How to Get Rid of Fire Ants

Three Methods:Inside the homeOutside the homeSmall outside colonies

Fire ants (also known as red ants or imported red fire ants) are not only annoying, but they can be dangerous to humans and pets. Fire ants are a devastating problem in many parts of the world, and they can infiltrate indoor and outdoor locations. This article will show you how to use different methods to get rid of fire ants both inside and outside the home.


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    Locate the ants and the ant colonies.
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    Keep family members or pets from accessing the area, as fire ants are aggressive and will attack people and animals.

Method 1
Inside the home

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    Locate the ants’ point of entry into your home, so you can seal it later. Prevent any members of your family, including pets, from accessing this area.
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    Apply any over-the-counter insecticide developed for indoor use against ants to kill ants directly. Apply product to the point of entry and to the ants’ trail.
    • Remember that some commercial products contain toxic chemicals that are damaging to people, pets, and the environment. When possible, buy environmentally-friendly products. See Organic Fire Ant Control Methods for the "Texas Two Step Organic Method of Fire Ant Control." It provides suggestions for less toxic ways to remove fire ants.
    • Test products on fabrics, wood, etc. as some products may stain or damage surfaces.
    • Do not use outdoor baits indoors, as this will attract more ants into the home.
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    Locate the colony outside, as the problem will not be eradicated until you destroy the colony.

Method 2
Outside the home

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    Locate the colony (the mound will be impossible to miss), and fence this area immediately. You need to make sure that members of your family, including pets, don't access this area as they have a higher chance of being bitten once they are close to the nest.
    • Remember to inspect bushes, pipes, or sidewalk edges as ants like to build their nests near structures.
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    Treat the colony (or colonies) with individual mound treatments or baits. You can use over-the-counter insecticides, or, for more severe cases, buy products from a professional.
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    For quick results, use an insecticide that can be dissolved in water (follow the directions on the container), and drench the mound with the product. You can also use a granular insecticide that can be applied with water. While these insecticides kill the ants that are underground, you need to apply one to two gallons of insecticide to each mound to kill the entire colony.
    • Make sure that you wear gloves to prevent chemical burns.
    • Follow directions on the insecticide labels. If you don’t use enough water, you will not exterminate the ants; they will just relocate.
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    If your fire ant problem isn’t too urgent, you can try using baits because they control colonies even when the mounds are not visible; however, it takes weeks to see results. Apply baits to the ground when no rain is expected for the next 24 hours.
    • Apply baits when the worker ants are searching for food. To determine when they are searching for food, leave a piece of food by the mound. If you observe ants around the food within 10-30 minutes, begin applying the bait.
    • Always follow the directions on the product labels. Keep in mind that it might take you five to ten weeks to see results when using baits; however, this treatment can last up to a year and is a long term solution for controlling fire ants.
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Method 3
Small outside colonies

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    Locate the mound. Fence off the area.
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    Put on protective clothing. Wear long sleeves, gloves, boots, etc.
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    Pour vinegar and baking soda into the fire ant nest hole. Do this repeatedly for a matter of days, and bait and/or spray other ants that you see elsewhere.
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    Pour a sufficient amount of commercial poison into the hole. This is to kill the queen. Then spray/bait any remaining ants that you see elsewhere.
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    Flood the hole with not only water, but vinegar and other substances. Spray, bait and drown other ants by leading them into a bucket on its side with bait in it, then quickly flip the bucket up and pour water. The water can also be mixed with hot sauce.


  • A fire ant nest usually has several entrances, so make sure you discover and treat all of them.
  • Use cinnamon or Pam Nonstick Spray on the ants.
  • If you discover fire ant nests while out walking in your city, suburbs, countryside or back country, alert the local authorities responsible for biological control. They may not be aware of the outbreak and will be keen to monitor the increasing encroachment of the ants. They will also have their own methods for repelling the ants.
  • Worldwide distribution of the fire ant is increasing as they hitch a lift in garden materials, on timber, in fruits and vegetables, etc. They have been found in the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries.
  • Consult with an exterminator if you have a serious fire ant problem.
  • Don't apply chemicals near plants. If done so, plants can absorb the bad chemicals, which leads them to either dead or unhealthy (on the verge of dying).
  • Pour salt and baking soda unto ant hills. Turmeric helps as well.


  • Do not let children play in the vicinity of these ants. Remove all play equipment, toys, and other objects if the children do not understand that they shouldn't go near them. Fence the area off, if necessary.
  • Make sure your pets are not in an area where there are fire ants; monitor your pet periodically to make sure he/she is not attacked.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds