Friday, October 14, 2011

No Love Loss With Fire Ants


Dear Fire Ants, I really don't care what shape you make your mounds, I shall never love you!!  ~ Signed, Pammy!

It is looking like the Fire Ants are trying to play me for my soft side. The plain truth is Fire Ants are mean and horrible pests in the southern garden and the lawn.

It is also a fact that they are never going to vanish completely no matter what you do. If your lucky enough to have controlled them, you also know they are lurking at your neighbors and shall return to visit you.

Don't be fooled when they begin to form mounds in heart shapes. But don't brake out the chemicals either. Chemicals will never get rid of them completely. All they do is contaminates the soil and run off into the water supplies. 

The chemicals are not just temporally cutting down on the ants, but they are killing the beneficial insects and microbes as well. Who really wants that poison in their drinking water or ponds and lakes? It could very well be that your only sprinkling a little bit here and there, but the plain truth is so are millions of other people.

They wouldn't have so many chemicals in the lawn and garden department if millions were not buying the stuff.. .We will never be able to kill them all, so let's try controlling them organically. Here are a few organic tricks for keeping them at bay.

Just be careful, because even organic substances, if not used properly it can be harmful for the environment and the garden.

1. Let them kill each other

That's right, you can start an ant war and they will kill each other. Find a mound in another area of your yard. Dig a patch of them up in a bucket and take them to another mound and dump them on. Fire Ants are Territorial so you want to make sure that one mound might be out in the front lawn to carry back to the back lawn. Let the war begin!

2. Diatomacious Earth 

It Really does help. You have to be persistent with its use however. Remembering that I shall never be able to kill them all, I know for a fact that it makes them move.

This is my favorite method for use in the garden. I sprinkle some on the top of the mound, and then I stir the ants up with my shovel. Next I water the mound a bit and sprinkle a little more on.

They hate being disturbed and it makes me feel good when I make them mad. Monitor the mound and do it again in a few days if need be. They will move out of your garden bed.

This is also a good method when you have them crawling up and down your vegetable plants when they are busy harvesting those dreadful aphids. Just sprinkle a little down around the base of the plant. They will leave and the ladybugs will take care of the aphids.

 This is also a great method for using in the greenhouse and under pots.

3. Borax

This is another proven method, but to be used on sidewalks and patios only!! It is hard to say what quantity to use before it poses an environmental hazard. For one, it is toxic to aquatic life.

For another, I'm not sure, but common sense tells me if it is killing the Fire Ants, it is most likely killing your beneficials like earthworms and beneficial microbes.

For the sidewalk or patio, be careful and only sprinkle a small amount where ants are found and wash it down. Poof, they are dead or they have moved on.

 Borax is also another great substance you use when cleaning your home. I use it on window sills, the floors and just as a general cleaner when diluted with water. It helps kill roaches and fleas as well as those troublesome ants. 

4. Rich Organic Matter

This is another full proof method to help keep them under control. They hate manure and rich compost and organic matter in general. By dusting you lawn with rich organic matter your adding nutrients to help build healthier soil and fertilizing at the same time.

 I've heard that the beneficial nematodes in your soil can help consume the ant problems, but I'm not sure about that. All I know is it helps in all forms and fashion. Poor soil is always the root to many evils.

These are the only methods that I use that I've found to be the most effective.

 I do know that Molasses has many benefits for your soil and compost pile for increasing the Microbes in your soil and it has said to help reduce Fire Ants. I have not seen evidence of it so far and the Molasses can be quite costly as well. I do think that enriching your soil is part of the bottom line solution.

 Although I have tried a few other methods and there are many other organic methods and advice available, some myths as well, my methods are cost effective, safe and beneficial to the environment. That's important to me because we garden for the love of future generations.

Happy Gardening!


  1. When I was working for the home improvement big box store I would tell folks about the shovel-trick all the time. Sadly, they would rather use the bait than dig up a scoop of an ant pile and dump it on another one to create ant chaos. Hallelujah for the rain!

  2. I hear ya on the rain!!! Whoo Hoo!! We still need a whole lot more..think it more than 20 in. below normal here. But it made a huge difference!! Well go figure someone doesn't want to create ant chaos...I get a thrill from it personally LOL Much Love Kaybe xxooxx