Want to learn how to get rid of fire ants? Read this post now to discover 15 easy ways you can do to get rid of fire ants plus top 5 ways to to get rid of fire ants bites.
Fire ants do not just cause inconvenience, but they can also be harmful to both animals and humans. Before severe infestation occurs, it is important to get solutions on how to get rid of fire ants as soon as possible.
Even though we love spring and summer, bugs and other pests always find their way inside our homes. Many homeowners are suffering from the same problem, putting fire ants in their list of the most invasive insects.
Fire ants can be aggressive.
Their sting can also cause skin irritation, swelling, blisters, pain, and other severe reactions. When their nests are disrupted, these creatures attack in swarms and each ant can sting many times.
You can eliminate these pesky creatures by locating their home and applying natural or over-the-counter insecticide. This post will show you different ways on how to get rid of fire ants in your house.
- What You Need to Know
- Lifespan of Fire Ants
- Methods on How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
- 1. Boiling Water
- 2. Orange Oil
- 3. Destroy or Remove the Colony
- 4. Cornmeal
- 5. Diatomaceous Earth
- 6. Boric Acid
- 7. White Vinegar
- 8. Lemon Juice
- 9. Cayenne Pepper
- 10. Dish Soap
- 11. Over-the-counter Baits
- 12. Homemade Baits
- 13. Beneficial Nematodes
- 14. Used Coffee Grounds
- 15. Other Ant Killer Products
- 16. Call a Professional
- How to Get Rid of Fire Ants Bites
- 1. Baking Soda Paste
- 2. Oatmeal Paste
- 3. Honey
- 4. Apple Cider Vinegar
- 5. Cold Compress
What You Need to Know
The bodies of fire ants are symmetrical. They do not have internal supporting tissues and bones, but they have hardened exoskeletons that serve as a protective layer and support.
Like other types of ants, soldier and worker ants are sterile females. There are only a few males and only one is needed by the queen to produce thousands of eggs.
Fire ants do not just bite. They anchor themselves using their jaws. Using their sting, they inject venom and they can sting multiple times.
Lifespan of Fire Ants
The lifespan of workers usually depends on their size. Major workers can live up to 180 days, media workers can live up to 90 days, and minor workers can live up to 60 days. Fire ant queens can live two to 7 years and can lay up to 1,600 eggs a day.
Methods on How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
Dealing with any type of ants can be frustrating, but there are many approaches that you can try to get rid of them. Here are some solutions on how to eliminate fire ants and their colonies.
1. Boiling Water
One of the effective methods on how to get rid of fire ants in your yard is by pouring boiling water directly into the hole of their mound. With this treatment, there is no need to place some baits or use insecticide.
- Make sure that the ants around the mound are undisturbed and relaxed. If they become anxious or distracted, their queen will get away by the time you begin this treatment.
- Walk quietly and slowly to their castle. Pour 2 to 3 gallons of boiling water onto the mound. Do not follow this treatment if your children or pets have been playing in the garden or yard as the ants will already be anxious.
- Consider doing this treatment early morning. Repeat it two to three times to eliminate their colony.
When you perform this right, you will be able to kill the queen as she won’t be able to crawl fast enough from the coursing water.
2. Orange Oil
Eradicating fire ants from your lawn will take frequent applications of pesticides. If you are looking for methods on how to get rid of fire ants naturally, you can drench their mound with a mixture that contains orange oil.
- Combine 3 ounces of liquid dish soap, 1 ½ ounces of orange essential oil and 1 gallon of water. You can also use other citrus oils for this process.
- Add molasses to lure other ants that you may miss.
- Stir it well and walk quietly to their mound.
- Pour the mixture directly into the hole of their castle. This method will kill ants and will continue to be effective for hours.
This solution works because citrus oils have d-limonene extract that purges red fire ants. You can also use orange peels to prepare the mixture if orange essential oil is not available.
3. Destroy or Remove the Colony
Another effective way to eliminate the colony of fire ants is by destroying or removing it with a shovel. Before you start, apply baby powder or corn starch to coat your shovel. This will prevent fire ants from climbing towards you.
- Make sure that you also wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into your socks to prevent raging fire ants from biting.
- Prepare some buckets to place the colony into it so you can remove or destroy it with homemade pesticide, boiling water or over-the-counter insecticides.
- Another effective way on how to get rid of fire ant hills is by dumping them on another mound. If you see many of their castles around the area, you can dump a colony to another. They will start fighting each other until they die.
When doing this process, dig down below to get all of them. You may also consider spraying citrus oil around the area to prevent other ants from escaping. Dig up the soil when most of the fire ants are in their nest.
Another suggested treatment to kill fire ants in a non-toxic way is cornmeal. It does not work like a poison, but these creatures are attracted to this and won’t be able to digest it properly.
- Spread some cornmeal near their castle, entryways, and other areas where you always see fire ants.
- Ants should take the cornmeal and ingest it for it to be effective. They usually find cornmeal enticing enough, and they consume it. If they do not find it appealing, try to mix it with some sugar.
Fire ants won’t die instantly after ingesting cornmeal, but they will die after a few days due to starvation. More ants will also die when workers take the cornmeal to their hiding area.
5. Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is one of the best solutions on how to get rid of fire ants in the yard. This talc-like powder is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.
The microscopic sharp edges of diatomaceous earth can penetrate through the exoskeleton of ants, which will absorb their bodily fluids and leave them dehydrated.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth directly into the hole of fire ant mound.
- Consider sprinkling some DE around the mound and other areas where they usually go.
- Keep the powder dry for it to remain effective. Follow this treatment once daily.
This treatment is usually used in controlling different types of insects, such as fleas, ants, bed bugs, termites, and roaches.
6. Boric Acid
Wiping out an entire colony of fire ants can be difficult. Luckily, you can use boric acid to kill these pesky creatures.
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Add sugar and boric acid powder. Mix it well to dissolve.
- Pour this solution directly into their nests. Make sure that they are not disturbed as they will attack if they notice any danger.
- Cover the surrounding areas to make it impossible for fire ants to escape.
- Repeat this method two to three times.
This solution will kill or damage fire ants on direct contact. Survivors will also die once they clean themselves.
For best results, locate all their nests beforehand. If they have another entrance, they may escape and your hard work may be for nothing.
7. White Vinegar
White vinegar is also one of the effective ways on how to get rid of fire ants in garden naturally. Before performing this method, check your plants around the mound as some are sensitive to vinegar.
- In a spray bottle, combine one-part water and two-part white vinegar.
- Shake the bottle to mix the solution well. You can add a few drops of citrus oil for additional effects.
- Spray the solution around and directly to the mound as many times as needed. Observe the behavior of fire ants to make sure that they are dying slowly.
- You can also spray this solution around entry points to prevent fire ants from entering your premises.
In case of large mounds, pour ¼ cup of undiluted vinegar directly into the hole of their castle two times a day.
8. Lemon Juice
If you are looking for a natural method to kill these annoying creatures, lemon juice is one of the most effective solutions on how to get rid of fire ants in the house. This home repellent will also prevent these critters from invading your home and property.
- Squeeze out the juice out of two to three lemons.
- Pour the juice into an empty spray bottle.
- Use this to spray on areas where you often see fire ants.
- Follow this treatment several times a day to keep them at bay.
You can also scatter some slices of lemon peel around your house and garden for several days until all ants are gone.
9. Cayenne Pepper
Fire ants and other type of insects detest cayenne pepper, making it one of the natural ways on how to get rid of fire ants. It is a good way to kill and repel them, especially if ants are invading your property.
- Look for the source of infestation and sprinkle cayenne pepper around the area.
- Create a barrier around infested areas by sprinkling enough amount of pepper.
- Prepare a cayenne pepper spray by dissolving pepper with water. Use this solution to spray directly on crawling fire ants.
Another method is to combine equal amounts of turmeric powder and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle it around all access points.
10. Dish Soap
Liquid dish soap also works as insect repellent. It contains certain chemicals that can suffocate these ants, leading them to their early demise.
This method is also useful for killing cockroaches and other types of ants.
- Mix one-part dish soap with two-part water.
- Transfer the solution into a spray bottle.
- Shake it well and spray it on holes and other infested areas.
Alternatively, you can add one teaspoon of dish soap in one cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and pour this solution directly into the mound.
11. Over-the-counter Baits
Baits are ideal for scavenging ants who take the product back to their mound.
The entire colony, including the queen, will feed on the bait. This will reduce the number of fire ants and eliminate the entire colony eventually.
You may need to apply baits a few times for large mounds. Some products that you can use as bait include:
- Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait Zoecon Fire Ant Control
- Advion Fire Ant Bait
- Amdro Fire Ant Bait Granules
- Advion Fire Ant Bait
- Ortho 0259010 Fire Ant Killer Mound Bait
Do not use these baits indoors as these products will lure ants inside your home. Make sure that you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Be cautious when using this treatment, especially when there are small kids and pets playing around.
12. Homemade Baits
Another natural way to get rid of fire ants is by preparing a tempting treat that is not too strong so that there is a chance for working ants to bring the bait back to their nest. This trick also gives you an opportunity to kill the queen.
Some of the recipes you can try to poison these pesky creatures include:
- Mix two tablespoons of boric acid, two cups of sugar and one cup of water. Put the mixture in small saucers and set it up near their mound.
- Alternatively, you can mix two tablespoons of boric acid with honey, jam or maple syrup to make a paste. Place this bait near the entry points.
- You can also use the mixture of peanut butter and two tablespoons of boric acid. Put it on small plates or pieces of paper and leave it near their mound.
- Another effective recipe to get rid of their entire colony is by combining one tablespoon each of sugar and yeast, and two tablespoons of molasses.
Working ants will bring the poison to the rest of the colony. During treatment, make sure that you keep small kids and pets from the bait as it can be harmful if digested.
13. Beneficial Nematodes
Beneficial nematodes are microscopic organisms that can kill fire ant workers, larvae, and queens. This treatment is also used for eliminating termites and carpenter ants.
- To control small colonies, pour nematodes into a bucket of water.
- Mix it well and let it sit for 20 minutes.
- Stir it again as nematodes will sink to the bottom.
- Pour it directly into the mound.
This treatment works best in small mounds or colonies. You may be required to use other solutions for several weeks to exterminate the entire colony.
14. Used Coffee Grounds
Another simple way to get rid of fire ants is by using your used coffee grounds. After enjoying your coffee, don’t throw coffee grounds but save them instead.
You can use it to eliminate ant hills in your garden and their nest will be filled with dead ants within a few hours.
- One of the best ways on how to get rid of fire ants permanently is by pouring boiling coffee directly into mound.
- Another option is to simply pour used coffee grounds into the hole. These creatures will die when they eat it.
You can also spread some coffee ground around areas where you want to repel ants as they hate the strong scent of brewed coffee.
15. Other Ant Killer Products
If you are still having problems after trying some of the natural solutions above, you can purchase ant killer insecticides to destroy the mound and the fire ant queen.
Some of the best products to get rid of these insects include:
- Ortho 12-Ounce Orthene Fire Ant Killer
- Bayer Advanced 502832 Fire Ant Killer Dust, 16-Ounce
- Spectracide Fire Ant Killer Mound Destroyer Granules
- TERRO T600 Ant Killer Dust
- Bifen I/T Insecticide
Before applying any chemical insecticides, read the instructions provided by manufacturer carefully. Keep small children as well as pets away from the treated area. Be mindful of the side effects of the product.
16. Call a Professional
In case of severe infestations and recurring problem, it may be best to get help from an expert. They have the right devices and knowledge to eliminate different types of insects.
Professional exterminators will assess your situation and perform the right solution to get rid of the issue.
How to Get Rid of Fire Ants Bites
Getting rid of fire ants normally takes some time, so it’s suggested to be ready for their stings. Fire ants attack in groups and cause an intense burning sensation in their victims.
While the pain doesn’t last for long, it causes severe itching that you’ll want to get rid of immediately.
Below are some of the most effective natural remedies for dealing with fire ants bites.
1. Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is capable of neutralizing fire ants acid which makes it an excellent combatant of fire ants’ venom. As it is applied on a bite of a fire ant, it relieves itching and inflammation immediately.
- Prepare the paste by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with sufficient amount of water.
- Mix them together well and a paste will form. If too dry, add more water into the mixture.
- Apply the paste on the bites.
- Let it sit for 15 minutes and proceed to rinse with cold water.
Repeat the process after an hour if the effects of bites persist.
2. Oatmeal Paste
Oatmeal is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-irritating agent that offers instant benefits when used for treating fire ants bites. It is also rich in soothing properties and helps alleviate itching caused by the bites.
To prepare an oatmeal paste, grind oatmeal and add sufficient amount of lemon and honey. Apply this mixture on your bites and wait for at least 20 minutes before washing it off.
Often used in numerous home remedies, honey presents an effective solution for dealing with fire ants bites. It is rich in moisturizing and soothing properties.
It is also a natural anti-inflammatory agent that reduces swelling and itching caused by ants’ venom.
- Apply raw honey on the areas affected by the bites.
- Leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
- Rinse it off using cold water.
As the honey is able to draw toxins from the wounds, you might consider reapplying it if the bites’ symptoms persist.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re still wondering how to get rid of fire ants bites, apple cider vinegar (ACV) might be the answer. ACV neutralizes the fire ants’ poison and relieves the bites from itching.
It is also an antiseptic agent capable of preventing infections resulting from the bites.
- Spread raw, unfiltered ACV on and around the bites using clean finger or a cotton ball. If your skin is very sensitive, you can dilute it by adding more water.
- Wait for half an hour and then rinse the bites with cold water.
- Pat dry the wet areas and apply mild moisturizer to prevent excessive skin dryness.
5. Cold Compress
Another effective home remedy that reduces itching caused by fire ants bites is cold compress. The cold numbs the affected area and brings down the swelling.
- Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth or towel. Don’t use ice directly on your skin as it may cause frostbite.
- Place the compress on the affected areas for no longer than 5 minutes.
- Take a 2-minute break before adding the compress on the bitten area again.
- Repeat the process as necessary.
If you also experience vomiting, diarrhea, hives, difficulty breathing or nausea, seek medical attention right away. Bites and stings of fire ants can be dangerous for those who are sensitive if the allergic reaction is not treated.
Before making a plan to eliminate fire ants, it is vital to identify them properly so you can implement a working solution. Some types of ants are beneficial and may eat other harmful insects.
If you are uncertain, you can call an expert for correct identification.
Always consider the weather when preparing baits as some will be ineffective when washed away by the rain or when the temperatures are extreme. Use insecticides with caution and keep your children and pets away from treated areas.
With these solutions on how to get rid of fire ants, you can minimize their damage and protect both humans and animals in your premises. Pick one or combinations that suit the situation.