Fire ants are on the march again. Here are some strategies to stop them in their tracks:
- Get them in hot water. Pouring about 3 gallons of very hot (almost boiling) water can kill an ant mound. When handling such large quantity of hot water, take precautions against burning yourself or surrounding plants. This may not totally eradicate the mound, but it’s so low-tech and low-cost that you might as well start here.
- Lay off the gas (and bleach and grits). Some home remedies, like gasoline or bleach, are not effective and can even be dangerous to humans and surrounding plants. Never pour gas or bleach on a fire-ant mound. Some people believe that tempting ants to eat dry grits or similar food will kill them because the grits will expand and rupture the ants’ stomachs. This doesn’t work because ants don’t eat any solid food during most of their life-cycle.
- Know your insecticides. The most useful chart we’ve found comes from the Georgia Ag Extension’s Fire-Ant Information page. It provides the generic and commercial names for many common products, and explains exactly how they work. Remember to follow all label directions carefully.
- Try the “organic” one-two-punch. Spread bait containing the organic bacterial insecticide spinosad (Green Light Fire Ant Control, Bulls Eye, Justice). Then drench the mound with a product containing orange oil (Citrex, Safer Fire Ant Killer, Orange Guard, etc).