Sunday, 17 August 2008

How to Kill Fire Ants

Fire ants are considered to be one of the most aggressive types of ants, and they bite and sting almost anything and anyone that comes close to their mound. For this reason, many people are waging war against fire ants. There are several ways to eradicate and kill fire ants, but some can be hazardous to the environment, and some are just plain ineffective.

Before launching into an all out war against fire ants, it helps to learn to identify them from other more friendly ants first. Besides, you don’t want to waste your time and resources eradicating normal ants that won’t cause damage compared to fire ants.

How to Identify Fire Ants

Fire ants usually measure somewhere from 1/8 to ¼ inch in length. They are dark black or reddish brown in color, and look just like ordinary ants. You can tell a fire ant from a normal ant based from its behavior. Fire ants are aggressive, and as soon as they can tell that their mounds are disturbed, they will start biting and stinging anything that comes their way. On the other hand, native ants basically ignore animals and human beings, and are non-aggressive. Fire ant nests are also a telltale sign of their identities. They’re usually mound-shaped, and they can go anywhere from 12 inches in height and diameter to up to 2 feet!

Natural Method to Kill Fire Ants

Now that you’re certain that the ants in your backyard are indeed fire ants, it’s time to eradicate these stinging creatures for good. If you don’t want to use pesticides or other chemicals that could harm your environment, then killing fire ants the natural way is one of your options.

Using boiling water is one tried-and-tested method in order to kill fire ants. The best time to use this technique is right after the rain, when the ants are closer to the surface trying to reconstruct their mounds. All you have to do is boil water, make a hole in their mounds to allow for deeper penetration, and pour the boiling water. This is up to 60% effective and will kill several of the ants living in the mound. However, if it doesn’t get to the queen, then you’re merely damaging them, and not totally destroying them. Also, it could harm the condition of your soil, as well as the vegetation surrounding it.

Using Bait Treatment to Kill Fire Ants

Bait treatment is another form of killing fire ants. It’s easy, inexpensive, effective, and safe to use. This takes advantage of the foraging habits of fire ants, and works similarly to granular insecticides. However, instead of simply poisoning the colony like insecticides do, the bait actually damages the reproductive ability of the queen, and in time the queen won’t be able to produce no new ants. When the older ants die of natural causes, there won’t be new ones to replace them, and so your fire ant dilemma is solved for good.

Just buy a bait product on the market, scatter them along the fire ant mound, and leave. The ants will take the bait to their colony and to their queen. Don’t disturb the mound, as your presence could only cause them to leave the bait and flee to make another mound.