Fire ants are just one of the many ant species that can invade your home. But fire ants are potentially more dangerous than most of the other ant species because they spread fast, sting hard, and are really hard to get rid of. Thankfully, there are ways to get rid of fire ants naturally.
Dangers of fire ants
If your home is suffering from a fire ant infestation, you should get rid of it as soon as you can. Here are the reasons why you should take fire ant infestations seriously.
- They breed and spread rapidly. Fire ants are actually not native to North America. They are accidentally imported from South America. But there are more fire ants now in North America because it doesn’t have the natural enemies of fire ants that have prevented them from thriving in the south. They are much closer to you than you think, especially if you live in Southeastern United States.
- They bite and sting hard. Fire ants are reddish brown or reddish black. But it’s not their reddish color that gives them their name. Fire ants are called as such because of the burning sensation you feel when they bite or sting you. The affected areas can burn, itch, and swell. They can also trigger allergic reactions that are sometimes life-threatening.
- They are not easy to eliminate. Fire ants are incredibly aggressive, especially when they feel threatened. If you try to get rid of their colony, they will definitely feel threatened and will not hesitate to fight back. Their aggression and resiliency can make fire ant infestations hard to eliminate.
How to get rid of fire ants naturally
The great thing about home remedies is that they are not as dangerous as pesticides. If possible, consider getting rid of fire ants naturally. But still, be careful. Home remedies are not entirely safe. For instance, boric acid can be toxic to humans too when accidentally consumed.
1. Boric acid
Boric acid is an effective home remedy for fire ants because of its toxic properties. Fire ants die when they consume it. But the question is, how do you get fire ants to eat boric acid? You use boric acid as an ant bait.
Simply mix boric acid and sugar. Sprinkle the combination on areas with high fire ant activity or near their colony. They will bring it back to their colony as food, killing as many fire ants in the colony as possible.
2. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is composed of fossilized diatoms, which are small aquatic organisms. Food grade diatomaceous earth is a natural remedy for a lot of pests. When pests get into contact with it, their exoskeletons dry, causing them to die.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth powder on ant trails or on areas where you usually see the fire ants. You can even sprinkle on their colonies if you want, but it may not be enough to completely get rid of a fire ant infestation. This is because diatomaceous earth won’t be able to infiltrate colonies deep enough unlike ant baits.
3. Soapy water
Soapy water is effective against fire ants. The dish soap or detergent you use is dehydrating to their exoskeletons, similar to how diatomaceous earth works. The water can also drown them out.
This method is straightforward. Mix dish soap or detergent with water in a 1:2 ratio. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray on areas with high fire ant activity. This has a similar downside to diatomaceous earth. It may not reach the deep layers of the colony where a big portion of the fire ant population resides.
Yes, you can use the very accessible vinegar to get rid of fire ants. The method is similar to soapy water. You make a vinegar-water solution in a 1:1 ratio, put the solution in a spray bottle, and spray on areas with high fire ant activity. It also has a similar downside – it won’t be able to reach the deep layers of the colony.
Another downside is that vinegar doesn’t really have the properties to kill ants aside from the fact that you can drown the pests with it. The main asset of vinegar is its strong smell. It masks the scents ants leave on their trails to search for resources effectively. This makes it harder for the ants to move around your property.
Why natural methods may not be ideal
You can get rid of fire ants with these natural methods, but their effectiveness is not guaranteed. You may be better off trying more proven methods.
- They may not completely eliminate the fire ant infestation. Sure, natural methods are generally safer, but they are inherently less effective because they are not specifically designed to get rid of ants. They are just less potent compared to what pest control professionals use and what you can buy commercially. Many times, natural methods are more effective as repellents, not as DIY pesticides.
- They may be destructive to you and the environment. Using boric acid can be dangerous, especially if you have children and pets in your household. If you read other articles online, you may also notice that some of them advise you to use gasoline and other substances. These can be destructive to your vicinity because it can pollute groundwater and soil.
- There are a lot of misconceptions on how to get rid of fire ants naturally. Many articles online recommend other natural methods, such as digging up fire ant colonies to disturb them. But these methods are not effective. Directly disturbing fire ant colonies is dangerous, and even if you succeed in ruining their mounds, the fire ants can always just rebuild if you don’t kill them.
Fire ants should be handled cautiously
Fire ant infestations are serious, so you should get rid of them immediately. However, this doesn’t mean you can afford to be reckless. Fire ants are dangerous and should be handled cautiously. Sure, there are natural methods you can use to effectively get rid of these pests. But remember that natural methods are not the most ideal of methods when it comes to fire ants.
You may want to try more proven methods, such as commercially available pesticides. If all else fails, you can always call pest control professionals.