The red imported fire ant is an invasive pest living in the southeastern United States. These ants came to the United States in the 1930s from South America.
This aggressive species has a painful sting and can harm humans and animals.
Many Do It Yourself (or DIY) tricks for how to control fire ants exist, but it’s worthwhile to examine each method to determine whether they will work before attempting them.
Sustainable Fire Ant Control Approaches
There are a lot of sustainable methods to deal with ant colonies in your yard when it comes to hands-off removal.
Long Residual Contact Insecticide Treatment (Granular Baits)
Granular baits contain small amounts of food along with an insecticide. After using these properly, you’ll achieve around 80% control of the population.
You apply granular baits to ant mounds or the entire area. These treatments are individual mound treatments and broadcast treatments.
Broadcast treatments use tools like a hand-powered spreader to efficiently distribute ant bait over entire lawns. Individual mound treatments typically have you applying the product to each mound. The slow-acting insecticides take weeks or months to work. They use growth disruptors to gradually eliminate the colony.
Least Toxic Pesticides
Methods of how to control fire ants can include toxic pesticides, but some are less toxic than others.
Fenoxycarb, Methoprene, and Pyriproxyfen
These pesticides take care of pests by impacting egg production and worker ants. With fewer eggs, the colony will start to die. They work as an insect growth regulator when applied.
Avermectins inhibit nerve function and work like insect growth inhibitors.
Hydramethylnon and Sulfluramid
These two pesticides prevent ants from converting their food into energy, thus killing them.
Organic insecticides are another option to consider. Ensure the products are certified by OMRI when buying to ensure they are organic.
- Organic insecticides have the following active ingredients:
- Diatomaceous earth
- Boric acid
- Nicotine sulfate
They work to kill insects and function in similar ways to non-organic pesticides.
Physical Fire Ant Control Treatments
If passive treatment fails, it may be time to use a hands-on approach.
Mound excavation will get rid of the colony all at once. You dig up the mound so that the ants have to relocate.
To prevent being attacked by ants, apply baby powder to the shovel you intend to use and stay back as far as you can.
- Easy to do
- Effective for small colonies
- It may require more than one attempt
- Less effective for large colonies
- You may have to dig at least three feet down
Using scalding water (over 190ºF or 87.78ºC), pour it into the mound to kill the ants. There is only a moderate success rate for this method.
- Only costs the price of water and electricity
- It may not work on the first try
- Risk of injury to yourself
Individual Mound Drenches
Drenches are similar to the water method. Usually, you pour a liquid containing insecticide into the mound to kill ants on contact.
- They are highly effective at killing fire ants
- If you miss any ants, they can start a new mound
Fire Ant Control Myths: Ineffective DIY Treatments
There are a lot of DIY treatments that will not work but still get spread around.
Club soda is carbonated water. People think it kills ants because it produces a lot of bubbling when poured onto a mound. In reality, most ants can survive underwater for a while.
Another false DIY trick. The grits are supposed to expand when eaten, causing the ants to explode. However, worker ants cannot eat solid foods.
Mound shoveling is taking one mound and shoveling it onto another to get the ants to kill each other. It does not work.
Wood Ashes or Soap
This method is supposed to strip away the protective wax layer on an ant and kill them. It’s not proven to work.
Safe & Effective Fire Ant Control in Canoga Park
So, how to control fire ants? Bugs A to Z is the answer. If you are looking for safe, effective, and lasting treatments to remove fire ants, you’ve come to the right place!
Our team of expert Canoga Park pest control technicians uses top-of-the-line substances and tools to rid your property of any pest problem. We use only non-invasive methods, practice green pest management, and provide integrated pest solutions. With Bugs A to Z, say goodbye to your fire ant problem today!