How to Get Rid of Fire Ants


| 7/5/2013 9:08:00 AM


Tags: fire ants, pest control, Vicki Mattern,
Small Fire Ant

How the #@!*% do I get rid of fire ants in my vegetable garden without using heavy-duty chemical pesticides? Are there any home remedies that work?

Shelve the grits, baking soda, club soda, vinegar, molasses, plaster of Paris, aspartame, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and coffee grounds! In scientific testing, none of these home remedies worked worth a lick against the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) — a nasty, non-native species that’s invaded the South, from Florida to Texas, and is expected to spread westward into California.

Although most ant species are neutral or even beneficial, this one can ruin a garden in no time by devouring germinating seeds, tunneling into potatoes and tomatoes, and girdling young fruit trees — and they’ll bite and sting you, too. Drought makes these ants even more voracious, as it prompts them to turn to garden crops for moisture.

If you have just one or two fire ant mounds in your garden or landscape and not a widespread problem, you can do a couple of things. The simplest is to pour 3 gallons of very hot water directly onto the ant mound. This method achieves only about 60 percent control, so you’ll likely have to repeat applications often. Be careful not to splash the surrounding plants or yourself.

For an even more effective way to get rid of fire ants, drench the mounds with a citrus oil and soap solution, a combination that’s repeatedly proved effective. In controlled studies conducted by Texas A&M University entomologists, fire ant mounds still showed no activity nearly a month after the researchers had drenched the mounds with a mixture of 1 1⁄2 ounces of Medina Orange Oil, 3 ounces of Dawn liquid soap and 1 gallon of water. A compound in citrus oil, d-limonene, breaks down the ants’ exoskeletons and causes them to suffocate. The commercial product Orange Guard Fire Ant Killer — approved for use in organic agriculture by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) — also contains orange oil. (For other approved products, check the OMRI website.)

If your fire ant problem is more extensive than a mound or two, step up your response with the “Texas Two-Step” method recommended by Texas A&M University extension specialists for fire ant control in home vegetable gardens and landscapes.

TheGunnySends
4/6/2015 10:00:53 PM

GLAD WE FOUND YOU FOLKS!


joseph
7/28/2014 7:56:28 AM

My wife and I had a bee house put in our yard. the man that did put it near an area that was infested by fire ants. A few days later I noticed an isolated ant hill while I was cutting grass. It seems that the ants packed up and set up shop elsewhere. Now, they are in a spot that I can try some of these methods. Also, there is a line of pines that have bag worms. the bee house is at the end of the row. There are no bag worms near those trees.


David
6/7/2014 6:34:20 PM

I am having problems in my garden with fire ants in the soil. I put down news paper for mulch and have good soil and earth worms I. Dont want to kill the worms while trying to get rid of the fire ants any help please. Thanks





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