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Fire Ant Season is Here! How To Get Rid of The Smallest Beast with the biggest bite.

Updated on August 10, 2016
The ring of fire ants
The ring of fire ants | Source

The little Beasts are back! At least for the Summer!

The best part of winter is, not having to cope with fire ants. The colder the weather the deeper underground they go.

The carnivorous insects are back and just waiting for you, or me to step on or near the mound.

Using a weed trimmer is the fastest and easiest way to find them, expect to see fire ant mounds after you have hit them, especially if the grass is high, and you have a volcanic eruption of fire breathing, biting insects. (They are not really fire breathing, but if they bite you, it feels like it.) And to some people fire ant bites/stings can be deadly.

Don't socialize in my House, and don't socialize in my back yard.

Once you understand, how smart these little fire ant critters are, then you can just imagine what we humans are up against. I read an article, saying they are the smartest insect of all the species. The article stated that they have about 250 thousand brain cells. The article also stated that the fire ants are so smart they grow their own food. The ambitious fire ants know how to grow aphids for the sweet secretion they produce, that they, the fire ants can feed on.

According to ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2007) — Aphids are subdued by chemicals on ants' feet with which are used to tranquilize and keep them prisoner, in order to harvest, and feed on the aphid's sweet secretions.

Some fire ants steal pupae from other species of ants and make them slaves when pupae hatch.

It is impossible to eradicate ants, all we can do is try to control them.

It is impossible to eradicate ants.So what do we do? We try to control them.One article stated that cornmeal would kill the fire ant colony if it is sprinkled around the mound.I will try that, but do not see how that will work.Another article stated that: You can make a bait station with something sweet, maybe honey and sprinkle with Borax, which is toxic to ants and relatively safe for humans, and in another article, it states that fire ants or any ant species will just go away if you use vinegar for cleaning as the little beast can't stand the smell or the taste.How do they know that about vinegar?

Per Wikipedia: The fire bites only to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom called solenopsin, a compound from the class of piperidines. For humans, this is a painful sting, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by Fire—hence the name fire ant—and the after effects of the sting can be deadly to sensitive individuals. The venom is both insecticidal and antibiotic.

Symptoms of severe allergic reactions to fire ant bites or stings include: severe sweating, difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, nausea, swelling, and slurred speech. If you have these symptoms they can be fatal if not treated. Some or all these symptoms are indicative of other problems or conditions.

Can you imagine if the little beasts were human size?

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    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 17 months ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for the comments. Yes these little beasterds (purposely spelled that way) are back with a vengeance.

      Yes your directions were spot on, we were a few minutes late but that is fine with hubby who would rather be an hour late then ten minutes early and I would rather be an hour early then ten minutes late.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 17 months ago from North Texas

      Must be time for these creatures to be out and about expanding their little worlds. Seems like they're taking over more and more all the time. Sharing this great article again.

      Hope you and John got to where you had to go OK. THI was 106 when you were here and rose to 109 before 6 PM. Hope everything worked out OK and that you'll have a cool peaceful night to get rested up.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 20 months ago from Texas

      Paula, thank you a bunch, I really appreciate you, thank you for the comment.

      The first year we were here my husband thought he got poison oak and had to go to the doctor, but we found out later it was "fire ants" we were told to go to the fire station to get poison for them. I thought it was a joke but then I found our that it was true in 1986 because the infestation was so bad.

      Blessings and Hugs dear Paula

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 20 months ago from Texas

      Au fait, Thank you for the comments and for sharing.

      I dread trying to eradicate these little beasts from my yard.

      I just resent the e-mail we were talking about, but I did send it to the right e-mail address so now maybe you will get two.

      I hope all is well with you!

      Blessings and Hugs dear friend

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Shyron, as always, another very well written & educational work. How can something so tiny be so dreadful & destructive! The photo of that leg covered in bites looks very familiar. After all these years, I finally know what attacked me. Amazing.

      I believe around here they're referred to as "red ants."

      Have a great week-end Miss Shyron.....Peace, Paula

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 20 months ago from North Texas

      With all this rain we're getting I would think these ants would be swimming. I know they burrow deep, but water goes pretty deep too. Regardless, they'll soon be out in full force again. Sharing.

      Hope all is well with you and John and that you're managing to stay warm and dry. Never got the emails you sent. Wondering where you sent them, if you used the right address.

      Blessings and hugs, dear friend. Take care . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 23 months ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for the comment, and for sharing.

      Yes the little beast are out today. Hope all is well with you and you are keeping dry, it is raining right now.

      Blessings and hugs.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 23 months ago from North Texas

      One nice thing about cooler weather is that fire ants aren't usually out and about. Of course these last few days haven't been cool enough to keep them in their burrows. Sharing this again.

      Hope all is well. Take care . . .

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      I guess fire ants are getting ready to hibernate for the winter. Not here in Texa of course, where it never gets cold, but further north. I understand the ants can now be found in Canada. Sharing this again of course.

      Hope you're having a good day and enjoying some cooler weather, and also that the issues we talked about the other day with the developers, etc., are going to come out better than you're expecting. Not likely, I know, but we can hope for a miracle. Take care . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Patricia, thank you for the comment and the angels, I will look for your writing about these little beast. Can you imagine if they were the size of a person.

      I keep buying the stuff that kills the mound, but they just pop up somewhere else.

      Blessings and Hugs to you my dear friend. ss

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for the comments and for sharing this. No I have not heard anything positive about fire ants, It would be a positive thing if they would chase away the gophers, but they don't.

      I would have called you tonight but came in too late and the pain in my legs was unbelievable.

      Blessings and hugs to you my dear friend.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      O the dreaded fire ant...I wrote about them a while back...a year or two I think.

      My family and I are so allergic to them.

      this year I have not had nearly as many bites from them but they are still very much in evidence.

      Stay clear of them, Shyron.

      Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Fire ants should be pretty bad about this time of year, not that they ever rest. Any time it's fairly war -- all the time in Texas -- the fire ants are out and about, busy, busy, busy. I've never heard anything positive about fire ants. Do they have any good purpose?

      Oath's Orthene fire ant killer is the best stuff I've ever used, but the last I knew only licensed exterminators were allowed to use it because it's highly poisonous to pets and children (people in general, but children may get into it while playing in the yard, etc.).

      Sharing again. Hope you are inside where it's cool at least, and ideally relaxing a little. Blessing and hugs for you dear friend. Will talk again soon.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for the comment.

      I don't think it will reach 60 today, I wish so we could finish the concrete and get it out of the way. I have to write a rebuttal to one of the speakers at last night's Town Council meeting.

      Blessings and hugs dear friend.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      I think it's fire ant season most of the time here in Texas, but it won't be long and they will definitely be getting active again and new hills will be popping up all over.

      It's supposed to start warming up in a few days. Sounds like it will be just right, but I fear it won't stop in the 60s . . .

      Hope all continues to be well there. I'm having the hardest time working HubPages into my schedule and I don't know why. Let's hope that changes. Hugs and blessings to you both. Take care . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank poetryman6969 for the comment, I concur.

      Have a blessed week.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      some things need killing ISIS, fire ants, and other pests.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Hi Paddy, those little critters are a pain wherever they bite. I am glad you like the info.

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 3 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      Yup. Had a few run ins with those little critters in Texas. Good info.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for you comment and voted up, AUI, pinned to AH, shared. The beasts were out today, I have to go to Lowes tomorrow and buy some "Over and Out" that helps but does not eliminate them.

      Hope all is well with you my dear friend.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      These critters are already out and about along with other pests. It's been surprisingly cool so far this spring, but the forecast says that is about to change. We'll see . . . hope all is well with you and yours and that the fire ants are not a problem for you. Voted up, AUI, pinned to AH, shared.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Au fait, for your comments, votes, sharing and pinning this.

      I know those little beasts will soon be out there soon, I don't look forward to that.

      This whole week has been hell.

      Will tell you when I talk to you. TTYL.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Despite it being only 24 degrees F. right now, about 8 degrees colder than forecast -- and still dropping, spring is just around the corner and usually here by now in Texas. These little pests will be getting active again soon.

      Voted up, useful, and sharing. Pinned to Awesome HubPates.

      Hope this week has improved since your headache ordeal. One day is the longest I've ever had to put up with a migraine and those were horrible wasted days. I'm so sorry the docs can't find something that will help better. I hope these last couple days have been much better.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Thank you webdesigns, (webdesignsbyapw), thank you for your comments. Sorry it took me so long but, for some unknown reason your comment was sent to spam, and I just this minute read it.

      I just heard on the radio than a 12 year old stepped in on an anthill and was bitten while he was playing football and he died. Not wanting to make you feel bad, but a lot of people are alergic to the little beasts, I am glad your dad was not one of them.

    • webdesignsbyapw profile image

      webdesignsbyapw 4 years ago from Petaluma, CA

      I remember the day my grandpa decided to buy me an ant farm. Oddly, the ant farm we received in the mail contained some fire ants. When he was opening the viles filled with ants, he wasn't being very careful and all of them came out, biting his hands everywhere. I was about 13 at the time and was laughing hysterically. Well, we got most of the ants in the ant farm and the rest were crawling around the house. lol..

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Esmeowl12 for stopping by and your comment. Sorry to hear that you are allergic. We spray with Fire Ant Drench and that seems to control them, but when we get some rain they pop-up overnight everywhere and we have to spray again.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Jaye, thank you so much for your comments, up-votes and sharing.

      I would not wish these critters on the worst enemy of any one. I have stepped on a mounds and they were all over me in a matter of seconds. I had to take Benedryl for several days and hubby was helping me brush them off. I still have some scars where I was bitten.

      Could you imagine is they were bigger, say the size of a dog. They would have us for lunch.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Moonlake for your comments, up votes and sharing.

      You are very fortunate not to have fire ants. They are very tiny and their bite is like being burned by a soldering iron (which I have been) and it is next to impossible to get rid of them. I had never heard of them until we moved here to Texas.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 4 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Fire ants are awful. I am one of those allergic and keep an Epi-pen at all times. They are terrible to get rid of and the cornmeal thing doesn't work. We have a friend who is an exterminator who uses some liquid that works wonders.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I don't use any chemicals or pesticides, so I've tried numerous non-poisonous methods on fire ant mounds in my yard. Most natural methods I've tried didn't work at all. Perhaps the sugar and instant grits method Tom mentioned will be effective. If it's being used in Mississippi (which is where I live), it's being used on LOTS of fire ants. They are an absolute scourge here. We have such mild winters, it doesn't get cold enough to drive them underground for long.

      Lately, I've been getting rid of fire ant mounds by doing something that seems very cruel until you think about how much damage fire ants can (and will) do to humans and animals. They certainly don't worry about pain, disfigurement or death they cause, so I can't afford to let myself feel sorry for the fire ants. I know this method works to a certain extent, so I keep using it.

      I heat a large pan of water to the boiling point and pour it directly on the mound. Scalding them may seem barbarous, but I've been bitten by fire ants. It's not only paintful, it takes a very long time for the bites to heal. I can imagine how terrible it would be to be bitten by numerous ants rather than one or two. I keep an Epi-Pen on hand "just in case." I've heard of fire ants killing livestock and causing painful injury to children and pets. In other words...if it's them or us, I want it to be THEM!

      Unfortunately, even the boiling water doesn't penetrate far enough into the mound to destroy the queen. Almost any method used will kill some of the fire ants, and the rest will relocate to another spot on the lawn. If you live where fire ants are prevalent, it's a constant battle to keep them at bay. As Au fait mentioned, you must be vigilant and check your yard frequently if you live in a fire-ant-infested area.

      Shyron, that is mind-boggling about fire ants taking aphids as prisoners to feed off of them!

      Voted Up, Useful and Interesting - Also shared.

      Jaye

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      We don't have fire ants here but we do have small little ant mounds and they bite. Our little dog loves to take his walk and heads right to the ant mounds I'm always pulling him out of there. I have no idea why he loves that ant mound. Voted up and shared.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      I sure hope it works for you, and please let me know. I buy the stinking powder, but we have a neighbor who lets his dogs (Labs) run free and one of them likes the smell (I guess) he sticks his nose in the powder, so I have to be careful about using it.

      Thank you for the up-vote and the comment.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I have already found several small mounds of fire ants at our house. I am going to try the cornmeal and see if it works. We have been using a poison that you shake onto the mound and it works, but I would prefer to use the more natural option. I will let you know how it goes. Voted up, useful and interesting. :)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Au fait, I know if a cow drops her calf near a fire-ant hill they will eat the calf.

      We were told about them when we first moved here.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I think you're wonderful justmesuzanne, and I love to read your hubs and comments on Shyron's hubs, but fire ants are not to be toyed with. They can kill livestock and people too.

      I know of one former fire chief who is permanently disabled both physically and mentally as the result of a fire ant attack and he was an adult who should have known better when it happened. He wasn't expected to live after the attack, but lucky him, he will be half vegetable for the rest of his life.

      It would be awful if you were to go into your nursery and find a dead or permanently disabled child or grandchild in his/her crib because you thought white vinegar would do the trick and eradicate the fire ants from your home. I promise you it will not, nor does ignoring them (leaving them alone). They will not ignore you, your children, or your pets. They won't even ignore cattle or other livestock if you have any around their ant hills.

      Fire ant hills move around a lot, but mostly they multiply when ignored, so it's always a good idea to check your yard over even on a daily basis if you have little children or pets that will be playing there.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for the info Suzanne, I will have to try the white vinegar. I know it cleans most anything else.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

      I never do anything about ants other than avoid them and leave them alone. They don't ever bother me. If they come inside, I wipe down the area where they make their path with white vinegar frequently until they decide to give up. :) Voted up and interesting!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for you comment Au fait and thanks for the warning.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      One of my colleagues was bit by a mosquito today, so I think it's been warm enough the last couple of days for the fire ants to be out again too. In any case, it won't be long before it's time to fight them again!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      I can't think of many things worse than fire ants. Thanks for reading my hub.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I've read all that about ants too, how they enslave ants from other species and 'farm' aphids for their -- well you can call it nectar if you want, but I have a different name for it, especially when it gets all over my windshield.

      Won't be long and people will be back gardening and doing yard work and coming up against these nasty critters again. A person needs to be vigilant because they will even come into your house. I've heard of them getting all over sleeping babies and the results aren't good. They got into my kitchen once and while I was standing barefoot talking on the phone I kept feeling these stings on my feet -- they were all over the rug in front of my kitchen sink!

      Good hub! Time to be thinking about getting back to the fight against them. Of course they'll always win, and I understand they're up in Canada now too. :(

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Au fait for your comments. Yes they are nasty creatures! I hope you don't get bit any more.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 5 years ago from North Texas

      Fire ants really are nasty creatures. As it happens I am allergic to their bit and I get huge welts from them along with sinus issues. Every time I'm bitten the reaction is worse, as is common with allergies. One of these days I expect I'll end up in the hospital . . .

      Great hub!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Tom, I will try that method.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile image

      Thomas Byers 5 years ago from East Coast , United States

      In the deep south I have saw people mix sugar and instant grits together and it works great. One company in Mississippi even presses it into pans along with orange food dye and sells it. I've tried it and it does work.

      Great Hub here from a wonderful writer. Voted up

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Au fait, I don't know about the cornmeal either. but it is worth a shot. Thanks for reading my article and commenting always appreciate hearing from you.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 5 years ago from North Texas

      I'm not sure about cornmeal, but things that you can buy fairly cheap that swell when you make them, like barley or rice, can kill some of them because it swells in their bodies after they eat it and kills them.

      Some scientists have used containers that vibrate near the fire ant hills. Fire ants are attracted to movement and vibration as I'm sure you know. Once inside the vibrating container, they are electrocuted.

      Ortho Orthene works pretty well too, but I think here in TX you have to have a license to use it. When I had a landscaping business here in TX, Orthene was the only thing that really worked. That was a long time ago now, so even that may little effect on fire ants. Call an exterminator to see what they charge to use it and realize you will have to worn your neighbors so they keep their pets and children away from it until it has dissipated, or the ants have carried it down to their queen. It's extremely poisonous.