How can I get rid of red ants in my lawn?

ant hole image by Tomasz Plawski from

Imported red fire ants, a prolific lawn pest throughout the Southern United States, can quickly build multiple large mounds of loose earth and overrun your lawn. Luckily, there are several ways to safely and effectively remove red ants from your lawn.

Broadcast Baits

Broadcast baits are small granules that are easily dispersed over large areas, making them useful for treating lawns with multiple red ant mounds. Broadcast baits combine an attractive red fire ant food with a slow-acting insecticide. Foraging ants collect the toxic food and return it to the colony, spreading the chemical to many other ants in the process. The aim of broadcast baits is to allow the ants, through their natural behaviour, to carry the poison to the queen and kill the colony. Several types of broadcast baits are commonly available at hardware stores. Follow label instructions carefully.

Individual Mound Treatment

Directly treating mounds may be necessary for large colonies. Several direct methods, both organic and chemical, will treat red ant mounds. Agitating a nest and applying diatomaceous earth or boric acid is one way to directly kill ants on contact, but neither is the most effective means and usually requires several treatments. Look for liquid chemical methods that can be injected deep into the mound. Several types of dusts and granule insecticides are designed to kill red fire ants, as well.


Always employ extra caution when dealing with red ants. The imported red fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) causes a painful bite, and thousands of workers will emerge and swarm an intruder when the nest is agitated. A red fire ant bite usually causes intense local pain and mild swelling, but some people are more allergic and may have a severe reaction that requires medical attention.