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What Do Fire Ants Eat?

Last Updated: 05.02.23


Out of all species of ants, fire ants are amongst the most dangerous because they multiply quickly, and can cause a lot of damage. You’ll most likely need professional help or a pet safe ant killer to get rid of them since they are resilient, omnivorous creatures that feed on almost everything.  

Fire ants have become one of the most detested pests in the United States and keeping your property safe from them doesn’t come easy or cheap. If you want to get rid of them for good, you must first understand their behavior, what they eat, and how they spread. Let’s take a closer look at these insects, and find out the safest and most efficient ways to remove them from your property. 


How do you identify fire ants?

Fire ants are easy to spot due to their appearance. Unlike most other types of ants that are black, fire ants have a reddish-brown color and measure between ⅛ and ¼ inches in length. Therefore, they are bigger than most other types of ants. 

Unfortunately for you, fire ants can build mounds in all types of soil, although they prefer sunny areas like fields, parks, and lawns. If the soil conditions are good, the mounds can grow up to 24 inches in height, which makes them even easier to spot. Often enough, you can find mounds around trees and stumps, inside rotting logs, and even under buildings. 



Are all fire ants identical?

There are several species of fire ants found all over the United States, and some of them are even indigenous. However, the Red Imported Fire Ant is believed to be the most dangerous. It was introduced into the United States by accident in the 20th century through a port in Alabama and, ever since, it has spread into more than 15 states, from the South-East to the South-West part of America. 

The Red Imported Fire Ant is considered a major pest in the southern part of the country because it reproduces itself rapidly, and has an aggressive swarming behavior. Besides, its sting is painful and can cause allergic reactions in humans. 

Some of the states that deal with this type of fire ants on a current basis include Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and parts of California. 

It is also more aggressive than other species and this is why it poses a threat to the public health system. It is estimated that around 20 million children and adults are stung by the Red Imported Fire Ants annually, with severe cases requiring special treatment. 

Similar to bee stings, fire ant stings are not only painful but, in some cases, lethal. 

If you are bitten by a fire ant you should treat the infected area as any other insect bite or sting. Use over-the-counter products or rubbing alcohol to clean the wound and prevent infections. If you notice abnormal swelling or any other symptoms like nausea, vomiting or headaches, you should immediately head to the nearest hospital and ask for professional help. 


What do fire ants eat?

Fire ants base their diet on both liquids and small particles of solid foods. They are omnivorous insects, eating almost anything, both animal and plant foods. The working ants pass food from one another to feed queens and larvae by mouth. 

Fire ants thrive on carbs (sugars), proteins, and fats. They can eat almost anything, from smaller arthropods like ticks and spiders to honeydew, sweets, oily seeds, earthworms, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and any type of meat. Unfortunately, fire ants also pose a threat to crops as they can feed on germinating seeds of soybeans, sorghum, and corn. 


How to prevent fire ants from your place?

It is always better to prevent these insects from turning your house into their playground than eliminate existing colonies. As with many other insects, the first thing you need to do is make sure your house is clean at all times. 

Bear in mind that fire ants eat about any type of food, so you shouldn’t keep anything out in the open on your kitchen counters or in the sink. Make sure to vacuum the carpets and wash the floors regularly to prevent dirt, debris, food scraps or crumbles from piling up and becoming an attractive source of nutrients for ants. 

Another way to prevent fire ants is to broadcast specific ant bait. You can find various effective baits online but, no matter your choice, don’t forget that you should broadcast them in early spring, before ants start forming new colonies. Reapply the bait during fall to ensure its continuity all-year-round, especially if you live in areas with warm temperatures in all four seasons. 

The science behind ant traps is rather easy – the bait kills the ant queen once the workers gather it and bring it inside the colony. Any mounds that might survive should be handled individually by pouring some bait around their base. There are also plenty of ant repellents that can be successfully used to get rid of mounds on your lawn or around your house. 

Granular insecticide is less effective but could work on small colonies. Similar to ant baits, you have to broadcast it in the spring and fall. However, unlike regular baits, you need to water the insecticide to be effective. 

Each time the granules are moist, they release a small portion of insecticide, which makes them useful in the long term. In addition, they are less harmful than regular pesticides, so they can be used in households with small children and pets. 



What are some fire ant remedies that won’t work for your yard?

There are hundreds of ways and ingredients that can be used to eliminate fire ants but exactly how many of them are working? According to most people who tested them, here are some of the remedies that promise much but don’t deliver, just like your ex. 


Diatomaceous earth

This product is extremely popular due to its almost universal power against various pests, including roaches, yellow jackets, regular ants, bedbugs, ticks, and others. 

The white, powdery substance is made from the fossils of microscopic sea creatures and can kill many types of pests by dehydration. Although diatomaceous earth may be efficient against ants, including fire ants, the problem is that it will rarely reach the queen. It won’t be efficient if it gets wet, meaning you cannot sprinkle it on the lawn. 


Boiling water

Boiling water may kill some of the fire ants, and even destroy one of their mounds but the queen and the rest of the workers will build a new mound right after. 

Obviously, you won’t be able to use boiling water inside your house either, so you can say goodbye to this “miraculous” solution, unless you want to turn your living room into a giant, hot bowl of soup. 



Orange peels

They may be effective when it comes to repelling regular ants but it takes more than the sweet smell of the holiday season to remove fire ants once and for all. 

Citrus oil might repel ants and other creatures but the peels won’t do the trick. In fact, since fire ants can eat almost anything, you might end up providing them with a great source of food and even invite more of them to join the party. 


Gasoline or diesel fuel

Desperate times seek desperate measures, right? Wrong. We cannot even begin to understand why you would consider gas as a solution to get rid of fire ants. Unless you’re positive you will cash in on your house insurance policy, you might want to rethink the whole idea of starting a huge bonfire in your backyard. 


Club soda

You might kill a few ants by drowning them and suffocating them but you’ll need serious stocks of club soda to keep on doing this every single day. 

Don’t forget that a fire ant colony can count for thousands of members, and we’re not sure your regular Walmart store supplies enough bottles of club soda to invite these insects over for drinks. 

Take it from the Southern folks – there are other ways to eliminate fire ants from your household once and for all but they don’t include the use of sparkling water, diesel fuel or a sweet mixture of orange peels and cinnamon that smells just like Christmas. 




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