If you have little red ants in your house or yard they are most likely red imported fire ants or southern fire ants. Fire ants are especially bothersome because their bite can sting and irritate the skin. Both types of red ant are attracted by foods that are sweet or contain protein. The red imported fire ant is extremely aggressive, according to the University of California's Statewide Integrated Pest Management program. Both types of red ant will attack in swarms when disturbed and their sting is very painful.
Keep surfaces in your home clean and free of food trash if red ants are infesting your house. Take special care with disposing of sweet foods and proteins since those are foods that attract both types of red ants.
Mix 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water and use it to clean floors, counters, window sills, baseboards and points where red ants are entering. Clean surfaces nightly if red ants are aggressively infesting the area.
Apply one or more non-toxic remedies to areas where red ants are entering your home. Sprinkle salt, cinnamon or eucalyptus oil along the areas where red ants are coming in if you wish to prevent access to your home without killing the ants. These substances must be reapplied frequently for best results.
Kill red ants by baiting them with a mixture of equal parts boric acid powder and table sugar. Fill soda bottle tops or similar containers with the mixture and stir in just enough water to make a thin paste. Place the baits along the path where red ants are entering. Red ants will be attracted to the bait because they like sweet foods. The boric acid powder is poisonous to ants, but they will live long enough to carry some of the bait back to their nest where other ants will partake of the poison.
Use a commercial ant poison formulated for sweet- or protein-attracted ants. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.
If you have found an infestation of red imported fire ants, call your local Department of Food and Agriculture to learn if there is an eradication program in your area. If so, you may be entitled to free assistance with removing red imported fire ants from your property.
Do not disturb the nests of red imported fire ants or southern fire ant. They are aggressive and may attack in swarms. Do not place open baits where children or pets may touch them.