How To Get Rid Of Fire Ants Home Remedies Permanently, Fire ants can be an incredibly harmful nuisance to have around your home and garden. If you’ve got pets or small children, you might not be comfortable with your average over-the-counter insecticide. Here are five ways to eliminate fire ants this season, without using dangerous chemicals.
- Cayenne Pepper
Make your own ant-eliminating solution with boiling water, four sliced cayenne peppers and powdered cayenne pepper.
First, bring about a quart of water to a boil. Then, put two to four sliced cayenne peppers in a large glass jar and pour the boiling water over them. Let this mixture sit for 24 hours so it can steep, then, remove the hot peppers and get ready to eliminate those ants.
Ants hate walking over powdery substances, so, first sprinkle powdered cayenne pepper around the colony to prevent them from escaping. Then, pour the cayenne water into the ant hill. In addition to killing the ants in the colony, it will also make the ant hill unlivable.
You can also put your mixture into a spray bottle to spray any ants you find around the home.
- Lemon Water
Mix some lemon juice with an equal amount of water and spray the mixture on any high-traffic ant areas like trail or entry points. You’ll have to be diligent and spray the area consistently for this method to have any effect.
- Vinegar Solution
Mix equal parts vinegar, baking soda and water and pour the mixture into the ant colony or spray it in high-ant-traffic areas. The strong scent of vinegar will repel the ants, but you may have to smell the vinegar for a short period of time.
This mixture will not kill the ants, but it will get them out of your home, and out of their nests so that you can destroy it.
- Dish Soap
Dish soap or detergent is harmful to ants because the chemicals in them can break down the layers of the ants exoskeleton. This causes the ants to dehydrate. Mix dish soap or detergent with water in a spray bottle and apply the solution at any common ant entry points.
- Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth contains the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. Basically, this powder scrapes against the exoskeleton of the ants and causes them to dehydrate and eventually die due to loss of inner body fluid.
Accidentally introduced from South America in the early 1900’s, red imported fire ants are currently found in 13 Southern states and Puerto Rico. They are well-known for their venomous sting and will aggressively attack anything that disturbs their mound. Fire ants can sting repeatedly and cause medical and agricultural problems to people, pets, livestock and wildlife. They will also wreak havoc on local ecosystems. Studies show that populations of ground nesting animals (song birds, snakes, rodents, toads and lizards) are reduced by more than half shortly after their arrival.
Imported fire ants (1/8 – 1/4 inch long) are reddish brown to black in color and look very much like ordinary ants. They are social insects and build mounds of loose soil, resembling gopher diggings, rarely larger than 18 inches in diameter. Mounds are often numerous and can quickly spread over an entire yard. Each mound may contain up to 300,000 ants.
Note: Fire ants are attracted to electricity and have been known to damage air conditioners, heat pumps, transformers and more.
Fire ants are social insects and live in colonies with three distinct types of adults, called castes. Queens are larger than other ants and are responsible for egg laying. Some colonies have only one queen, whereas others have many. Males are responsible for mating with the queens; they do not participate in any other activities. Workers are sterile wingless females. They make up the bulk of the colony and are responsible for building and defending the nest, caring for the young and foraging for food.
During the spring and summer, winged males and females leave the mound and mate in the air. Fertilized females (queens) shed their wings, burrow into the ground and lay eggs to begin a new colony. After about 30 days, the eggs hatch into “maggot-like” larvae. These are cared for by the queen until they pupate approximately 1-2 months later. Within three weeks, the pupae transform into adult “worker” ants which begin collecting food for themselves, the queen and for future generations of larvae. In the late fall, numerous small colonies appear, many of which will not survive the winter unless the weather is mild.