Fire ants are one of my least favorite things about living in the southeast. Their mounds tend to crop up all over the place and when disturbed, the critters can be downright vicious. Over the years, my family and I have found a few ways to keep the fire ants at bay. Here they are:
Garden Rake Method
Not being big fans of pesticides, my family and I tend to shy away from using them unless absolutely necessary. As such, our main tactic for controlling fire ants has been to disturb the nests with a long handled garden rake. It doesn’t kill the ants, but if you do it often enough they’ll move on to another location. We have a large property, so as long as the fire ants stay away from the areas of the lawn that we use often, I can live with that.
Boiling Water Method
There are times, however, when the garden rake method just doesn’t work. For example, we had three fire ant nests that formed right near our front walk way. It didn’t matter how many times we took a garden rake to those fire ant mounds, they just kept returning. We eventually tried raking the mound and then immediately pouring boiling water onto the affected area. That seemed to work.
Orange Water Method
Another homemade fire ant control method that has worked for us involves oranges and water. Sometimes I’ll save orange peels and boil them in the same water that we plan on pouring into the fire ant mound. Based on my experience, the citrus oil from the peels tends to help kill the ants and encourage any survivors to move elsewhere.
Indoor Approved Sprays
During one long dry spell we had a group of fire ants that found their way into the house via the window near the kitchen sink. They congregated in the sink and seemed to be in search of water. In order to get rid of them, we had to break down and use an indoor approved, over-the-counter fire ant spray as well as apply new caulk to the window. The spray killed the fire ants that got into the house and the caulk kept more ants from taking their place.
On the few occasions that we have had to use pesticides to control fire ants, we went with a liquid one that could be used on individual mounds. It’s often referred to as a mound drench and it sometimes takes a day or two to kill the entire mound. We bought it from our local hardware store. The best time to apply such treatments varies. We applied the one we bought during the coolest part of the day. Instead of a mound drench, some folks may opt to use granules, bait, dusts or other forms of pesticides. If you feel the need to go the pesticide route, I’d suggest that you discuss it with a professional. Doing so will help to ensure that you buy the right pesticide and apply it in the proper way.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys the great outdoors with her family and has traveled extensively.
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