Fire Ant Q & A

— Written By

What is the best way to control fire ants?

Fire ants in home landscapes are best managed with bait products. Bait is usually applied around each mound and carried back to the mound by foraging ants. It is very important to not disturb mounds before or after applying the bait. Organically acceptable baits are available.

Should I poke the mound after application?

No, do not disturb the mound before or after treatment. This includes kicking, mowing or poking the mound. In general, baits are not effective if applied directly on top of the mound. Treat the mound when the ground is dry and temperatures rage from 55 to 85 degrees F. Follow all label directions.

Do home remedies like grits work?

No, most home remedies only disturb the mound and encourage the ants to relocate. Grits alone do not kill fire ants and drenches like gasoline or Clorox are illegal and do not result in colony control. Boiling water gives some control, but is usually not effective at killing the queen. Shoveling opposing mounds does not encourage territory battles, but again, only encourages colonies to relocate.

What about people and pets?

Fire ants pose a serious health threat to people and pets. When applying pesticides, follow all label directions and exclude people and pets from treated areas for 12-24 hrs after bait application.

For more information on managing fire ants contact Katy Shook, Area Extension Horticulture Agent, at 482-6585 or visit

Written By

Photo of Katy ShookKaty ShookArea Agent, Agriculture - Consumer Horticulture (252) 482-6585 katy_shook@ncsu.eduChowan County, North Carolina
Updated on Sep 26, 2013
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close
This page can also be accessed from: