Fire ants aren’t just an inconvenience. They’re an aggressive insect that attacks and stings when disturbed. They can also damage buildings, plants, HVAC systems, and more. If you notice signs of a fire ant invasion on your property, take action.
With this fire art treatment guide, you’ll know how to identify them, options for controlling and removing the infestation, and some home remedies to avoid.
Fire Ant Identification
There are two types of fire ants – the native and the Red Imported Fire Ant. Red Imported Fire Ants made their way from South America in the 1930s, as a stowaway in a cargo ship. Both species are commonly found in the southeastern United States, especially throughout Florida. The West Palm Beach area is no exception. Fire ant colonies are spreading since they prefer warm and dry environments.
It’s easy to confuse a red ant with a fire ant. After all, both species are similar in color, ranging from reddish-brown to reddish-black. The main difference is how aggressive they are. If you disturb a fire ant mound, you’ll see hundreds come swarming out in defense of the queen, ready to sting. If you notice small, tiny ants, those are a different species as well.
Fire Ant Control Methods
If you’ve spotted a fire ant colony on your property (or worse, in your kitchen), act quickly. Here’s what you can do:
Fire ant baits are a cheap, effective way to control fire ants. The key is to apply them throughout your property, rather than applying them only to the mounds. Ants’ attraction to the baits is incomparable to any other method of treatment. There are likely colonies just getting started that you cannot see yet. For best results, apply your broadcast baits in the early spring and remain proactive. Set your baits out when it’s not expected to rain for a few days.
If you do decide to use baits to treat individual mounds, don’t place them directly on top of the mound. Instead, spread it around the area where the worker fire ants are most likely to find it and take it back to the rest of the colony.
After using fire ant bait, drench the mounds with an insecticide. Pouring the liquid fire ant killer down inside the mound helps to ensure the queen will die. Use a rod to dig a vertical path into the mound and pour the recommended amount into the hole.
Natural Effective Fire Ant Treatments
If you’d rather use natural treatment, options include:
- Boric acid
- Diatomaceous earth
- Citrus oils
Keep in mind, however, they’ve not been shown effective at consistently killing an entire colony. As such, you’ll need frequent reapplications.
What to Do When The Fire Ants are Indoors
Fire ants are always on the move and may make their way into your home. You can use baits here, as long as you don’t put them directly in the ant trail. You can also use a commercial insecticide spray rated for fire ants.
Home Remedies to Avoid
As tempting as it may be to use something you already have on hand – these remedies aren’t likely to do much to help.
There’s a myth that suggests the fire ants will eat the grits then explode. It’s false. Ants only drink liquids.
There’s a myth that this will effectively drown the ants and solve your problem. The reality is, it may only drown a few. That just means they’ll relocate to another part of your yard.
Wood Ashes or Soap
The idea that soap or ash will remove the protective coating from the fire ants and suffocate them is a myth. It may kill a queen, but it won’t kill the entire colony. It’s the same idea as the club soda trick. If there are any fire ants left, they’ll just move to another part of your property.
Moving Fire Ant Mounds Together
The idea behind this is that single queen mounds will become territorial and attack one another. Florida is home to many multi-queen mounds, so this approach doesn’t do anything to rid you of the ant problem.
Need Help with Fire Ant Treatment In or Around West Palm Beach?
Now that you have gone through the Fire Ant Treatment Guide, get rid of those ants the right way and let the team at Florida Environmental help. If you’ve tried to handle it yourself only to find those pesky fire ants just won’t go away, give us a call. Our experienced professionals will visit your home and develop a plan of action to get rid of the fire ants for good.