Fire Ants Still
There you are
wandering around your yard when all of a sudden, bam! your feet feel like they are on
fire. You look down and see hundreds of fire ants injecting their venom into you and
thoughts of grabbing the gas can and torching their mounds sounds like a reasonable idea.
Well hold on there, you can't do that. It is way too dangerous. Try
some of these ecological controls instead.
One of the most effective new biological fire ant treatments is a
nematode, Neoaplectana carpocapsae. In trials, one application of
these critters had inactivated about 80% of treated mounds in 90 days. You may be
able to find this control at feed & tack stores or garden supply centers.
Another control said to be successful is to mix together one gallon of
orange or grapefruit juice, 2 gallons of water and a dash of dish soap or peppermint soap
and dump it on the mounds on a sunny but cool day.
Prevention / Sanitation and Habitat Reduction should not be
overlooked. Remove mulch, food sources (especially cooking oils and grease),
garbage, manure, fruits and nuts, debris, pieces of lumber, old equipment, weeds and
grass; elevate bee hives; caulk and seal or fill with aerosol foam insulation all open
voids, cracks, crevices (in houses, barns, etc.); quickly remove dead animals and hay
bales; regularly mow and trim; where you want to keep them out, lightly dust their
possible entrances with talcum powder, medicated body powder or Comet® or smear petroleum
jelly or Tanglefoot® where you want to capture them and prevent their entry. You
can also use WD40 or vacuum up fire ants where it is not safe to
use hot water or other controls.
Natural diatomaceous earth with pyrethrin, e.g.,
Perma-Guard® can be dumped around
fire ant nests to control them. The diatomaceous earth supposedly scratches the
ants' exoskeletons and dehydrates them while the pyrethrin is a natural poison which works
to help put out the ants' fire.
A home brewed poison of sugar, ammonia and pine oil mixed 1 oz. to a gallon and
then poured directly on the nest is said to work.
Boiling up a large pot of soapy water (3 - 4 oz. liquid dish or peppermint soap per
gallon for a total of 3 - 4 gallons) with one or all of these ingredients: Vitamin C,
ascorbic and citric acid, orange juice, pine oil, citrus oils, sugar, white vinegar and
ammonia and pouring the mixture on each nest in the yard, repeated daily as needed, is
said to be effective also. The oils in citrus peels are very effective on ants that
contact them - but they break down quickly, so cover the nests well with them.
10% sugar and 1% boric acid or borax liquid baits left for the ants to consume may
eventually work but this method may take 3 - 4 months to obtain control.
Also try sliced raw fish soaked in a 5% - 10% boric acid bath for 10 minutes. Or
bacon grease which has 1% boric acid or borax liquid added. Do not apply these baits
if the ants are not actively foraging.