Most of us are familiar with a nasty type of ant called Fire Ants! And in Texas, many things ARE bigger–and fire ants love our climate. They mound up in the yards and are very tough to kill. A fire ant sting is not only painful, but for those that are sensitive or allergic it can mean a trip to the emergency room, or worse. I stepped in a mound wearing flip-flops a couple of years ago and I will not soon forget it! I’m not allergic, but in addition to the pain, the venom of the stings caused dizziness and mild nausea.
Fire ants can mound anywhere but are most likely to choose areas that are hidden beneath landscaping timbers, rocks, and border trim. In general, they like places that are moist with loose soil. If they mound in the open the beds are clearly defined and dome-shaped.
How to Kill Fire Ants
I learned something new recently about how to rid my yard of fire ants. While talking with a termite inspector, he told me that “a good amount of dish soap mixed with some hot water, poured directly on the mound, will kill them.”
I wasted no time giving this a try! I had two mounds building in my yard. I mixed about one tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid with a half gallon of hot water, and applied it directly to the mounds, a full one-half gallon to each bed to ensure that the soil was well saturated. By the next morning, the fire ants were all dead! They’re STILL dead a week later!
Fire ants burrow deep into the soil and build new mounds when they are treated, but if they pop up in another spot in MY yard this summer, they will experience Death by DAWN! Don’t spend money on expensive fire ant killers for your lawn, just more JOY! (Couldn’t resist the puns – use your favorite household dish soap.) It’s non-toxic and inexpensive.
If you are stung and sensitive to fire ant stings, seek medical treatment as this can be a serious health threat. When I’m stung I quickly rinse the area with cold water for several minutes and then apply a liberal amount of Benadryl cream. It relieves the burning and helps neutralizes the venom. I have also quickly snapped off a frond of aloe vera and applied it to the stings. (Now I'm going to have to do a post of the benefits of keeping aloe vera in the garden!)