Fire Ants

How I suppress fire ants without poisons

Summary

Pour boiling water on fire ant mounds to decimate their colonies.

Why

Part of me admires the successfulness of fire ants, but they're a painful nuisance and a potential hazard for pets and small children.

I had really bad fire ants at my last place, so I did some research on ways to fight them, and this is one of my favorites. It probably won't kill the entire colony, but it will significantly weaken it. After a few applications, they might decide to relocate, or they might be defeated by another ant colony.

There is no poison involved. That's important to me. Plus it's ridiculously cheap to boil some water. Cheap and no poison sounds like the best way to go to me. It's what they call a no-brainer. It will probably temporarily kill the grass in the little spot where the mound is, but it should grow back soon.

Identify

First, you must identify the mound and the ants as the fire ant variety. Most other ants do more good than harm for us, helping to suppress pests. An anthill with a hole in the middle, for example, is not a fire ant mound. Don't go genociding the wrong ants.

Note Location

It's easy to forget where a mound was. So you don't lose it, take note of the location. Maybe write down the distance and direction from nearby plants and other landmarks. If you have a big yard or a farm, take two disance measurements at perpendicular angles to each other to unmistakeable landmarks.

Prepare for Offensive Strike

Half-fill a pot with warm water, and bring it to a boil. I say use warm water if possible because it will boil faster, and it's probably more efficient to do it that way because the water heater is probably more efficient than the stove.

I just half-fill it so I don't spill and slosh boiling water all over the place during transit later.

There's no need to apply any more heat once it's boiling. You're not going to get the water hotter than boiling.

Alchemy

Adding a drop of dish detergent can eliminate surface tension. Surface tension could protect ants somewhat from the hot water, so this will allow the water to envelope them better instead of permitting them to float.

Baking soda is said to have anti-insect powers, so a little baking soda wouldn't hurt. And I've never used it, but maybe a little diatomaceous earth. Or maybe boric acid, though it might react with the alkaline baking soda, so maybe don't combine the two.

Transit

Carefully carry the dangerously hot water outside to the mound, being most careful not to trip over clutter and pets. You could really have a bad day if you manage to fall down or even lose your balance while holding a pot full of boiling hot water, so be as careful as you can (be).

Initiate Offensive Strike

Don't give the fire ants any warning before the attack begins, or they will move the queen away.

It isn't necessary but might help, so if you want to, jam a hand shovel straight down and scoop out a section of the mound so the hot water will penetrate better, but you'll need to make sure anything scooped out dies too, meaning the eggs and worker ants. But if you don't see a lot of eggs and workers when you scoop some out of the mound, it probably isn't a fire ant mound, so reconsider your strike.

Start pouring from ground level to flood the area, then pour from a foot or two above the mound to give more downward force and turbulent flow.

Maybe use the hand shovel to mix up the hot water and mound dirt into a hot muddy mess in a hurry before the water cools.

Watch Your Ass

Make sure they aren't climbing all over your legs up toward your scrotum as you make your exit from enemy territory. If so, brush them off.

Based on personal experience, you can quickly remove many dozens of fire ants from your feet and legs by brushing them off with your hands.

Treatment of Human Casualties

Wash your feet with cool water if the fire ants manage to stage a successful counterattack.

Repeat

Attack other nearby fire ant mounds on the same day for increased effect because it might be the same large colony.

Background

I was putting a blanket and towel on the clothesline when my foot became unexpectedly covered with fire ants, and I was under attack. I guess I stepped on a mound. I knew there was another mound in the area. I let them think everything was OK as I got ready. I did three or four severe applications in the same afternoon.

The next day, they were still active coming from holes where the mounds used to be, but after another two days, I'm not seeing any fire ant activity around the mounds.



Page generated in 0.003281 seconds.

© 2024 RockyMount.US