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How to Kill Ants in a Florida Yard

ants & aphis image by Marek Kosmal from

Florida's yards host dozens of ant species. They're usually not a problem, but can become a nuisance if they are present in large numbers or if they're a species like the fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata). Because Florida's climate is warm all year around, gardeners must treat their lawns as soon as a problem arises instead of waiting for a change in seasons that would normally kill off the insect pests or force them into hibernation.

Locate the ant nest in your yard. Smear a streak of honey onto a sheet of paper or index card and place it in your yard. Most common Floridian ants, including pharaoh ants, carpenter ants and fire ants, are attracted to the sugar in the honey, according to the University of Florida.

Wait several hours. If ants are present, they will find the honey and form a trail between the bait and their nest. Trace the trail back to the nest in your yard.

Poison the nest. Use a carbaryl-based insecticide labeled for use on ants. Apply it according to its labeled guidelines, since toxicity varies by product. Typically, granule poisons are broadcast in a circle around the nest while liquid products are poured onto the hill. For the best results, the University of Florida recommends applying the poison on a dry day when the temperature ranges between 70 degrees and 90 degrees.

Observe the nest over the next four to six weeks. If ant activity continues, repeat the poison treatment.


Spreading granular poison is the most effective treatment when killing ants in a large area like a lawn, according to the University of Florida.


Sprays and similar poisons that kill ants on contact are not sufficient for long term treatment, since it only kills the foraging ants and not the nest. A single nest can have thousands of ants and killing the ones outside of the nest will have little impact on the source of the problem.

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