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How to Get Rid of Fire Ants

Last Updated: 05.12.23


Fire ants can be killed by using bait that they can take back to the colony, given that the ultimate goal is to get rid of the queen. Mound treatments are also a good solution, lawn treatments can keep your property free of fire ants for an entire season, but choosing a natural ant killer might be a better solution if you have children and pets. 

When people refer to fire ants they might not be aware that this name actually describes several species of such insects that belong to the Solenopsis genus. On the other hand, this category includes over 200 species that live throughout the world, and fire ants are only a minority. However, there are some particularities when it comes to this type of ants. 

Fire ants, also known as red ants, are known for building large nests that are both irregular in shape and flattened. These colonies usually measure somewhere between 2 and 4 square feet, so you can only imagine the number of ants that live there. Such ant homes are usually found around shrubs, potted plants, and trees. 

While they usually live outdoors and prefer soil in landscaping or near structural foundations, fire ants can make their way into homes as well, especially by using the AC units and the HVAC systems. In fact, this is a particularity of ants in general. If they think a hospitable environment awaits them inside a building, they will do everything possible to get there. 


Are they dangerous? 

Going back to fire ants, if they do find a way to get into your home, they can become an issue. While usually, ants are not necessarily aggressive, as long as they can get on with their lives, they can take measures if they feel that their colony or life is threatened, which is what any living creature does. 

Fire ants can cause humans some problems. Even though some refer to their attacks as bites, they don’t actually bite, but they do sting. If a human disturbs their nest, red ants will take all the necessary measures to prevent this from happening, which in their world means that they are going to try and climb the individual to sting him or her. 

Needless to say, such a sting is not at all pleasant and it can actually be quite painful. It’s often followed by a white pustule. The bad news is that people who accidentally step onto a nest are usually stung multiple times, as more than one ant attacks. If we’re talking about someone who is allergic to such stings, then the situation might get more serious. 



How can you get rid of fire ants? 

Fire ants are by far one of the least popular types of insects, given that their stings hurt quite a lot, so if you do see them hanging around your house, you might want to figure out where they come from and take the necessary measures to get rid of them. This is especially important if you also have children and pets living in your home. 

They might find themselves under attack and not even know what hit them if they accidentally find the colony. Therefore, in these lines, we’re going to see what the potential solutions are if a colony is indeed present next to your home. 

Some of the most popular solutions include broadcasting fire ant bait and using lawn treatment. If you are not sure what type of product you should buy and how to use it, don’t hesitate to go to a local specialized store, where you are going to be able to get all the necessary tools, as well as receive professional advice from the staff. 

On the other hand, if neither method does the trick and the ants are still hanging out in your backyard, but now they are rather pissed as well, then the infestation might be bigger than anticipated, so calling a specialist might be a good idea. After all, he or she can provide all the details on the necessary next steps, taking into account any particularities of the case. 


Fire ants and bait 

If you do want to give bait a try first, then keep in mind that you should broadcast it while the ants are foraging, which means that during the summer months this means the evening, or even during the night. You should place some bait next to each mound that is present around your property. 

Normally, the ants are going to take the bait in as little as 30 minutes, but you should know that the substance is specially designed to act slowly since it needs to target the queen as well. Make sure to follow the instructions provided with the substance, as this ensures its effectiveness, but also protects you and your family from any misuse that could be hazardous. 

The same instructions should let you know how much of the bait you should place and where. After this step, the next step is using a mound treatment, and this should take place 7 to 10 days after having used the bait. You should sprinkle the treatment in full circle around the mounds, again making sure that all of the safety instructions are followed. 

The way these treatments work is that they contain acephate, and this substance acts slowly to eventually kill all of the fire ants. If they eat the poison and then share it with the queen, then the entire colony has a high chance of being wiped out, which is the ultimate goal. One important aspect is to pick a sunny day, given that mound treatments don’t work if they get wet. 

Moreover, each individual mound needs to be encircled with the treatment, and you can easily pick up the substance from local gardening stores. If you want to make sure that you are doing a thorough job, you can go for a lawn treatment as well. 



A bit about lawn treatments 

If you don’t want to deal with fire ants almost at all throughout an entire season, then you can opt for an effective lawn treatment. You can use a push spreader that gets the granules of fire-ant killer all over the lawn, making sure that all of the areas are covered. This is important for the treatment to be effective. 

Applying the granules by hand is a difficult and less effective job, so don’t expose yourself to both the effort and the risk of not having it work. Instead, make sure that all of the instructions provided with the treatment are followed and if you don’t have the right push spreader to get the job done, you can ask the store if they have any solution, as chances are they might actually do. 

If you don’t intend to get rid of every insect out there, and you only want to have the fire ants out of your property for the season, then you should know that some lawn treatments are friendlier, being safe for native ant species. On the other hand, for serious infestations, don’t hesitate to call a specialist, given that professional treatments might be the right answer. 


Are these fire ants? 

While many people fear fire ants, there are so many species and types when it comes to these insects, that you need to first make sure that you know what creature you are dealing with. Fire ants are known for their red or brown colors, while the length of their bodies ranges from ⅓ to ¼ inches. 

In the United States, fire ants are commonly found in states such as Arkansas, Alabama, California, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and many others. Tennessee and Texas fall into this list as well, but if you want to know if any infestation was reported in your area, the local administration might be able to help with more details. 

You should also look for disturbed soil that looks rather fluffy on your lawn, as this might indicate that a mound is there. These are usually a few inches tall and have no opening on the surface. If there is heavy rain in your area, it usually takes fire ants around 2 or 3 days to form the mound, given that the soil can be easily maneuvered. 

Make sure that your children are well informed about the dangers of disturbing a mound, and if you feel that you should take protective measure before dealing with a potential infestation, you might want to wear boots and also keep the pants well tucked into your socks to keep these little creatures from deploying a personal vendetta against your skin. 



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