What's the best way to get rid of fire ants?


Fire ants commonly infest lawns and landscapes in the southeastern United States. Their sting can be painful, and their mounds can cause damage to lawn-care equipment. There are several options for managing fire ants. The best one for your situation depends on how many ant colonies you have in your yard, where they are located, how much work you're willing to do, how much you're willing to spend, and how concerned you are about introducing chemicals into the environment.

One method is to broadcast a bait-formulated insecticide once or twice per year, or use an outdoor bait station formulated for fire-ant control. Several days after applying the bait, treat nuisance ant colonies in high-use areas with an individual mound treatment. 

If your yard has few fire ant mounds, you can treat individual mounds. This method gets rid of the ants temporarily, but they may reappear elsewhere in the yard. This option uses the least amount of chemical but is most labor-intensive.


If you want to eliminate all ants in an area, start with broadcast bait. Several days later, apply a contact insecticide, and repeat every 4-8 weeks. This program is the most expensive and uses the greatest amount of pesticide.

To prevent fire ants from entering your home, treat outdoor colonies near the home, and apply an outside barrier of insecticide such as chlorpyrifos or a pyrethroid around the foundation. Caulk cracks and crevices. If you see fire ants indoors, use bait labeled for indoor use. Examples are bait containing abamectin (PT 370-Ascend), hydramethylnon (MaxForce Granular Insect Bait or Amdro), or bait stations containing hydramethylnon (Maxforce, Combat) or sulfluramid (Raid Double Control Ant Baits).


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