How to Get Rid of Fire Ants in Your Garden

When you notice the first signs of fire ants on your lawn or garden, there is no time to waste! Fire ants spend months of hard work building their mound, encroaching your lawn from below. These tiny intruders have no respect for boundaries—that is why you need to act fast and find the best way to kill a fire ant mound to prevent infestation.

If you have a fire ant infestation, chances are, you will discover it the hard and painful way. Known for their painful bites, one step on or near the fire ant mound can threaten fire ants, triggering them to attack, leaving multiple painful fire ant bites on your leg.

How to Identify Fire Ants

Take action immediately when you see fire ant mounds

When it comes to identifying fire ants vs red ants, it can be quite puzzling. Fire ants can be red ants, but yet other red ant species cannot be categorized as fire ants. Here are some of the facts that will help you identify fire ants from the regular red ants.

  • Characteristics

Unlike other ant species, fire ants have 2 bumps, known as petioles, located between their thorax and abdomen. They also have an elbow found in their antennae, like other ants. However, a fire ant’s antennae are quite unique as each antenna consists of 10 distinct segments, with the elbow located in the first segment and the remaining segments starting after the bend.

  • Habitat

Fire ants build their mounds in sunny areas. The size of a typical dome-shaped fire ant mound can be as large as 18 centimetres tall and 61 centimetres wide. Fire ants tend to be least active during the hot afternoons and dislike darkness and shade. That is why they are often seen in open fields and lawns than in forests. Infestation can rapidly occur since fire ants can rapidly multiply in an undisturbed mound, sending more queens to start new mounds nearby. A single colony has more than 200,000 fire ants.

  • Behaviour

Although fire ants look similar to other ants, they have distinct behaviour. Compared to other ant species, fire ants are known for their aggressiveness. When you disturb their nest, fire ants will quickly attack and put up a fight against their aggressor.

To know if it is a fire ant nest, use a long stick or a shovel to poke the mound and quickly move away to prevent the ants from crawling to the stick and getting to you. If it is indeed a fire ant nest, the ants will immediately swarm to attack. Other ant species do not respond as quickly as fire ants. When disturbed, fire ants climb vertical surfaces, so make sure to watch out for grass blades, sticks, and other debris near the mound.

  • Diet

Fire ants are omnivorous creatures that feed on a wide variety of foods, including insects, plant nectar, honeydew, fruits, seeds, and dead animals. Foods high in fat entice them the most. Make sure to store your foods properly and clean kitchen tops and tables to avoid attracting ants.

Home Remedies that Eliminate Fire Ants

Boric acid poisons fire ants, killing them instantly

Nobody wants to have fire ants around their property as they can be a harmful nuisance, especially if you have small children or pets. However, you do not need to rely on harmful, over-the-counter insecticides to get rid of them. There are many safe ant control home remedies you can find on the Internet.

Here are several helpful nontoxic ant killer tips to keep fire ants away from your lawn or garden without any use of dangerous chemicals:

  • Dish Soap/Liquid and Water

Mix 1 part of dish soap and 2 parts of water in a spray bottle and shake the solution well. Spray it generously on the ants to suffocate and kill them.

  • Cayenne Pepper

Add 4 slices of cayenne peppers and powdered cayenne into a quart of boiling water. Transfer the cayenne pepper water solution into a large glass and let it sit for 24 hours, allowing it to steep. Remove the cayenne peppers and use liquid to eliminate the ants.

Sprinkle powdered cayenne around the mound. Since ants do not like walking over powdery substances, this technique prevents them from escaping the colony. Pour the cayenne water solution into the mound to kill the ants and make the mound unlivable again.

You can also store the solution in a spray bottle and use it on ants crawling around your home.

  • White Vinegar and Water Solution

Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on the ants. Since vinegar does not give off an unpleasant smell after it dries up, spray it on cracks and gaps in the floors and windows to deter the ants from coming into your house.

  • Lemon Water

Mix an equal amount of water and lemon juice and spray the mixture on high-traffic ant areas like trails and entry points. However, you need to consistently spray the area to successfully deter fire ants.

  • Orange Oil and Dish Soap Mixture

The compound in oranges called d-limonene, which gives the orangey scent, can suffocate and kill fire ants. Dish soap also has the same effect on these pesky insects. Mix orange oil and dish soap with water to create a deadly fire ant-killing concoction. Pour the mixture on the mounds early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the fire ants are most likely to be in their colony.

  • Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth has powdered fossilized diatoms which can dehydrate insects. Sprinkle them on ant trails. Walking over the powder can scratch the fire ant’s waxy outer coating on their exoskeletons, causing their bodies to eventually dry out.

  • Boric Acid

Another safe fire ant treatment you can use in your home is boric acid. When ingested, it can poison the ant, killing them instantaneously. Sprinkle the boric acid powder in areas where fire ants are frequently found. You can use mix boric acid with corn syrup or sugar to make boric acid sugar traps and pour it over cardboard pieces to attract and trap fire ants.

  • Essential Oils

Spraying essential oils indoors and outdoors where you can see fire ants also helps keep the fire ants away. Although we find essential oils fragrant, ants hate them. Mix 10 drops of essential oil with a cup of water and spray it on ant trails and on the mound. Here are some essential oils that you can use to deter fire ants away:

    • Peppermint oil
    • Lemon oil
    • Lavender oil
    • Cedar oil

When it comes to effectively getting rid of fire ant infestations in your lawn or garden, your best bet is to contact pest control in Vaughan and leave the job to the pro. Call JDM Pest Control today at (416) 729-3568 to book our ant control services. Let us help you eliminate fire ant infestation on your property using the most effective and safest methods!