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How do I Choose the Best Method of Fire Ant Control?

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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2018
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Fire ants are found in both indoor and outdoor settings, and they can become more than just a nuisance, leading to a potential health hazard. The best method of fire ant control is often a choice made based upon lifestyle, environment, family and pets. There are chemical, as well as natural, pest control methods that all work toward fire ant control, and each person must decide which method is the best one to apply to his home and property.

Fire ant treatment is usually chemical in nature. Besides posing a threat to those who come in contact with the pesticides, certain products for indoor use may actually increase the population of fire ants around the home. Fire ant bait, for example, is a slow-acting chemical pesticide that the ants bring back to their colony. Because the ants believe it is a food source, the number of ants entering the house may increase, also increasing the likelihood that a family member or pet will be stung.

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Indoor fire ant control should focus on figuring out whether the fire ants are truly nesting indoors, such as in the walls or flooring, or if there is a nest elsewhere and they are entering the house for food. Locating the outdoor nest is of utmost importance. The nests look like small mounds of soil, and they are typically found in areas that receive direct sunlight and go undisturbed for long periods of time. The queen fire ant lives in this nest, and she is the only ant capable of breeding and creating new fire ants. If it is discovered that fire ants are not merely entering a house to seek food, then the aid of a professional exterminator is recommended.

In the case of outdoor nests, after the mound or mounds are located, liquid or powdered fire ant killer can be applied directly to the nests. With this method of fire ant control, any surviving ants will migrate and create satellite nests within 10 to 15 feet (3.05 to 4.57 meters) of the original mound. Re-treatment with the fire ant killer may be necessary.

Of the natural methods for fire ant control, pouring boiling water on the mounds has proven to be the most effective method. Much like chemical insect control methods, once the main nest has been destroyed, the surviving ants will form satellite colonies within feet of the previous one. This is a temporary solution, and does not inhibit the breeding of the queen ant if she survived the first attempt at eradication.

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Sporkasia
Post 3

I have used several different types of organic and chemical fire ant control methods and products. I had a friend who assured me that sprinkling grits on the mounds would work. Supposedly, the ants eat the dry grits and once the grits get in the ants' digestive systems the insects explode. Didn't work with my fire ants, but I have heard several people say it worked for them.

The easiest to use chemicals I've tried are the little pellets that you sprinkle on the mound and just leave there. However, I bought a product that used smaller grains of the chemicals and I had to sprinkle water on them. With these, I had less new ant hills after I treated the original ones.

Drentel
Post 2

I haven't had a problem with fire ants in my house, but outside is a totally different story. After a rain storm, during the summer and spring the fire ant mounds can pop up by the dozens from one day to the next. Each time I cut my lawn I am struck by how many more mounds are there.

Have you heard the expression "You can't beat him. You can only hope to contain him?" Well, it's used in sports a lot and it also suits a battle with fire ants. If I treat the mounds with fire ant control products each time I mow then I can keep them contained. If I miss a week and it rained that week then it's like starting over.

Animandel
Post 1

I didn't know fire ants would nest inside a home or any building for that matter. That is a scary proposition. As difficult as it is to keep them out of the yard, I would not like to think what I would have to do to get rid of them once they got set up inside the house. After all, household ant control can be challenging enough with the small and all but harmless wood ants.

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