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Photo: Fire Ants © 2009 Dean Croshere

Photo: Fire Ants © 2009 Dean Croshere

Fire ants are red ants that came to this country back in the 1930s. Since we have no natural enemies for them in the USA, they have become quite a problem. They love to attack in groups when their mounds are disturbed. When people disturb these mounds, ants crawl up on them and start biting them. There are many different types of controls for these ants today, but many people choose only to use organic fire ant killer techniques. This keeps them from handling toxic chemicals that could harm them or the environment and some of these methods are listed below.

Boiling Water Method

The boiling water method is the simplest of the organic methods for controlling fire ants. This involves pouring fairly hot water, if not boiling water onto the ant mounds. It takes several gallons for each mound to be effective. Also, you may pour some on the outside of the mound and work into the center to keep the ants from escaping. The only caution with this method is that some shrubs, flowers and even trees may not like the hot water. This means this would be best used out in the open rather than in a garden setting for this reason.

Orange Oil Solutions

Research has proven that orange oil solutions are effective at getting rid of fire ants. The orange oil kills the fire ants and if it reaches to the queen the whole colony is destroyed doing away with the mound. There are various recipes available for these solutions that you can make yourself with orange oil available online. You can also buy commercial products such as Orange Guard, Citrex or Safer Fire Ant Killer, which are available at online over at Amazon. Whichever route you decide to go saturate the mound completely to kill the fire ants.

Photo: Fire Ants © 2011 Almog

Photo: Fire Ants © 2011 Almog

Using a Biological Control Agent

Spinosad is a biological agent that has been found effective in controlling fire ants. It works by adversely affecting the nervous system of the ants. This substance is a non toxic ant control agent that is only recommended at this point for decorative plants and not edible ones. This agent is in products such as Green light, Ferti-lome and others which can be found over at Amazon.

Combination Treatment

Dr. Bart Drees from Texas recommends first spreading the spinosad product over the mound and allowing it to take effect. Then you can also drench the mound with an orange oil product. This offers a double punch for an effective organic fire ant killer approach.

When to Apply these Methods

Any of these methods should be applied when the ground is dry. Wet soil will lessen the effectiveness of any of these methods. Also, you should wait until mid-afternoon when all the fire ants are in the mound. This is important because you want as many ants as possible to come into direct contact with any of these methods.

Dig up the Mound

Another method is not exactly an organic fire ant killer, as it is a way to disperse the mound. You do this by digging up the mound. Have a bucket ready that has been treated with talcum powder or cornstarch to prevent the ants from crawling out of it. Also, put some powder or cornstarch on the handle of the shovel to keep the ants from crawling up it and getting on you. You quickly dig up the mound, and place the soil and ants in the bucket. Transport to any area that will be safe for humans and deposit the soil. You can treat the remaining area if need be with one of the other methods listed above.

It takes diligences to use any organic fire ant killer effectively. Remember, fire ants can return, so you need to stay on watch for their presence.

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