How do I kill fire ants inside my house?

Imported Fire Ants November 30, 2012|Print

Fire ant colonies can migrate into homes and other structures in search of food, water, and nesting sites, especially during periods of extreme outdoor heat, drought, or flooding rains.They can enter through any cracks and crevices.

Fire ants entering through a hole in the foundation of a house

How to get rid of fire ants in your house:

  • One method of preventing fire ant problems in structures is to eliminate points of entry. Several weep hole covers have been marketed for use to exclude ants from entering structures. A study has shown that some of these covers effectively exclude the red imported fire ant (Drees, 2002).  An aperture of 0.5 mm should exclude red imported fire ants. However, achieving exclusion using spackling, caulk, or other sealants can be difficult or impractical.
  • Another method is to treat fire ant nests with an insecticide or fire ant bait. If the ants are nesting outside and coming into the house for food, the best way to control them is to treat the nest outside directly with a pesticide.
  • The situation is more complicated if the ants are nesting inside the house. Baits formulated for indoor use can be used.The workers will take these back to the colony and feed them to the queen.
  • Trails of foraging ants can be sprayed with a contact insecticide, but these treatments do not directly affect the colony. 
  • If the ants are nesting in a wall, an outside perimeter treatment may actually make things worse by acting as a repellent and keeping ants indoors. For ants nesting in walls, a contact insecticide should be used. You may need assistance from a professional pest control operator to apply this product. Make sure the product you select is labeled for use indoors.
  • Always read and follow the directions on the label.

Related Content

Citations

Drees, B. M. 1995. Red imported fire ant multiple stinging incidents to humans indoors in Texas. Southwestern Entomol. 20(3):383-385.

Drees, B. M. 2002. Evaluation of Guest Control, Inc. weep-hole screens for brick veneer structures in Red Imported Fire Ant Management Applied Research and Demonstration Reports 200-2002, Texas Imported Fire Ant Research & Management Project. Texas A&M University System. College Station. P. 17.


Find more information about fire ants in eXtension's Imported Fire Ant Resource Area.

 

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