Fire ants are a common variety of fire ants that can commonly be found under large stones or paving slabs around your garden. However, these harmless-seeming critters can deliver a painful sting when threatened or disturbed, so finding a colony in your garden or stragglers in your home means you’ll probably be looking to kill fire ants fast to save yourself some trouble.
When it comes to getting rid of ants, many of the methods are the same, so one treatment can generally be used on all varieties of ants, from getting rid of flying ants to getting rid of carpenter ants. However, knowing which type you are dealing with will allow you to better target your treatments to most effectively kill or deter ants.
Here, we have discussed how to kill fire ants and how to recognize a fire ant infestation in your home and how to prevent fire ants so that you are prepared for any infestation that may threaten your property.
How to kill fire ants
Ants are incredibly intelligent creatures, so you should only kill fire ants if they pose a threat to you or your property. Ants inside your home should be attended to quickly, however fire ants in the far reaches of your garden should be watched and only removed if they start wandering into your home or threaten the well-being of pets or children with their stings.
You can identify fire ants by their reddish-brown bodies and darker head. They may also appear slightly larger than your normal black ant.
How to kill fire ants in your garden
Getting rid of fire ants in your garden is easier than removing an infestation that has entered your home, however it should be done with caution. Angry fire ants can deliver a sting, so be sure to take proper precautions when dealing with these fiery bugs.
1. Plant insect-repellent plants
Fire ants have a strong sense of smell and there are many smells that ants hate that will help deter them from your garden.
“Plants like mint, chili plants, basil, lavender, and eucalyptus can help deter ants,” says Rachel Crow, garden editor at Houses and Gardens. “You can also try spraying lemon or garlic scents around your garden, as these are also natural ant repellents.”
2. Use boiling water and soap
One of the most effective ways to kill fire ants is to rinse them with soap and boiling water. This method is useful as it can also be used inside the house due to the lack of chemicals.
If you can locate a fire ant nest, pour boiling soapy water into the entrance to kill many fire ants at once. It’s best to pour water into all the inlets you can find for best results. You may need to repeat this a few times to get rid of all the ants, but it can work against all varieties of ants, just like getting rid of sugar ants.
3. Use white vinegar
White vinegar is another common household product that can be used to kill a variety of insects and bugs. Just like using boiling water and soap, pour a quart of white vinegar directly into the nest to kill fire ants.
White vinegar is perhaps a safer option than boiling water as it is not harmful to plants or the soil even though it can kill fire ants on contact. Boiling water, on the other hand, while effective, could burn your plants or their roots.
4. Combine boric acid and sugar
‘Boric acid is one of the most effective methods of killing fire ants,’ says Rachel, ‘mixing it with sugar creates an irresistible paste for fire ants who will carry the mixture back to the nest. Once ingested, the ants will die, allowing this method to quickly eliminate large colonies.’
Mix boric acid with sugar little by little to form a thick paste before placing small amounts of the paste around the entrances of the ant colonies.
5. Put diatomaceous earth
Although diatomaceous earth can be used indoors, it is best used outdoors to kill fire ants. This silica is a non-poisonous way to trap and kill fire ants in larger areas of your garden as it does not harm plant life.
Spreading this gritty powder traps ants and lacerated bodies, drawing out moisture to dehydrate and eventually kill them. As this powder is an irritant, be sure to avoid breathing the powder or getting it on your skin by wearing a mask and gloves while applying it. Once spread, keep pets and children away from the area.
How to kill fire ants in your house
Killing fire ants in your home can be made more difficult by the need to preserve your furniture and appliances. Fortunately, there are some easy methods that can help kill fire ants naturally that you can try before having to call an exterminator.
1. Sprinkle cornstarch
Cornstarch is readily available in grocery stores, making it easily accessible and often cheap. If you have visible fire ants crawling around your house, sprinkle the powder over the ants to suffocate them from a distance. Once they have stopped crawling, simply use your vacuum to clean up the ants and cornstarch.
2. Make a natural pesticide with neem oil
“Neem oil is a gardener’s best friend,” says Rachel. ‘This simple oil is an excellent natural pesticide that can be used to combat a variety of pests, including ants and fire ants, while protecting your best indoor plants and furniture.
‘When using neem oil, you can dilute it in a spray with water to make a homemade insect repellant, although undiluted neem oil will work better against fire ants.’
3. Consider commercial repellants
If homemade or natural repellents haven’t worked to get rid of fire ants or kill them, consider using a commercial repellant or bug spray to eliminate your ant problem. There are many non-toxic chemical sprays available, such as Raid on Amazon. (opens in a new tab) however, its use can be dangerous in homes with small children, people with respiratory difficulties such as asthma, or pets, so it should be used with extreme caution in accordance with product instructions.
4. Use baking soda and sugar
If you don’t want to put boric acid in your house, using baking soda to kill ants can be an effective alternative. Mix equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar and place the mixture in your home where you know fire ants are frequently active. Like boric acid and sugar paste outside, fire ants will be attracted to the sweet smell and will carry the powder back to their colony where, once ingested, the ants will die.
5. Call an exterminator
If your fire ant problem is proving difficult to eliminate, or they’re causing damage to electrical appliances, it may be time to call in a professional who can handle the situation safely and effectively, as well as provide you with personalized advice on how to prevent an infestation. in the future.
How to know if you have a fire ant infestation
A fire ant infestation presents itself in the same way as a normal ant infestation in your home. However, the most obvious sign of fire ants is seeing some of the bright-bodied insects in or around your home. “If the ants are outside your house, it can be easy to ignore them as if they’re just passing by, but pay attention to the direction they’re traveling,” advises Rachel. “If they’re walking in a line to your house or crawling up your walls, these ants may be living inside your property.”
Outside your home, you may notice small mounds of dirt that may be the opening for an ant nest. Watch the hole closely for ant activity, but avoid disturbing it to avoid angering these biting pests.
“Fire ants can also feed on houseplants, so leaf or stem damage, especially on young plants, could also be a sign of infestation if other common houseplant pests are ruled out,” Rachel continues. “In addition, these ants have been known to chew through the insulation on electrical wiring, possibly causing damage to your electronic devices and household services. Any electrical malfunction is a sign that the fire ant infestation has safely established itself and a professional should be called in.’
You may be able to hear the ants that live inside your inner walls if you put your ear to the wall and listen carefully. Little crackling sounds are an indicator that ants are traveling through your house internally or even living there.
How to prevent fire ants
Just like why ants enter the house, fire ants enter a house looking for basic necessities and often don’t mean to be there. To avoid fire ants, therefore, you should look to eliminate food, means of entry, and shelter to deter them from making a home in your house.
Be sure to store food in airtight containers, dispose of food waste properly, and clean up spills right away. Using smart cleaning tips will help you stay on top of home cleanliness to prevent bug infestations. You should also avoid leaving dishes in the sink or on the counter overnight when possible.
To prevent ants from getting in in the first place, it is recommended that you seal any cracks or holes around your property, as well as getting rid of water bugs, as well as sealing gaps around windows and doors. Consider using a screen on open doors and windows in the summer to prevent insects such as fire ants from easily entering.
Finally, remove easy shelters such as firewood stored on the ground, remove tree stumps, and regularly tidy and clean your garden ideas to remove debris that could provide an ideal shelter from the elements for fire ants.
What kills fire ants instantly?
One way to kill fire ants instantly is to use boiling water and liquid dish soap. This solution can be easily used both around the house and in the garden to instantly eradicate stubborn ants when needed. Simply pour the soap and water on the ants or in the mounds to instantly eliminate the ant infestation.
Do red ants bite?
While fire ants don’t bite, they can cause a painful sting if disturbed. These bites can cause a burning sensation, itchy welts, or even blisters. These bites, while uncomfortable, can usually be treated with antihistamines and bite creams at home. However, if you are allergic to fire ant stings, they can cause more serious effects, and emergency care is recommended if you have signs of a severe or even life-threatening reaction.