Fire ants – those red, angry-looking insects that cause so much trouble for homeowners – have been a bane of the summer season for years.
They’re known for their aggressive behavior and painful stings – and they seem to be everywhere. But is there anything you can do to get rid of them without using harsh chemicals?
The answer might surprise you: vinegar may be the key to ridding your yard of these pesky critters.
That’s right – household vinegar, used full strength or diluted with water, can kill fire ants on contact. It works by disrupting their protective coating, leaving them vulnerable to dehydration and death.
How to Use Vinegar to Kill Fire Ants?
The tiny, red little ants could ruin a perfectly planned barbecue party, and nobody enjoys the stinging sensation of fire ants on their skin.
It’s been established that vinegar can help get rid of the problem. However, before you grab a jug of vinegar and pour it all over your yard, it’s important to understand the best way of using it.
Vinegar Kills Ants with Direct Contact
That’s right. Even if you pour an entire gallon of vinegar in your yard, if these fire ants aren’t there, the entire act of doing so is pretty useless.
With that being said, it’s best that you first locate the mound or nest of these fire ants. If you can’t, you’ll be able to see a trail and use this as a guide to your ant-infested area.
Once you’ve located or detected the presence of fire ants, it’s time to pour some vinegar over them.
Diluted or Undiluted?
It’s tempting (and easier) to just grab a gallon of vinegar and pour it over the ants. However, undiluted vinegar doesn’t always necessarily mean that it’s better.
The strong acetic acid present in vinegar is the one responsible for killing these fire ants. However, it can also damage your yard, particularly if you use strong undiluted vinegar.
It’s best that you consider diluting your vinegar with water, particularly if you plan on using the mixture in large amounts.
A 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water should do the trick. To be sure, you can also test out a smaller sample first before committing to larger amounts.
Be careful when pouring vinegar over your lawn. The acidic content can damage your grass and plants, leaving them brown and withered.
So be sure to just aim the vinegar directly toward the ants rather than spilling it all over the area. That way, you can ensure you don’t damage any of your lawn decorations or vegetation in the process.
Pay Attention to Other Pests
Vinegar is known to be an effective form of pest control, and it can help you eliminate your problem with fire ants as well. However, be sure to keep an eye out for other pests that may have also taken refuge in your yard.
For example, earwigs are attracted to damp conditions, so if you’ve got a problem with these little critters in your lawn, spraying vinegar may not be the best solution.
Only Use White Vinegar
It’s worth noting that only white vinegar is effective in getting rid of fire ants. Other types of vinegar, such as balsamic and cider vinegars, are not strong enough to be used in pest control.
It’s also important to remember that vinegar isn’t a long-term solution for ant problems – it will only kill the ants on contact, so if you’re dealing with a big infestation, you may need to use more than one application before the problem is gone for good.
Always Employ Professional Pest Control Services
White vinegar is proven to be an effective DIY ant treatment. However, since it’s a DIY solution, there is always a risk of misapplication. Its effectiveness may also depend on where and how you apply it, so it’s best to always consult a professional for the best possible solution.
With that being said, if you see a trail of ants in your driveway or pavement, vinegar should be enough to get rid of the problem. But if you’re dealing with a larger infestation, or if the fire ants return after your DIY vinegar treatment, it’s best to call in the professionals.
Mix with Baking Soda for Added Strength
In addition to white vinegar, you can also introduce baking soda into the equation for added strength.
This mixture is quite simple – mix equal parts of baking soda and white vinegar, add some water and pour it over the fire ant mound.
The resulting chemical reaction will create a powerful fizz that can eliminate the fire ants and their nests in no time.
Keep your Pets Safe
If you have pets, it’s best to keep them away from the area where you’re applying vinegar or any other form of pest control product.
Vinegar is generally non-toxic for people and animals, but it can still irritate their skin, eyes, and nasal passages. As such, it’s best to keep your pets away from the treated area until all the vinegar has dried up.
Vinegar is touted to be an effective DIY method for getting rid of fire ants. It works by killing the ants on contact, so finding their trail or looking for their nest will help address the ant problem you’re going through. However, always remember that it’s not a leave it and forget it solution.
You may need multiple applications to really get rid of the ants, and ultimately a professional pest control service might be better equipped to handle your ant infestation.