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October 20, 2018


I have fire ants in my raised bed. Don't want to use poison. What to do?




Fire ants have been awful this summer. Unfortunately fire ant baits and insecticides are the best method of control. There are quite a few home remedies for killing fire ants, and some work better than others.  Keep in mind that if you don’t get all the ants, they just move and set up housekeeping nearby, so beware.  Some methods from grits to vinegar are not effective, but you can have about 60% control pouring boiling water on the mound, but you do need to be careful that you don’t burn yourself. You can also try pouring a warm, soapy solution on the mound.  One method currently being evaluated and showing some promise as an effective home remedy is an ant mound drench using a mixture of dishwashing liquid and citrus oil. Mix 1.5 ounces of orange oil and 3 ounces of Dawn liquid detergent into 1 gallon of water.  For any of these water drenches, apply as a mound drench during early morning or late afternoon which is when the fire ants are most likely to be home.  Whatever you use, pay attention to what you are doing as fire ants attack with little provocation and their stings are painful. 


October 29, 2016


We have a small raised bed where we grow onions, green beans and a few tomato plants each summer.   When we pulled out the border of marigolds recently we discovered a fire ant nest. What is safe to use against fire ants in an area where you grow edible plants? 


 AnswerIf you are done with the vegetable garden for the year you could use a fire ant killer, because there should be ample time between application and planting next spring. However if you are still gardening, try pouring boiling water on the mound.  Be careful when using this, so you don’t get hurt.  There are also several baits that are growth regulators that can be applied on the perimeter of the vegetable garden, but these can take a while to work, so it is probably too late to use for this season. As temperatures cool off, fire ants slow down in their activity and move deeper in the soil or protected areas to overwinter.  When applying any insecticide always read and follow the label directions.



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