If you're just moving into an area that's prone to fire ant infestations, you may not yet be familiar with the nuisance that these critters can be. Don't underestimate the hazard that fire ants can be. In fact, they can be highly aggressive, especially against things they view as threats to the colony's safety. Although there are many suggestions for eliminating fire ants from your yard, there are very few methods that are truly effective. Here's a look at several options that may help you get rid of the fire ant colony that's claimed your yard as home.
Dig Them Up
If you only have one or two mounds in the yard, digging the ants up may be the fastest and most effective way to deal with the problem. Coat the inside edges of a tall bucket with baby powder, corn starch or a similar powder product. This keeps the ants in the bucket, as they can't climb the powder. If it's summer, plan to tackle the mound in the early morning. If it's spring, you'll want to wait for late morning instead. This ensures that you're digging it up at a time when most of the ants are in the mound.
Before you start digging, secure your clothes. Tuck your pant legs into your socks, then tighten them in place with elastic straps. This keeps the ants from being able to get inside your pants or your socks if they get aggressive.
Use a large shovel to dig around the perimeter of the mound. You'll need to dig at least a foot beneath the ground level to ensure that you're pulling the bulk of the mound out of the ground. Dump every shovelful of soil into the bucket. It's usually best to have several of the buckets, just in case. Make sure that you don't fill them completely – you'll want enough space to add boiling water without overflowing the bucket. Otherwise, you risk flooding the bucket and sending the ants flowing back into the yard.
Mix a few drops of grease-fighting dish detergent with scalding water to break the surface tension of the water. Pour the water into the buckets over the ant soil. Then, leave the bucket in direct sunlight for a day. At the end of the day, dump the soil somewhere far from your property.
Scald The Mound
When you want to get rid of the ants quickly and without any chemical treatments, flooding the mound with scalding water may be the solution that you need. Heat several gallons of water until the water is scalding hot. Then, pour the water directly over the top of the mound. You may need to repeat the process a few times to completely eliminate the infestation, but persistent treatment will get the job done. Just remember that the hot water is also likely to kill any grass growing around the mound.
Bait The Ants
Baits are an effective method of ensuring pesticide distribution across an ant colony. You have many different bait options since fire ants are omnivorous. You can opt for fat-based foods to include the pesticides in, or you can mix them with sweets or proteins. This allows you to provide a variety of baits, ensuring better distribution within the colony. One common bait option is peanut butter, honey and boric acid. You can also mix boric acid in with jelly or fruit spreads for sweet bait.
With so many different options beyond the traditional broad-spectrum pesticide, you can eliminate a fire ant colony with ease. If you're not sure which of these options would be best for your property, talk with a pest control company to see how you should proceed.