Fire ants come from various species of ants in the genus Solenopsis. Despite the fact there are over 200 species of Solenopsis worldwide, those stinging ants represent only a small piece of the genus.

The ant colony is originally Argentinian, but in 2001 those ants were transported and introduced to Australia by shipping containers in Brisbane. It’s easy to recognise them because of their red colour and painful sting, a sensation similar to what people feel when being burnt by fire.

Fire ants are considered to be very dangerous due to the after-effects of their sting, it can be deadly to sensitive people and some animals. If you can’t deal with them after following the tips listed below or you have a long-term problem with fire ant infestation, you may consider hiring a professional exterminator to eliminate the nests from your home or garden.

About Fire Ants


The appearance of the fire ant

The body of the mature one consists of copper brown head, thorax and darker abdomen. The worker fire ants vary from blackish to reddish in colour.

Fire ants range from 2 to 6 mm in size, with three pairs of legs and a pair of antennas.


Behaviour of the red imported fire ant

Red imported fire ants (RIFA) feed on seeds and plants, and they often attack and kill small animals. They create their mounds in open areas and it’s good to know that there can be more than one queen in a colony.

But even with a single fire ant queen, the fire ant colony can grow up to 250 000 individuals. After getting rid of the fire ant nest, bear in mind that if the queen is still alive, in a month or two the colony will again be expanded to tens of thousands.

Those little creatures are actually able to damage electrical wiring and insulation as well, so they could even cause fire hazards.

The Queen ants are the largest from the entire colony. She might live up to 7 years and her primary function is to reproduce. The young ones have got wings before mating.


Kill fire ants with home remedies

The most popular natural home remedies are not often 100% effective, but they are safe for pets and children, and also for the plants in the yard. Some of the popular but not so effective solutions include baking soda, vinegar, instant grits, and molasses.

It’s illegal to use substances like ammonia, chlorine bleach, and diesel oil to control fire ants, so take a look at what the Fantastic pest controllers have prepared for you.


If you spot fire ants crawling around, don’t spay them immediately! The ants usually leave a scented trail wherever they go, and this is how you will find the ant colony. By killing them on sight you will lose the trail and it will be much harder to locate the nest.

  • Peppermint essential oil
    When you find the fire ant nest you can clean their trails with peppermint essential oil. When the trails dissipate, ants would not be able to come back for the rest of the food they need. Put a few drops of the oil on a cotton ball and wipe down areas and surfaces where you have seen them before. While this doesn’t remove the nest in your property, at least you’ll buy yourself some time with getting them out of your home.
  • Cayenne Pepper
    Fire ants use signals to communicate. The strong odour of cayenne pepper destroys their signals so they will not be able to find the nest again, and could not survive long after. You can try and spray the nest with cayenne pepper.
  • Baby powder
    Another way to break the communication between the fire ants is to use baby powder. This will ensure the absence of ants behind the powder barricade.

Hire a professional to deal with the ant infestation!

Our professional pest controllers can get rid of the fire ants in your property!

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How to get rid of fire ants in yard naturally

Fire ants can be very irritating and potentially dangerous pests that you don’t want on your property. Here are some natural ways that will help you get rid of them in your yard.


Pouring boiling water down the nest won’t help you get rid of the fire ants. You will definitely kill some of them, but that won’t solve your problems. The queen will most probably survive and relocate the nest. A better solution is to call a professional to deal with the infestation.

  • Use dry ice
    Use a metal rod to make a hole in the fire ant mound. Insert a piece of dry ice in the hole and push it to the bottom. This tip requires high attention and precision as well, so take a look at the other tips below before you choose the most suitable for you.
    Be sure you are using the right personal protective equipment like gloves and rubber boots to avoid ants on your skin.
  • Water and dish soap
    Mix water and dish soap in a bottle. Shake it and spray it into the fire ant mound and see how effective it is. The fire ants will die from dehydration.
  • Cleaning is half of your success
    After having a BBQ or picnic in your backyard, ensure the remaining food pieces and trash are properly removed. This will sensitively reduce the risk of fire ants invasion in your yard.
  • Cucumber pills
    Here is one very interesting method you can try in your garden. Ants hate the taste of cucumber, especially the bitter tasting ones. Leaving fresh pills every day in your yard should help with controlling the ants in your property.
  • Used coffee grounds
    If you see fire ants infestation on some particular plants, just draw a circle of used coffee grounds. The coffee blocks the ant’s trails and confuses them, so they don’t know where to go.

To completely eliminate the fire ant nest, you need to find the egg-laying queen first. She can lay more than 1600 eggs per day, so if you can’t reach the queen, you can’t eradicate them all. The colony will most likely be relocated.


Fire ant bites and stings and how to prevent them

Fire ants bite to get a grip and sting by injecting a toxic alkaloid venom named solenopsin. This could be very painful for most of the people and might cause severe swelling, chest pain, or shortness of breath. If you experience some of these symptoms, you should immediately call emergency medical attention. If the only symptoms are pain and pustules, wash the sting with soap and cold water (but we’d still advise you to go to the doctor).

Fire ants are attracted by sweet, tasty and sticky things, so make sure your counter-tops, cupboards or pantry, and containers are clean and free of food particles. Don’t leave dirty dishes for the next day.

Have you dealt with fire ants? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Image source: Shutterstock/sarawuth wannasathit

  • Last update: December 16, 2019

Posted in Pest Issues

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