Summertime is the perfect time to enjoy your garden, but if you’ve got the issues of fire ants invasion, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. These annoying insects can swarm and sting, leaving you with painful red welts on your skin.
Annually, fire ants sting millions of pets, wild animals, and people in their households. That is why you ought to understand how to fight them back.
Their searing (despite the name of these species) bites can be quite painful. They habituate mostly in the southern states of the US. Bear in mind that fire ants normally bite when their vast nests are ruined or severely disturbed without caution. That is what the National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims.
The NIH also predicts that this nasty insect species may cause billions of dollars in losses in the agricultural market annually. And it doesn’t even include the medical expenses for people who seek treatment because of being bitten.
In this blog post, gardening experts will discuss how to cope with fire ants in your garden using natural methods. They’ve tried to pick the safest techniques to protect you, your family, and your pets. Stay safe this summer and keep those annoying fire ants at bay!
How Can You Recognize Fire Ants
Learn to differentiate them by the look
Fire ants, like many other species, are difficult to differentiate from one another since they share features with less hostile ants. Initially, there’re red fire ants and black fire ants.
In appearance, red ants are of a beige/tan color that is easy to see through their translucent bottoms of brownish-black shades.
On the contrary, black fire ants look fully black without different shades of colors.
The most common variety is black – however, it can also be red or brown.However, fire ants may drastically vary in size depending on their colony type and location.
Learn to differentiate their mounds
A fire ant mound is small, only reaching about 18 inches (45 cm) in diameter and 12 inches (30 cm) in height. The center of the mound is where the queen resides.
The outer edges are where you’ll find the worker fire ants caring for larvae, gathering food, and maintaining the nest .
You can find fire ant mounds anywhere there’s loose soil, including open fields, parks, gardens, pastures, and lawns.
They are typically located close to trees/bushes/shrubs since worker ants use these objects as landmarks when they venture out to forage for food.
Learn how they behave
Fire ants are usually more active in the morning or late afternoon. The insects build a mound on the ground. But remember – these ants are aggressive to humans and pets that disturb their nests/mounds.
Fire ants, unlike other ant species, behave in a peculiar way. Common fire ants are noted for the aggressive nature in comparison to other ant species. When you damage or ruin their nests, fire ants will severely fight back against their attacker.
To determine if it’s a nest, insert a long pole or shovel into the mound and quickly back away to prevent the ants from coming to the stick and harming you . In a case, you’ve discovered the nest with the ants inside they will surely swarm and destroy it.
Interesting fact: other ants don’t react as rapidly as fire ants when attacked. When harmed or alarmed, only fire ants are capable of climbing vertical surfaces. That is why it is necessary to keep an eye out for grass blades and debris around the disturbed nests because they may attack from these locations.
Be prepared to treat the bites and stings
Fire ants have a stinger on their abdomen that they use to inject venom into their prey. The venom is a protein-based alkaloid toxin.
While the stinger is not barbed, it can penetrate human skin.For some people, this reaction is minor, but for others, it can be severe and cause anaphylactic shock.
If you are severely allergic to the stings by fire ants, you may experience such symptoms such as hives, swelling of throat/tongue, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and nausea within minutes after being bitten or stung.
Fire Ants Vs. Red Ants: Major Differences
Fire ants are typically less harmful than red ants because they tend to be much bigger. Red ants (sometimes they are called as carpenter ants) also can bite and sting if they feel threatened, just like aggressive insects. But the key difference from fire ants – they do not swarm. Basically, it means that a colony of red ants won’t rush to attack a human or animal once their nest is disturbed.
Fire ants do congregate in flocks, and thousands of fire ants may swarm their target before biting simultaneously.
Red ants prefer to dwell in trees and other readily available wood, such as woodpiles or even the wood in buildings. Also, red ants tend to be more active during nighttime.
Locating The Fire Ant Nest
The first step is to locate the fire ant nest. This can be tricky, as they often build their nests in hidden or hard-to-reach places. However, there are a few signs that can help you narrow a few telltales down the search area.
Look for large mounds of dirt near where you’ve seen fire ants before. These mounds can be up to 18 inches tall and contain thousands of ants .
Fire ant nests also typically have a small hole in the center of the mound. If you see this, it’s a good indicator that there is a nest nearby.
Once you’ve located the nest, it’s time to start thinking about how to get rid of it.
How Can You Cope with Fire Ants Using Pesticides
The first step is to identify the areas where ants are most active. These will be locations where you see the most ant hills. Once you’ve found these hot spots, broadcast a dry pesticide over the entire area. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package, as different products have different application rates.
After broadcasting the pesticide, water it in lightly with a garden hose. This will help the chemicals penetrate down to where the queen is located. The treatment will take a few days to work, but you should start seeing results within a week .
In a case the infestation is rather small, you may need the spot treatment for standalone mounds. You may use an aerosol spray with pesticides. Directly pour the solution straight onto the mound. Then drench it until the solution begins running off.
A liquid pesticide is usually a more efficient approach to cope with fire ants. This chemical poison may quicker penetrate the nest than any other remedy (for example, the popular method – boiling water).
Liquid solutions are frequently highly concentrated so make sure to dilute before using.Tyoically, it is enough to apply at least 2-3 gallons of the diluted solution, as directed by the manufacturer, to drench the whole anthill. A good product may destroy on contact and also leaves active residue behind that kills other ants as soon as the insects enter/leave the nest.
Keep in mind, though, that this approach is just as hazardous as the boiling water technique since the designated ant eradicator must get within range of the nest to pour the solution.
You might also accidentally spatter the insecticide on your body or splash it in your face.
Use the Services of a Professional Exterminator
If you have a large infestation of fire ants or you just don’t feel comfortable dealing with them yourself, the best solution is to call in a professional exterminator.
A professional will be able to quickly and efficiently get rid of the ants for you. They will also be able to provide you with advice on how to prevent fire ants from coming back in the future.
Exterminators usually charge by the hour, so expect to pay around $100 for their services. But it’s worth it to get rid of these pests once and for all.
Fire ants are a menace in any garden. But with some effort, you can get rid of them for good. Whether you opt for a broadcast treatment, mound drenching, or calling in a professional, getting rid of fire ants doesn’t have to be difficult. Just be patient, persistent, and careful, and you’ll soon have your garden back.
Natural Remedies to Cope with Fire Ants
Use Boiling Water
It is the simplest and typically quite effective method to cope with fire ants. All you require is a pot of water to boil and then pour it directly over the nest/mound. The heat will kill the insects instantly.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
This is a natural substance that can be found in most hardware stores. It works by dehydrating and killing the fire ants. Simply sprinkle it around the perimeter of your garden and on any mounds that you see.
The soapy water may suffocate the insects and kill their swarm quickly. Simply mix a few drops of concentrated dish soap with water in a spray bottle. Then you should spray it directly on the mounds.
Natural Ant Baits
Another alternative to expensive and poisonous pesticides is making a natural ant bait.
Use honey, sugar, with some Borax for this purpose. These ingredients will surely lure the ants in and kill them instantly.
Dish Soap And Water Mixture
Pour dish soap or any liquid soap into the water. Doing this will create a barrier on the surface of the water that ants will not be able to cross. This method can be used to keep fire ants away from your plants and garden.
Simply sprinkle some salt around the perimeter of your garden or directly on the fire ant mounds. The salt will kill the ants by dehydrating them.
Cayenne pepper is another natural substance that can be used to cope with the invasion of fire ants. Simply sprinkle it around the perimeter of your garden or directly on the fire ant mounds. The pepper will irritate the ants and cause them to leave the area.
White Vinegar And Water Solution
Mixing white vinegar and water together creates a solution that can be used to get rid of fire ants. The vinegar will kill the ants and the water will dilute it so that it is safe to use around plants.
Lemon water is another effective way to get rid of fire ants. The lemon will kill the ants and the water will dilute it so that it is safe to use around plants.
Orange Oil And Dish Soap Mixture
Mixing orange oil and dish soap together creates a mixture that can be used to get rid of fire ants. The orange oil will kill the ants and the dish soap will help to spread it around.
Boric acid is a natural substance that can be found in most hardware stores. It works by dehydrating and killing the fire ants. Simply sprinkle it around the perimeter of your garden and on any mounds that you see.
There are a number of essential oils that can be used to get rid of fire ants. Some of the most effective include peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemon. Just mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and spray it directly on the fire ant mounds.
How To Prevent Fire Ants
How To Keep Fire Ants Out Of Your Yard
A few things you can do to keep fire ants out of your yard:
- Keeping your lawn mowed and free of debris;
- Eliminating standing water sources;
- Trimming back trees and bushes near your home;
- Sealing cracks and crevices in your foundation and exterior walls;
How To Keep Fire Ants Out Of Your Home
A few things you can do to get rid of them in your home:
- Catching them with baits and traps;
- Drowning them with soapy water;
- Freezing them with ice cubes;
- Smothering them with diatomaceous earth;
- Vacuuming them up;
How To Keep Fire Ants Out Of Electrical Equipment
Another way to keep fire ants out of your home is to prevent them from getting into electrical equipment. This can be done by:
- Keeping equipment clean and free of food and water sources;
- Sealing cracks and crevices around electrical boxes;
- Trimming back trees and bushes near electrical equipment;
- Replacing damaged or missing insulation;
You can also try a combination of these methods to get rid of fire ants for good! Prevention is always the best cure, but if you find yourself dealing with an infestation, be sure to take action quickly to get rid of fire ants before they cause any more damage.
What kills fire ants immediately?
A number of pesticides can kill fire ants, but the most effective and fast-acting option is to use an insecticide that contains the active ingredient Pyrethrin. Pyrethrin is a natural compound that comes from the chrysanthemum flower, and it’s very toxic to insects. You can find Pyrethrin-based insecticides at most hardware stores or online.
Another option is to pour boiling water directly onto the fire ant mound. This will kill the ants, but it may also damage your lawn or garden. So be careful when using this method!
What natural thing kills fire ants?
There are a number of natural substances that can kill fire ants, including vinegar, lemon juice, and soapy water. You can also try sprinkling cayenne pepper or cinnamon around the perimeter of your garden to deter fire ants from entering.
How does vinegar get rid of fire ants?
Vinegar is an acidic substance that can kill fire ants by disrupting their digestive system. When fire ants consume vinegar, it breaks down the lining of their stomach and causes them to die. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for this method. Pour the vinegar directly onto the fire ant mound and wait for the ants to die. This may take a few hours to a few days.
Does salt kill ants?
Many home experts advocate mixing up a potent salt solution and spraying it directly on the ants as a way to get rid of them. Salt is a desiccant that dries out the exoskeletons of insects, causing them to die .
Does bleach kill ants?
Yes, bleach can kill ants and other pests. However, it’s important to use a diluted solution of bleach and water so that you don’t damage your garden plants. To make a diluted solution of bleach, mix one part of bleach with nine parts of water.
Then, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and apply it to the fire ants’ nest. This will kill the ants and their eggs.
You can also use this method to get rid of other pests, such as cockroaches and spiders. Just be sure to keep children and pets away from the area until the solution has dried.
Will Dawn kill fire ants?
Yes, dish soap can kill fire ants. Just like with bleach, you’ll want to use a diluted solution of dish soap and water. To make a diluted solution of dish soap, mix one part of dish soap with nine parts of water. Then, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and apply it to the fire ants’ nest. This will kill the ants and their eggs.
You can also use this method to get rid of other pests, such as cockroaches and spiders. Just be sure to keep children and pets away from the area until the solution has dried .
Will citrus oil kill fire ants?
Citrus oil can be effective in killing fire ants. To make a citrus oil spray, mix one ounce of citrus oil with two cups of water. Then, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and apply it to the fire ants’ nest .
Useful Video: How to Kill & Get Rid of FIRE ANTS! A Long-Term Solution