Ants are undeniably some of the most amazing creatures. With huge, complex communities, fungus-farming ability, and an empire that spans the entire world, it’s a blessing that these creatures are so tiny and haven’t developed a collective intelligence to rival man.
During the hot season, you might have come across convoys of red ants traveling from and to in your backyard. Some might have even gatecrashed into your house in search of sweet things or anything they can store for the cold season.
Like the majority of garden pest, red ants will mostly do their chores without disturbing you. However, in case they become an irritant, it’s time to learn how to get rid of red ants in your garden and home.
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What Are Red Ants?
There are different species of ants that wear the color red. Most of the time, people call red-colored ants red ants since they don’t know the right name. However, the ant that is commonly referred to as a red ant is indeed the Red Imported Fire Ant or RIFA. The Spanish call it hormiga fuego or hormiga colorada while the Portuguese call it formiga de fogo or wash foot ant or formiga lava-pe.
How Do Gardens Get Red Ants?
If the red ants in your garden are real fire ants, it is highly likely that favorable weather conditions such as warm weather have attracted them. Wide open yards with lots of sunlight typically have issues with red ants.
These creatures might also visit your garden because of the availability of grass sod or infested nursery plants.
Getting Rid of Red Ants
Since these creatures’ colonies usually occupy a few properties, controlling and preventing them can be a difficult endeavor. However, there are some things that you can do to get rid of these ants.
When eradicating red ants, it is not just about spraying them sporadically with an ant killer chemical of your choice. To completely get rid of the entire colony and their threat in your yard, you need to target their source.
The following methods can eliminate ants both inside and outside their nest.
- Use Boiling Water – The most commonly used method to eliminate red ants from a garden is through the use of boiling water. Here, you only need to target their entrances to the nest and then pour hot water inside. You will need to do this many times in order to kill all of them.
- Use Sugar and Boric Acid – This is probably the most effective natural method of eliminating red ants from your garden. Mix sugar with boric acid until you form a paste and then place the paste around the ant’s entrances into the nest. Red ants love sugar, and so they will be attracted like a magnet to the paste – they will consume some and take some to the queen. Once they take the paste, the ants will start to die because of the boric acid.
- Use Oil and Washing Liquid – This method is quite effective since the oil and dishwashing liquid soak into the red ant exoskeletons and deprive them air, hence suffocating them. Here, you need to mix ½ a teaspoon of washing liquid (dish soap) with 1½ teaspoons of cooking oil (canola oil and olive oil work best) with water. Once your mixture is ready, pour it into the nest and remember to leave some to spray around the nest.
- Use White Vinegar – Pouring about one liter of white vinegar into the ants’ nest can do the trick. It won’t harm your plants, but it will kill the red ants.
- Use Nematodes – These are microscopic worms that eat ants. They will hunt and eat them, making them to relocate their base to another land (where there is no natural predator).
- Insect-Repelling Plants – Some plants, the one with essential oil, produce harsh smells that deter insects such as red ants from hanging around your garden.
- Diatomaceous Earth (DE) – DE is effective against most ants, both in your garden and home. You can sprinkle it around your plants or on the ants’ path. This product works effectively when the soil is dry.
Most of the natural methods listed above won’t work instantly. The activate ingredients in these methods aren’t as lethal for red ants as what professional exterminators use.
Commercial Red Ants Elimination Methods
- Ant Killer Gel – Garden stores usually sell an ant poison that looks like a gel. This gel works like sugar mixed with boric acid. The ants eat the sweet gel then carry some to the nest for the queen. The best thing, the gel cannot harm your plants or soil.
- Ant Killer Poison – This product is best used to kill red ants in or near your house since it can kill your plants or even change your garden chemical balance. If you decide to use this powder, ensure that you take the necessary precautions such as blocking off the ants’ area to keep them out of children and pets reach. Another measure is to spread it during the calm days to prevent the wind from spreading it around. The last thing you should note is that red ants can eventually become resistant to this poison.
- Professional Extermination – Lastly, if none of the nine methods listed above have worked for you and the red ants’ colony is getting bigger and bigger, it might be the perfect time to consider seeking the service of a professional to eliminate them for you.
Killing red ants is one thing, but what you should ensure to get rid of these creatures forever is to also control their infestation. Also, note that red ants can be a danger to pets and humans; therefore, it is a good idea to hire or consult an expert before you decide to use a specific method when eliminating them. We hope you now know how to get rid of red ants from your garden and home.