Living on a giant fire ant mound!

jennijenjen(z9b FL)July 29, 2012

HELP! They're driving me nuts!

I've been dealing with their presence all around the garden since we've been here a year & a half.

It's been bad enough having to constantly watch my step out there & always worrying about the kids getting bitten, but since we had alot of rain a couple of weeks ago, they've been coming inside, trying to nest in my toddler's clothes drawers, and it's been a constant battle.

They also keep invading the dishwasher, even though we drown them everytime we see them.

Outside I've tried the boiling water treatment and it works but I don't want to pour it near my garden. I've also tried instant grits but that doesn't seem to work.

Inside I've sealed up any holes I could find and we've used a garlic soapy spray, a vinegar spray, and on orange oil spray. The garlic spray & vinegar spray kill them pretty quickly but it's just as easy to drown them with water.

I am all organic & will not poison my family or my yard so there MUST be a way to get rid of them. Also I'm VERY limited with transportation and money or else I might try the DE I've read about.

If anyone has a solution, I'd be SO grateful!

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You might try Ortho or Amdro. Both have worked for me. As I understand it, both are biological treatments and do not contain poisons. More like birth control for fire ants.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 5:05PM
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Ortho is not an organic or biological. Amdro is a poison. It is a bait they eat and pass around the nest.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 6:56PM
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Maybe your county extension service could help.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:31PM
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Here is something I found surfing, don't know if it works. If you can't find an "organic" solution that works and you feel you have to stick to your guns on being totally organic, I see no other options for you except to either learn to live with the danger of your kids being stung by fire ants or to move somewhere that they don't exist.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clean Air Gardening

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 5:59AM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Well, since it seems you are going to stick to your "organic" principles, I guess you'll just have to learn to live with them.
For those of us who simply cannot live with fire ants, there's a product called Over 'n Out that not only kills them faster than anything I've ever seen, but somehow keeps them from returning for YEARS.
Have you tried pouring club soda into the mounds? That's another homespun remedy I've heard about.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 6:39AM
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Are you sure they are fire ants? There is another ant called a white footed ant the goes for water like around the dishwasher.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:21AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

When we had issues with sugar ants in our house, I tried EcoSmart. Not only did it kill the ants upon contact, but it kept them out of that area for about a week. So I sprayed in any location where they appeared to come from on a weekly basis. I don't remember the price on it, but it was cheaper than many of the other types.

However, it does have quite a kick in the nasal department. After each application, my house would smell like a pack of Wrigley's (or according to my wife: Ben Gay), since the main ingredient is spearmint oil. But, I did not have to apply liberally, only 1-2 sprays per area. The one bottle lasted almost 2 months for me while spraying entry points in my kitchen and one bathroom. After the 2 months, they finally stopped trying to come inside. That was a year ago and I still haven't seen them inside.

Having said all that, I have not tried the stuff on the fire ants in my yard because I don't think it will do much more than make them create a new exit away from the sprayed areas. For fire ants, you have to get the queen and keep getting the replacement queens (it's been a while since Biology classes, but I believe ants can groom a new queen from the larvae in a couple of days).

Grits is an old wives' tale though. I have tried it and I have met others who have tried it. The only people that I have met and claim it works are the ones who said that they 'heard' it is supposed to work, but never used it themselves. And then it is always, "Oh well, you have to use this certain brand..."

You could always try ordering some South American Decapitating Flies (I am not a big fan of introducing one alien species to take out another). They tried them with minor success in Texas, but the dry air killed off most of the flies before they could do any real damage. Only fire ant mounds closer to the experiment house, where the humidity was a little higher, were destroyed. Since we have far greater humidity here than Texas does, the flies might last longer... but... how you would acquire some... I don't know.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 9:04AM
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jennijenjen(z9b FL)

Wow, you guys are so helpful!

In response:

Yes, I am stubborn about not poisoning my environment or my food and I have faith that if I have as much dedication & persistence as these ants do, I'll find a way to deal with them.

I forgot to mention...I had read that they won't cross cinnamon or turmeric and I've had success with both but they keep finding new holes in the baseboard.

I've confirmed they're the imported fire ants since they're different sizes and very common around here. I read that one queen can lay 1500 eggs per day for 6 years! Yikes!

I tried making my own orange oil since I read that it eats away their exoskeleton. The ants I tried it on just cleaned themselves off and kept going. I really need something that will be taken to the queen and lower their numbers. I think I could get more aggressive with the boiling water treatment around the house, I just don't want to drive more INTO the house.

Ritaweeda, that's a great link. If the stuff is really organic, maybe I can save my pennies for some.

Leekle2manE, the flies sound interesting...I've been wishing I could import an anteater! It figures, we can import the predators to take care of the imported fire ants and pretty soon Florida will be just like South America!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 6:17PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I use"Andro " for fire ants but have never had them come into the house. i don't know how many species of ants there are but in the house I have the extremely tiny dark brown types Worst for me has been carpenter ants the large red black types . I use Hot shot on them !!
You better be stubborn !! Even armed with poisons they will be back. Have lived here 35 years ,tried every method known to man and I still have ants. good luck!!! gary

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 3:47AM
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brute(Florida 9B)

While it's extremely rare, fire ants do sometimes find their way indoors. A few years ago an elderly nursing home resident was stung to death in his bed by a swarm of fire ants. He was too helpless to save himself, and nobody checked on him very often.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 6:00AM
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For the first time ever I had fire ants come inside last week. They had a trail going from the front door over the carpet and into the kitchen where my cat's food dish is located. Fortunately I found them before they hurt anyone. I don't like to used pesticides inside so I used the vacuum cleaner to suck them up and then disposed of them.

Outside I use Amdro because they are actually dangerous and I think this justifies (to me) the use of non-organic chemicals. I only use it when I see mounds. There is a brand of ant bait that uses Spinosad (organic) if you want to try that.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 11:19AM
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aharriedmom(8B FL Sunset 28)

Occasionally over the years, we've had them start to move inside. The best thing I've ever used to get rid of them is Amdro (the granules!). I'd just put a few pieces down near the trail (inside) and by the next day there would be no sign of them. I use it outside as well with great success.

A few times my husband has brought home some other type of fire ant killer and they just haven't worked and needed to be used in far greater amounts than the very little bit of Amdro that's needed.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:50PM
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jennijenjen(z9b FL)

Hey Katkin, you were right about the ants in the dishwasher - they are a different type. All the rest that I see in the house & in the yard are fire ants, though.

So far, as long as my boys keep any crumbs off the floor, we're keeping them out with using more turmeric.

I used the boiling water treatment on a few mounds outside 2 days ago but they're BACK! Maybe I didn't pour enough. I'll get some of the stuff with Spinosad when I can & let y'all know how it works.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 12:45PM
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I swear by Amdro. If used as directed, which means using a minimum amount and NOT using it on top of the mound. The granules are carried inside the mound to the queen. The mound and granules are usually gone within 12 to 24 hours. cora

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:07AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Ditto what Cora said. Amdro works for me 100% of the time. Have read on here warnings of it "going bad". That has not been the case for me. The bag I purchased about five years ago has a ziplock top, which of course I use by squeezing all of the air out and zipping the top, and it works perfectly within 24 hours. Great stuff!

Carol in Jacksonville

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 10:11AM
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Im a jokester but fire ants are no joke. But maby an anteater would help. Then u can use there poop for your garden. Lol
Just keep smiling

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Welcome to FL. home of every ant known to man, you will never get rid of them, never kill them, but you can control them. all the junk mentioned above is a joke. Get yourself some Eliminator and sprinkle all around foundation and out side as best you can. Get a good 6 mo. or more spray for inside around baseboards, and all doors.I would do inside first or else you may drive more in? Twice a year I spray my entire lawn also, it helps. This is Fl. living, been here 32 years, have very little problems with bugs. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:42AM
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I rarely see fire ants any more. They used to show up all the time, front back and side. I do see lots of other ants around. I have been leaving them alone - except for the tiny ones that like to get into my kitchen. I have heard fire ants are getting eaten by other ants. Anybody know about this?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:18PM
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Here I have used , with great success, Antidote, and kept my yard clear of these wicked ants for 2 years.
You can buy it from
It is a Nematode that kills fire ants & fly larva, but is not at all harmful to anything else. However, you need to use it when the air temp is 80 degrees or so, and rains are expected and the ground is damp. I use it in the Spring and these little guys are very good at getting rid of fire ants. It also kills if you have pets, it is beneficial for them as well.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 12:06PM
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today, we were moving some pots that were on our back porc. A couple of the pots were fire ant nests. OUCH. I remember reading about using aspertame to eliminate fire ants. I had a box of generic stuff for just that purpose. The railing was crawling with ants, eggs, larvae. We dusted the aspertametame over them and - dead ants. Just think! FDA says it's safe for us and has given its seal of approval to use in our food and drink.
I read on another site that people in Texas have been having success with dried molasses from the feed store.
This stuff shouldn't poison your kids or pets. Maybe it's worth a try.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:15PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I think they dislike mints and tansy planted around the house. Ecosmart worked well for me. I have a cat and I refuse to spray chemicals especially in the kitchen. The bait to get to feed and kill the queen is called Terro. It is a liquid chemical that they drink and take back to the queen.You put a tiny amount on a piece of foil ( Ifind that is easier for the ants to walk on then the cardboard pieces that come on the back of the package. We get ants every spring. I only use it on the kitchen window sill or behind the kitchen sink. It works in about 3 days. Also I heard that they don't like hot peppers. Maybe you could put that around the mounds. I had an old lady friend that would pour boiling water on the mounds. That will kill some of them and just get them to move. Also they were biting my feet while I was sitting at the computer. I sprinkled baby powder down and that discouraged them. I had to reapply a few times and tehn they gave up. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:34PM
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judyk_2008(9 DeLeon Sprs)

My Mom just went through an ant invasion. She used a product called Terro. It has Borax in it and worked well. She got it at Ace Hardware. In my garden, I use Safer DE.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Go here....

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA program

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 10:05AM
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Ive got an infestation of them too, several big mounds in my yard. I I've been using DE which works pretty good but when there'thousands or millions they just seem to built back up really quickly if you miss some days due to it raining (DE doesn't work when wet). But DE does keeps them out of the house by putting it in front of cracks in doors etc. And you can easily kill fire ants in the house with DE since there's not a huge amount of them indoors and you can leave DE sprinkled on the ground without rain getting it wet.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 4:56PM
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Went to a pest class at UF. They said regardless of what you use new ants will move in within 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:24PM
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