Whether your garden is being torn apart by red ants or your yard is infested with them, the question is always the same. How do you kill red ants? These particular ants are not the same as the smaller black ants that are common in much of the US. Red ants, also called fire ants, come in two different types that are usually found living in the warmer Southern states.
It’s trickier to get rid of red ants because they are more aggressive than other types and will usually attack you when you get to close to their home. A sting from a red ant can be a source of major irritation and might even cause some medical concerns if you get bitten enough.
Because of these problems, you have to be much more careful when dealing with red ants!
So, what’s the best method of ridding your property of red ants? I’m going to talk you through some of the simplest and most effective solutions available today.
- What Kind of Pesticides Work Well for Red Ants?
- Are There Any Natural Ways to Kill Red Ants?
- What is the Texas Two-Step Method? Does It Work?
What Kind of Pesticides Work Well for Red Ants?
There are two main ways to kill red ants with pesticides. It’s not effective to try to spray them all because there are too many for topical sprays. Instead, it’s better to use ant baits or diluted liquid bug killers.
Ant baits are perfect for red ants. If you place ant bait near the mound, they will collect the bait and carry it into the tunnels beneath the mound. Eventually, the poisonous bait will reach the queen and the entire colony will die.
Here are some of the best known baits that are very effective for red ants:
The other method with chemicals is to use a pesticide, diluted into water. These should be killed on contact pesticides. Most general bug pesticides will work for red ants, but some in particular work better than others.
Follow instructions for diluting the pesticides with water. A lot of the time the instructions will be printed right on the packaging. If they aren’t, then you can look up dilution to find out how much of the product should be mixed with a certain amount of water.
Once the pesticide is diluted, you should pour it in a slow and steady stream over the ant mound. This will soak the pesticide into all the different tunnels of the mound, eventually leading it to the queen. When the queen is killed, that ant colony cannot come back.
These are some of the best pesticides for getting rid of fire ant mounds :
Are There Any Natural Ways to Kill Red Ants?
If you don’t want to use pesticides or chemicals in your yard, there are a few natural methods that use non-toxic ingredients only. This is perfect if you have a garden that’s infested with red ant mounds, or if you have young children or animals who frequently roam around the yard.
One of the most common natural methods is to use boiling water and pour it into the mound. For a small ant mound, you might need as little as 1 gallon of boiling or very hot water. Larger mounds might need up to 3 gallons or more. Simply boil the water and bring it out to where the mound is. Pour the water slowly in a steady stream so that it soaks deep into the ant mound. Doing this is most likely to kill the queen as well.
Another way to do this that is a bit more effective at killing red ants is using vinegar and baking soda. A mixture of the two, diluted with water, can be a very effective ant killer. Pour it slowly and steadily onto the mound just as you would with any pesticide. This may have to be done multiple times for permanent results.
I recommend using a garden grade vinegar such as this one:
30% Pure Vinegar – Home & Garden
What is the Texas Two-Step Method? Does It Work?
After red fire ants starting colonies all over the state of Texas, residents began looking for the best solution to get rid of the ants. Taxes A & M University came up with the Texas Two Step method for killing red ants.
The method involves using two different types of red ant killers to make sure you are taking out the colonies for good. For the initial attack on the colony, you will use an ant bait, as I talked about above. Laying granules all around the mound during warm weather is a good way to set the bait.
After you’ve baited the mounds you want to get rid of, you’ll then pour a citrus-based water solution down into the ant mounds. Strong enough orange citrus solutions will help to kill red ants. It’s best to use orange oil and a liquid dish soap mixed together in water, as this solution will be much friendlier to the environment and not toxic. Orange oil can kill red ants while being perfectly safe around food, children, and pets.
Using both of these steps together has a greater effect on controlling fire ant populations that using just one method. Starting out with the bait helps to kill off a large number of the ants while pouring the orange solution into the mound directly is more likely to kill off the queen and many remaining ants. If you choose the right ant bait, the Texas Two Step method can be perfectly harmless in a food garden or anywhere else in your yard.
Here is a video talking a little bit about the Texas two-step method :
If you want some recommendations on making the orange oil solution, here are a few good products that would fit the need perfectly. Each one will last a long time, as you don’t need much for the solution mix:
Red ants can wreak havoc on you, your garden, your pets, and others around the area if they go on living unchecked. Using any of the methods and tools I talked about above, you will be able to control your red ant populations more easily and perhaps even permanently get rid of them.
Remember that any time you’re working with red ants you should be wearing protective gear. Put on long sleeves, gloves, boots, and pants to avoid painful stings. These ants tend to get aggressive when they feel threatened, so it’s best to be careful with them!
What do you think about these ways of killing red ants? Have you tried any of them before and had success? Is there another way you know that works better? Let me know in the comments!