Homemade fire ant killer

Updated February 21, 2017

Fire ants are a type of aggressive stinging ants that leave behind painful red welts or worse if you are allergic to fire ant stings. Fire ant colouring ranges from red to brown to black depending on the species. The imported variety of fire ant is more aggressive and causes more damage to property, people and gardens than the native fire ant. Fire ants create underground colonies and will defend their colony if trespassers disturb it. There are many home remedies used to kill fire ants, but none has a 100 per cent success rate.

Locate the colony by following the fire ants near dusk to see where they live. A sign of a fire ant colony is the presence of loose, dug-up mounds of soil.

Bring two to three large pots of water to a boil.

Pour the boiling water onto the colony during the midday when the queen is most active. Repeat if you see fire ant activity near the nest. Many times the fire ants will move to a new location after this treatment, so it is important to note their activity after dousing them with boiling water.

Mix 1 tbsp of jelly or jam, 1 tsp of boric acid and 1/2 tsp of canned cat food or dog food.

Roll the mixture into small balls.

Leave the bait around the perimeter of the fire ant colony in hopes of a worker ant bringing the poison bait to the queen.

In a large plastic garbage can, add 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent and 4 cups of caustic lime and fill the can with warm water. Wear a dust mask to avoid breathing in the lime dust.

Stir the water with a long broom handle to mix.

Pour the contents of the garbage can onto the ant colony. Lime will kill fire ants, dish detergent helps the lime to stick to the interior surfaces of the colony, and water works to spread the lime throughout the colony.

Wear a dust mask and protective goggles.

Spread a 4 to 6-inch wide layer of diatomaceous earth around the exterior of the house, garden and the ant colony. Diatomaceous earth is the fossilised, powdery substance left behind by the cell walls of diatoms, which are one-celled algae. It is damaging to fire ant bodies and will kill them by tearing open their bodies. Diatomaceous earth is readily available in garden centres.

Repeat after rainfalls and plant watering.


Consider hiring a professional exterminator for an infestation.


Seek immediate medical attention if you are stung by fire ants and are allergic to the sting.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Pot
  • Jelly or jam
  • Boric acid
  • Canned dog or cat food
  • Garbage can
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Lime
  • Broom handle
  • Dust mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Diatomaceous earth
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About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.