All Things Gardening forum: Need a way to kill fire ants organically!

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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 26, 2015 10:15 PM CST
Help! I have never seen the number of fire ants as I have this year! They seem to be everywhere in my yard. I don't see any mounds but they are in my mulch paths, in my grass, everywhere! I have had my shoes and feet bitten more times that I can count.

Does anyone have an organic product they can recommend or a recipe that works really well?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Scott
Tampa FL
Tropicals Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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ScotTi
Oct 27, 2015 2:46 AM CST
Becky,
Sprinkle dry instant grits on the mounds. The ants will eat the grits and the grits swell in their stomachs and the ants belly explode. I have not had the need to try this method, but my neighbor swears by it and has used it for years.
[Last edited by ScotTi - Oct 27, 2015 2:52 AM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Oct 27, 2015 5:23 AM CST
Welcome! to ATP, Scott. I would be of no help here. I won't tolerate fire ants (their bites are just murder!) and all I care about is being rid of them the quickest way possible.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Oct 27, 2015 8:16 AM CST
I've heard (on podcasts) Howard Garrett address fire ants in TX. You might check out his website dirtdoctor.com. Mostly organic gardening website.
Name: Mary
Glendale, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Composter Hummingbirder
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Azgarden
Oct 27, 2015 12:48 PM CST
We use a product called Terro. It comes in pre-baited traps or a small container of liquid. It absolutely does work. At first you think you are just feeding the ants because they gather around and eat the substance, but that is what it is intended to do. They carry it back to the nest and the other ants ingest it. I believe it is basically borax and maybe something sweet to attract ants in a liquid medium. Just google it and see if you think it is for you.
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee
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plantcollector
Oct 27, 2015 6:01 PM CST
Last year I had a fire ant problem and I fixed it with boiling water I poured it right on top of the ant mound. Although it proved to be hard to walk through the yard with a big stock pot full of boiling water I got great satisfaction out of watching those ants suffer Whistling
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Oct 27, 2015 6:22 PM CST
Wow - that's about as non-toxic as you can get. Hope it works for those afflicted with the nasty critters. And, the added bonus is they can continue to thrive outside your 'zone' as I assume they have some purpose in the life cycle. (I don't have them in my region, have only heard horror stories.)
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 28, 2015 7:40 PM CST
Thanks for all the ideas. I have mounds everywhere. And it's not just my yard. They have thrived and multiplied like crazy this year in Florida. I've been hearing stories from all over.

I would have to douse my entire yard with boiling water at this point. They seem to be everywhere. I was wearing flip-flops and they swarmed my feet. I have about 20-30 bites/stings on both of my feet. Even using ammonia didn't work to relieve the bites.

So I didn't check out Howard Garrett. Not sure about the ingredients in his suggestion.

Never heard or seen Terro. Will have to look around the internet to see who sells it and perhaps try it.

I had heard about the grits idea, but read somewhere else that it does not work.

I have used Andros Fire Ant Bait and the ants ignore that stuff.

I was thinking of trying the borax acid and sugar mix. I've heard that it would work if you can get the ants to eat it.

These Fire Ants must be smart because they have multiplied like crazy in Florida. I have heard they are moving north. They can live underground and will build colonies that satellite to each other. So I hope they don't continue to spread their way to the northern states. Their bites can be fatal to some people who have severe allergies.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Mary K
Safety Harbor, FL (Zone 10a)
Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Region: Florida Tomato Heads Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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p1mkw
Oct 28, 2015 8:09 PM CST
Becky, you can find Terro at a lot of places ... Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Home Depot --- places like that. I don't know if they have one specifically for fire ants. They do make one for outside use, but again, not sure if it would be effective against the ants you have. I found a granular product earlier this year and spread it over my entire yard. Granted, it's not organic, so that may not appeal to you. I don't recall the name right now, but if you're interested I can get it for you tomorrow. I stepped onto one of the mounds and had several bites and that was enough for me ... all bets were off then! Just recently I've seen a couple of mounds forming so it's time to re-apply. The first treatment probably lasted 5 or 6 months. Good luck ... I can't imagine dealing with the number of bites you've had. The ammonia worked best for me, but you've already tried that Sad
Mary K.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Oct 28, 2015 8:10 PM CST
Becky, I have not encountered fire ants here, but I have used diatomaceous earth for other ants. Just make sure to have a mask when you start applying it around it is in powder form. Do not use DE used for pool filters, there is food grade DE, that is the one you can use safely. Other users have posted online about using DE vs fire ants and they say it works.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 28, 2015 8:16 PM CST
Mary K - I will have to look at my local HD. Thanks for the heads up!

tarev - Yes, I have heard about DE too and that is another thing on my list to try! It is supposed to kill slugs too, right?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Oct 28, 2015 9:28 PM CST
Becky, i really hate to say this, but if your fire ant problem is that bad (and it sure sounds like it!) I would not be worrying about using organic fixes -- I'd get whatever is recommended for getting rid of them the fastest and surest way! (of course, you could also just move to the Michigan UP and then you wouldn't have to worry about fire ants... Whistling )
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 28, 2015 9:38 PM CST
I host birds in Winter, including the dwindling population of Eastern Painted Buntings. I have a bander that comes and bands all the birds in my yard twice a year. Those birds are on the ground and might eat any kind of bait. I always apply bait at night, so the ants have had a chance to gather it and take it to their nests. I have no desire to risk poisoning the wildlife for a short reprieve from the fire ants. I just need to find a good organic poison for the ants and then continue to apply several times a year to keep the fire ants in check. I really prefer organic treatment vs. chemical.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 28, 2015 9:51 PM CST
Large number - flamer thrower
Small number - propane torch
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Oct 29, 2015 5:13 AM CST
Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!

Yeah, I've seen the news reports of people actually doing something so stupid and burning down their home in the process! Nope, you won't see me on the national news doing that! Thumbs up Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Oct 29, 2015 5:37 AM CST
Would that be considered "organic", David? Rolling on the floor laughing Whistling Rolling on the floor laughing
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Oct 29, 2015 6:31 AM CST
I had some ants in my yard in a bush and I took a bunch of boric acid (? a white powder stuff, Borax maybe?) and then mixed some powdered sugar and water to make a liquid and then poured in all over the area, maybe a 6ft circle and I am unsure if they are totally gone now or not, (this was a couple mo ago) and they diminished though a lot.



Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Oct 29, 2015 9:00 AM CST
Yes Becky, DE for ants, slugs, cockroaches..
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Oct 29, 2015 4:28 PM CST
I'm sorry but I do not know what "DE" stands for or where to find it. I want to use it on slugs next spring/summer.
Thanks you for your response in advance.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Mary K
Safety Harbor, FL (Zone 10a)
Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Region: Florida Tomato Heads Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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p1mkw
Oct 29, 2015 4:34 PM CST
Jeanne, DE is diatomaceous earth. There is a food grade and a pool grade. From what I've read, you want to avoid the pool grade. there are some pesticides that have DE in it, but you can also purchase the food grade DE online ... Amazon having the best prices that I have seen.
Mary K.

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