In several locations around the country, fire ants have become a normal headache in the summer months as they move in and take over the lawn. They create expanding mounts that ruin the lawn, but more importantly they create a health risk to animals and young children. Fire ants are very aggressive ants that attack in swarms and will bite anything that disturbs their mounds. The damage from their bites can be as serious as death.
In many cases the mounds exist in areas that are not frequently traveled on so anyone can step on a mound and within seconds are bitten. There are no natural predators to the fire ant in the United States, or in many other places where this ant can be found, which leaves it to the home owner to learn how to treat and get rid of fire ants that have showed up on their lawn.
There are a few ways any home owner can attempt to manage the fire ant issue. The first thing to understand is that to successfully kill off the fire ants and get rid of them from your property you need to kill of the queen fire ant. You can kill hundreds and hundreds of workers, but unless you get the queen it does not matter. They will grow back and spread.
Here are a few ways you can attempt to kill off the queen fire ant to get rid of the fire ants from your property:
1. Deep within any fire ant mount there are extensive tunnels that exist. In the depths of these tunnels is where the queen resides. This is why simply just knocking over the mound or trying to crush it does no good. You need to penetrate deep within the system. To do this you need to boil a great deal of water and with the help of a funnel pour all the water into the mound. This scalding hot water will travel through all of the tunnels and eventually kill off the queen.
2. The second way to try and get rid of your fire ant issue is to use fire ant bait. Fire ant bait is spread out around the mound and contains poison. The worker ants will pick up the bait and bring it to the queen eventually. If the queen consumes the poison the entire mound will die off shortly after. This is very effective, but it is not a great option if you have pets or children in the yard who could be exposed to the bait or accidently consume it.
3. The last option which does not kill off the fire ants but does remove them from your property is to constantly treat the problem and keep the ants agitated. Always mow your lawn each weekend, break up the dirt in the mound, pour water in the area, etc. Be sure in both the spring and fall to reseed in the areas that are bare in your yard so that grass comes up. Fire ant mounds typically show up in yards that are not properly maintained or have areas not commonly traveled on.
Always remember when you are treating a fire ant pit you are dealing with aggressive ants that can hurt you and cause agitations to even adults so you need to use caution to ensure no one is injured in the process.