Killing Fire Ants

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated September 10, 2021)


I used to live in the southern portion of the United States, and one of the most common pests that we found there were fire ants. However, these were not your typical little fire ants. Rather these were the huge monstrosities that you might think were horror movie rejects. (Actually, that may have been a little of an overstatement, they were actually only as big as my thumb.) While these may not be the same type of fire ants found throughout the rest of the southern United States, they still taught me a few tricks. Whether you want to control, get rid of, or simply looking for a better way to go about killing fire ants, the methods that you use will be the same.

  • Bucketing. One of the traditional methods for dealing with fire ants, bucketing does exactly what it sounds like. When bucketing a fire ant colony, you are simply going to dig the colony out of your yard and deposit it into a large bucket. Fire ants are typically very aggressive, and will get very upset if they are disturbed, so you will want to make sure that you are wearing gloves, long-sleeved clothes, and closed-toed shoes so that you minimize getting hurt. Before beginning, add some baby powder to the bucket to help keep the ants inside the bucket. Fill the bucket only 2/3 of the way full, and then add water to drown the ants.
  • Gasoline. While gasoline will kill your ant infestation, it has way too many side affects for this to be a viable option. Gasoline will kill any vegetation that is nearby, over use of gasoline can play havoc with your ground water, and it is also very flammable. While it may be fun to fight the fire ants with fire, you could easily end up burned or causing other fire damage than you wanted to. Do not use!
  • Professionals. If you do not want to handle the fire ants yourself or you simply are not sure that you can handle it yourself, hire a professional. Companies like Orkin and Terminex have highly trained professionals who are able to handle just about every type of insect infestation. Best of all, they know exactly what kind of chemicals can be used without causing any damage to your lawn or yard.
  • Chemicals. There are commercially available chemicals that you can use to kill your fire ant infestation. These should be avoided if at all possible, since many insecticides can also end up harming your yard and can also be fairly expensive.
  • Hot water. Scalding hot water is extremely effective at killing fire ants, but you run the risk of killing the vegetation in your yard or lawn. Simply heat up some water to boiling and then pour it on the ant hills. You may need several applications, but you should only need to heat up three or four gallons for each application.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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What is five less than 5?

2016-08-05 09:29:58

Jon Steele

Just did a little research... I am not familiar with the native fire ant, which may be what you were talking about. I'm from Mobile, AL, the point of entry for the Red Imported Fire Ant, which is the one we deal with.

2016-08-05 09:24:42

Jon Steele

I'm not sure the fire ants you're describing are fire ants... fire ants are teeny little buggers with a big bite. They make hills, but thses can be very hard to find, as they are very low to the ground and can easily be hidden by grass or shrubs.

Further, the hills do not really mark the "colony," so much as places they go in and out.

That means they are not susceptible (in my experience), to hill-targeted solutions, as they spread all over the place underground--including under driveways and sidewalks (sometimes, you'll see "hills" or little piles of dirt around cracks and joints).

Hate to say it, but broadcast chemicals may be the only way to deal with them effectively. And, if there's any chance children will be playing in that area, you WANT to deal with them. My cousin, who wasn't allergic to them, nonetheless had to go to the hospital once just from the sheer number of bites he sustained.


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