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How to Get Rid of Fire Ants

Updated on September 20, 2011

Fire ants are everywhere from the Southeast to the Southwest. They are so pervasive that people get used to seeing the mounds everywhere they go. Don't get so used to them that you don't try to kill them when they appear.

When you see a fire ant mound, it's easy to do nothing more than to make a mental note to avoid the mound in the future. Some people mark the spots when they appear so that family members will avoid them. However, fire ants are so dangerous that it's vital to kill the fire ants completely instead of relying on markers and luck to avoid them.

If you leave them alone, not only are they dangerous- they will spread. As new baby queens are born and raised in the mound, each will seek out its own patch of earth to create a new mound. One mound can soon lead to a massive infestation all over the yard.

Killing Fire Ants

Instead of simply marking them and then moving on, every single mound should be dealt with. To kill fire ants effectively, commercial fire ant poisons use a combination of substances to ensure that the mound will completely die off. The queen must be killed in order for the colony to die away. These include strong poisons that will kill the ants slowly. If they die too quickly, they will not track the poison back underground into the mound. With a slow poisoning, they will track it back in and pass it around, eventually poisoning the queen.

Fire Ant Poisons

These poisons also pack a little something extra to attract the ants to them in the first place. Simply placing poison may not be attractive enough to ants to get them to track them back into the mound. However, by adding some nutrients to it, commercial poisons get the ants interested and get them eating. They believe they are eating nutritious food and then lead the other ants to the poison to keep the colony fed. This leads to a massive poisoning of the mound and the death of the entire fire ant colony.

When applying the poison, be sure to protect your feet and hands from the ants. Any disturbance of the mound will entice the ants to attack, and they will do so swiftly when provoked. Wear protective clothing and keep as far away as possible from the mound.

Follow the instructions precisely- many poisons must be applied several times and at a specific distance from the mound. If told to sprinkle, don't pour. Some poisons are made to be walked through, and virtually any insect will shy away from very large doses of poison.

If possible, wear tall boots when administering the poison. Fire ants move quickly and can get inside short shoes within seconds. Tall boots will give you a few extra seconds to disengage from the ants when you are under attack.

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