Home & Garden: How To Get Rid Of Fire Ants

Want to get rid of those irritating fire ants in your lawn or garden? Here are a few methods you may want to try.

One of the most aggravating sites a homeowner can see when out mowing the lawn or gardening is one of those pesky fire ant mounds. They seem to spring up overnight and some get so large, you begin to wonder how you missed seeing them before. Even worse than simply spying one of these mounds in the corner of your yard is accidentally stepping in the middle of one and getting the lower half of your body bitten by these irritating insects. If you are plagued with a problem of fire ants, here are some effective ways to get rid of them.

Naturally, you can simply go to your local home and garden supply store and pick up a bag of fire ant killer. These chemical products can be applied to the entire yard or simply applied directly to the visible mounds to rid your yard of these insects. However, many homeowners, especially those who love to dabble in gardening, are not very comfortable putting chemicals of any kind on their lawns. These homeowners may want to use more organic methods of ridding their yards of the ants.

Perhaps one of the easiest methods to kill the mound and entire colony is with hot water. In a large boiling pot, heat up at least three gallons of water until the water is scalding hot. It does not have to be heated to a rolling boil to be effective. Pour this scalding water directly onto the top of the fire ant mound to kill the colony. Bear in mind that you may have to do a few applications of the hot water before the entire mound and colony is killed. Before committing to this method, you may also want to consider that hot water can kill grass, flowers and shrubs, so if the mound is in the middle of your prize-winning azaleas, you may want to consider another method.



Still another method of killing fire ants that has proven effective and that does not need the use of any chemicals is called bucketing. The process is very much like the name. Depending on the size of the mound, you will need a couple of buckets (anywhere from three to six) and a shovel. Because this method will put you in the line of "fire," so to speak, you will want to wear long pants, long socks and closed-toe shoes. Before beginning, sprinkle the inside of the buckets and the entire shovel with cornstarch or some regular baby powder. These two substances will help prevent the ants from climbing out of the buckets to safety. You will also want to be sure to perform this method during the right time of day when most of the ants are in the mound working. During the hot days of summer, the ants are usually underground and in the mound during the earliest part of the morning, while in springtime, they are usually in the mound in the mornings before noon. This method requires you to be very precise and very quick. What you will do is dig up the mound as well as two feet of the soil underneath the mound and dump them into your buckets. Only fill the bucket up two-thirds full with the soil and mound. Once the ants are swarming around the bucket and off your yard, you can either transport them to another spot away from your yard or you can fill the bucket with water and some dishwashing liquid to kill the ants.

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