Safe, Effective, Natural Ways to Deal With Fire Ants
I was in the garden one beautiful day, watering the plants and minding my own business. Suddenly, I felt a sharp sting on my foot. Then another one, and another. And then my legs started stinging. It felt like my feet were on fire, friends. It was horrible. The cause? You guessed it…fire ants. Somehow, I pissed the little buggers off, and they were out for blood.
You know, I’m generally a live-and-let-live kind of gal. But when something attacks me, especially when I wasn’t even doing anything threatening to it, that’s when enough is enough. I decided that particular nest had to go.
We’re committed to doing everything we possibly can to avoid dangerous chemicals and toxins, so getting conventional ant bait and poison wasn’t an option. Luckily, though, because Nature always provides a way, there were plenty of natural methods available to help me deal with the fire ants without hurting my garden or the plants and wildlife around it.
Simple, Natural Ways to Get Rid of Fire Ants
One of the simplest methods to deal with fire ants is to use boiling water. To do this, get a big pot of boiling water (make sure it’s not going to slosh on you when you carry it to their nest). Without disturbing the ants, pour the boiling water directly onto the nest. Ideally, you want to pour 2-3 gallons of water onto the mound; do this 2-3 times to kill the ants and their queen. Avoid pouring the boiling water on any plants, as it can also kill them.
If the idea of carrying several gallons of boiling water up to the nest doesn’t appeal to you, there are definitely other good options. Another method that’s often quite effective is to create an orange oil solution that you can dump on the mound. Add 3 ounces of liquid dish soap and 1.5 ounces of orange essential oil to 1 gallon of water. If you want, you can add in some molasses or sugar to lure other ants to the mixture. Stir the mixture so it’s well-combined, then pour it directly onto their mound.
You can also use Borax to kill ants. Mix equal parts of powdered Borax and powdered sugar. If you don’t have Borax handy, you can use equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar. Put a few tablespoons of your mixture onto the lid of a jar, then put it close to the mound. The ants will be attracted to the mixture because of the sugar, and they’ll carry it back to the rest of the colony. Both Borax and baking soda will kill them after they ingest it, so eventually this will kill the colony (repeat the process as necessary). Alternately, you could drop the mixture directly onto or into the mound—just be careful not to get bitten if you’re messing around with the nest.
Finding Relief From Fire Ant Bites
Since I had about 9 million fire ant bites on my feet and legs, I was desperate for relief. I put lavender essential oil on, and it provided a lot of relief for the itching and burning that accompanied the bites. Peppermint oil also seemed to provide some relief, although not as much as the lavender. Side note: my husband had poison ivy all over his hands, arms, and legs, and the lavender essential oil provided him with a lot of relief too!
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