By Kate Torpie, Garden Guides Contributor
About Fire Ants
There are two types of fire ants: imported and domestic. While both are aggressive, the imported ants are more so by far. They will attack insects, plants, small animals and even humans. Both form huge colonies and can cause damage not only to gardens but to homes and electrical lines. Their bites are painful enough, but some people are also allergic. There is no benefit to having fire ants around. And you do NOT want them getting into your home.
Prevention and Control
Fire ants are notorious foragers. To help prevent their making your home their neighborhood, make sure you tie garbage bags securely and keep lids on them. Drain any moist areas near your home, as ants do need water. Caulk up any cracks in your home's foundation or siding. Sprinkle cayenne pepper in ant trails and around the outside of your home. And, odd as it sounds, clean up your kitchen after cooking; grease and sweet smells can attract fire ants. To keep them out of your garden, you can try ridding your garden of aphids and whiteflies. Like many other ants, fire ants love to drink the sweet sap these guys secrete.
In addition to munching on your plants, it is dangerous to have fire ants near your home; children and pets are particularly at risk. No one is safe. If a fire ant's nest is disturbed, they will become aggressive and their bites are painful. Ugly mounds up to 2 feet will soon cover your property if the situation is not controlled.
In North America, long-nosed armadillos will feed on fire ants,but not for long. Like most predators, even armadillos are turned off by the viscous stings. Currently, research is being done into fungi and other microorganisms as a method of bio-control. Luring predators of fire ants is simply not a great option for eradicating the population.
Citrus peelings and water mixed and poured into the hill; orange guard, organic natural fire ant killer.
Other Methods of Control
* Buy granular ant bait (there are organic varieties available) and ant traps.
* Drown the colony with the goal of killing the queen. Please note this could take several gallons and can be dangerous: again, fire ants will attack if their nests are disturbed.
* Call a professional to be at your safest.