render this method ineffective at getting rid of fire ants.
Drenching Mounds – Fast acting and can kill fire ants in 1 – 24 hours. The downside is you will be close to fire ant nests and may be bitten. Also, each mound has to be tackled separately.
Laying Traps for Fire Ants
Here is an effective way of using baits but with natural methods rather than commercially bought products.
Make Traps: These are easy to make, and it works better if you make several at once. Take some corn syrup or sweet sticky liquid and some boric acid.
Mix equal amounts of boric acid and syrup. Around 2 tablespoons will suffice. The mixture needs to be thick and sticky. Spread this over your card pieces.
Place traps: because they contain boric acid, keep them away from food, and where children and pets can get them.
Place them wherever you see the ants going in their search for food. You will see the number of ants reducing over the first week, yet this won’t be enough to kill the entire nest.
Cornmeal and Borax traps: To work alongside the above traps, you can use these to help kill the larvae in the nest.
Worker ants eat liquids rather than solids. Mix borax and cornmeal with a drop or two of water, then place this where you see ants.
The workers will carry this back to the nest where the larvae eat the borax tainted corn grits. This is converted into liquid, which they then use to feed the workers.
This can be an excellent ant treatment for yard use, yet it still takes time.
Tackling Ant Nests
The best way to get rid of fire ants quick is to use the fastest method of all. This can be the second step after using the above traps for several days.
The safe and organic way is to boil several gallons of water as hot as you can get it. You then approach the ant nest and pour the boiling water on the mound. You will need to be sure there is no chance of being bitten.
This is the best fire ant killer when you want it done fast. It does, however, only kill a proportion of the nest and may not kill the queen.
Check over the coming days. If you see ants coming back, then you may need to repeat this.
While it appears calm, you can poke the mound with a stick to make a larger hole. You can pour the boiling water here or add plenty of baking soda followed by vinegar.
Killing Fire Ants with Fire Ants
One final way is useful if you have a neighbor who has the same problem. Using fire ants against each other is effective if they are not of the same colony.
This takes two individuals, some baby powder or cornstarch (ants won’t walk over powder) and a couple of shovels.
Douse the shovel handles in the powder, and then each dig into your ant mount.
These shovels should contain as many ants as possible. Quickly dump these on each other’s ant nest, and then sit back for a couple of days until the ants fight among each other and kill off the queen ants from each colony.