Why DIY Fire Ant Treatments Often Fail

Fire ant season is here. Sometimes in the Lowcountry it feels like it’s always fire ant season. The ferocious, biting insects thrive when the temperature reaches 72 degrees up to 96 degrees. You’ll know if you have them in your yard; step on a fire ant hill, and you’re in for a world of hurt and painful, itchy bumps for days.

Many hardware stores sell fire ant control products for your yard. But be careful! Most of these products are only for prevention, not elimination. A quick web search on getting rid of fire ants will also give you several DIY ways to get the job done. Again, be careful! You could only make the problem in your yard worse.

Fire Ant Aggression

Fire ants are an aggressive species. They will attack a human or animal. They have jaws and a stinger on their back that contain venom. Disturbing a fire ant nest will result in an attack of hundreds of worker fire ants. Their venom causes the painful, itchy bumps that can heal in a few days to two weeks. However, for about 50% of people, they have a serious allergic reaction to the venom that will need medical attention.

Popular DIY Methods & Why They Fail

Boiling Water

This popular internet method is pouring three gallons of boiling water on an ant mound. This can eliminate about 60% of the fire ants inside, but the other 40% can go on to build a new colony, only relocating the issue. We wouldn’t advise doing this; we often hear people experience burns when trying to pour the boiling water on these mounds!

Dish Soap Spray

Here you would fill a spray bottle with water and add drops of dish soap, shake, and spray. The theory is the chemicals in the dish soap will break down the exoskeleton of the fire ant, leading the ants to dehydrate and die.

Orange Oil Mixture

  • Compost tea
  • Liquid molasses
  • Orange oil

Add one part of each ingredient into a 4-ounce container. Add 1 gallon of water into a bucket and pour the mixture into the bucket and stir. Now, ensure that you’re properly covered and dump the entire bucket onto the ant mound.

You need to be careful and ensure you’re not going to get attacked by the very angry worker ants.

Diesel Fuel or Gasoline

Some at-home methods suggest pouring gas or diesel fuel on and in fire ants mounds. While they are toxic to the fire ants, they are extremely dangerous to handle. These products will create a flammable environment where you pour it, kill grass and other vegetation around, and can contaminate the groundwater.

In fire ant control, you must kill the queen in order to treat the mounds effectively. With the queen being deep inside the mound, it is often extremely difficult to eliminate the problem fully with any of the above DIY methods.

Any time you choose a DIY treatment you run the risk of the fire ant colony splitting up and starting a new colony with a newly crowned queen ant. Any of these control methods may, in fact, cause a spread of fire ants rather than elimination!

Trust Old South Exterminators to Eliminate & Control Colonies

The only way to effectively eliminate fire ant colonies is to kill the queen. Since the queen is deep inside the mounds, reaching her can be impossible on your own. Old South Exterminators technicians use the best fire ant control products on the market to get rid of the pesky and painful problem fast. Our fire ant treatments can also come with an annual guarantee. After a professional fire ant treatment, a regular pest control service with us can help prevent future infestations near your home. Hardware store fire ant control turf builders after a professional treatment can also help with prevention. Take back your yard this summer! Choose Old South Exterminators for fire ant control.