Fire ants are one of the most troubling species of ants since they won’t only cause damage to your plants but their bites are also painful and can induce allergic reactions. Using one of the best fire ant killers may help you just kill the ants and their queen and also to keep your lawn looking great for a long time.
Here are my favorite fire ant killers that you can use on any type of soil. You would be surprised at how many active ingredients can help you deal with a fire ant infestation.
8 Best Fire Ant Killers - My Top Choices
- 8 Best Fire Ant Killers - My Top Choices
- Types of Fire Ant Killers
- How Important Is Residual Control?
- How to Use Various Ant Killers
There are very few ant killers as popular as the Ortho Orthene. This formula contains 50% acephate with the remaining composition being a proprietary blend of ingredients dedicated to dealing with fire ant mounds in a quick and decisive manner.
Orthene is for outdoor use only and is quite potent. One 12oz batch of Orthene should be enough to deal with up to 162 mounds, depending on their size. Note that this is not a long-lasting deterrent. Once applied to a mound, it will do its job fast but you’ll still need to treat the area with something else in order to prevent future infestations.
The good news is that the Orthene Fire Ant Killer is very easy to use. It doesn’t need watering and it won’t kill your plants either. You can use it around trees, lawns, and ornamental plants without worries. However, using it at the right time will be important to maximize its effect.
Try to apply Orthene when the temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s usually when fire ants are active, so it will give you a better chance of having the ants spread the formula all the way to their queen.
There’s no bait and release with these granules. Once the fire ants carry it all the way back to the mound, it won’t be long until the queen dies and drags the rest of the colony with her. You should place a few granules near a mound and wait for the magic to happen.
The main active ingredient in this formula is hydramethylnon. This compound is known for its low toxicity to mammals, which makes it safe to use around pets. Even in small rodents, it takes constant consumption over a long period to show any harmful effects.
The Amdro Fire Ant Bait granules are very small, so it won’t be hard for ants to quickly carry them inside the mound as food. Dusting one teaspoon of granules should be enough, at least for visible mounds.
You may have to use a lot more if there are also underground mounds on your property. But then again, you can get this formula in .375lbs, 1lb, and 2lbs jars. Even the smallest container should be enough for the average household.
It is best to use it when the weather is dry. Since the granules are so small and dissolve quickly, they’re not water resistant. If it rains, you should reapply once the mound has dried.
This is one of my favorite 2-in-1 products. The Bengal UltraDust 2X is a time-released formula that kills ants, ant queens, and still lingers on to kill off any strays or new ants that might be trying to settle in. It’s basically a long-lasting residual control formula with a great killing potential.
Now, you may need to apply a bit more UltraDust 2X than you would some other ant killers. A single 12oz shaker only treats around 30 mounds. But, from a pricing standpoint, that’s not bad considering the residual control properties.
This formula doesn’t need watering-in. And, what’s even better is that it can withstand moisture or even light rain. This gives you more opportunities to treat mounds and doesn’t force you to wait for the dry weather.
The Syngenta Advion Fire Ant Bait can take care of your fire ant mounds in 72 hours. It has some residual control too, but it only lasts for a few days, just enough to ensure that all ants die with their queen. Made with a time-released formula, the Advion is bait that you can use directly on mounds or around lawns.
Fire ants won’t die immediately once they come in contact with it, though. It takes a few hours, so there should be enough time for them to carry the granules into the mound and spread the poison. Because this is a potent formula, you might not want to use it around edible plants or plant beds.
One canister holds 2lbs of the small Advion granules, and that should be more than enough for 32 mounds. You’ll need around two tablespoons for each mound to get the job done quickly and get that residual control effect.
The Amdro Yard Treatment Bait is not just suitable for fire ants but also for other species that have established colonies around your home. You can find this bait in shaker bags of 2lbs and 5lbs. Even the smallest bag gives coverage of around 4,000 sq. ft. This is not bad at all, considering the price.
This formula also offers residual control for a couple of months after killing the queen. The species it’s most effective against are fire ants, bighead ants, and harvester ants.
Due to the time-released formula, ants won’t die once they come in direct contact with the bait. This will allow you to use less of the product and still get the job done. On top of that, the Yard Treatment Bait has a good effective range of 30ft. in all directions around the mound. It even broadcasts up to 10ft. underground.
Because of this, it won’t take long before ants start swarming around it and taking it back to their queen. It may take a few days for the queen and the entire colony to die, but with an extra three months of protection, this product does a good job. Keep in mind that it’s not considered safe for indoor use.
The BioAdvanced 502832 Fire Ant Killer is one of the easiest formulas you can use. It comes in powder form and can be sprinkled on top of mounds easily with the shaker head. This powder doesn’t require water activation because the fire ants will find it and carry it back into the mound.
One batch of the 502832 dust should be enough for more than100 mounds. Two shakes have around 1 tsp. of dust and that should be sufficient for mounds that are less than 12” in diameter. If you find a larger one, you may want to double the amount.
Although the active ingredient, b-cyflurthrin is only found in a .5% concentration in the formula, all the other ingredients still make this pesticide quite potent. In fact, it may be potent enough to seriously harm fish so you should avoid using it near drains or natural ponds.
I should also point out that this is a fast-acting formula. Once the ants come into contact with it, it shouldn’t take longer than three days until the queen and the colony are dead. However, there’s very little residual control.
Ortho granules are among the most powerful granules for dealing with fire ants. A bag of 11.5lbs of these granules can treat up to 5,000 sq. ft. and prevent new mounds from forming. In fact, residual control is one of the main fortes of this formula.
Ortho uses a small concentration of bifenthrin and a proprietary blend of other ingredients in order to create a fast-acting and long-lasting formula. That’s why the Ortho Broadcast Granules can last you up to 6 months.
If you’re looking to kill entire mounds, this might be one way to do it. But, it’s probably best to use a more potent ant killer with a time-release formula that can kill an entire mound.
As broadcast granules, these granules are best used as ground control after the kill. Although they can kill the queen really fast once they reach it, it may take a while for the formula to reach deep inside the mound. Keep in mind that the granules aren’t spread on mounds directly but rather on lawns for a larger spread.
You can combine this formula with Ortho Orthene as part of their recommended two-step process of eliminating ants and preventing the new ones from settling on your property.
The Surrender Fire Ant Killer has an acephate-based formula with roughly 75% of acephate content. It also has other proprietary ingredients that make it a very potent formula. Due to its potency, you can use this fire ant killer in residential and in industrial areas alike.
You can apply this formula in two ways. You can spread it as it is or you can mix it with some water. You don’t need to add water but it may help if you’re dealing with larger mounds that need a drenching treatment.
It’s also important to note that the Surrender Fire Ant Killer comes in a metal can with a pry-off lid. You’ll have to be careful with its storage and keep it out of the reach of kids and pets.
Types of Fire Ant Killers
There are really only four surefire ways to deal with ant infestations - traps, sprays, granules, and gels. While ant traps were quite popular in the past, some people still use them today because they don’t use chemicals.
However, sprays are by far more effective. You won’t have to wait for the ants to get baited and you can use them directly on mounds, or to create a barrier around places the ants might infest.
Ant granules are also efficient. Most of them are designed to be thrown or planted inside mounds. They have a dual effect of both baiting and poisoning ants and can last a long time too. They’re often used as outdoor solutions.
Ant gels are a different breed of ant killers. They’re a cross between traps and direct application ant killers. The most common use for gels is to fill cracks and holes that lead into the house with them. They also attract ants, which is always good if you want to speed up the eradication process. And, since they’re always used in tight spots, your pets and kids are unlikely to come in contact with them.
How Important Is Residual Control?
Most of the time, the best ant killer isn’t also the best solution for long-term protection. Sprays, for example, are rarely long-lasting, especially when compared to broadcast granules. But does this mean that broadcast granules are the best overall solution?
Well, not exactly. In most situations, it’s best to use a combination of two products, one for killing the colonies and one for preventing the ants from forming new mounds.
Keep in mind that when you’re looking for products with great residual control, the coverage will also be important. Always check how much coverage you can get from one bag or container of your preferred residual control fire ant killer.
How to Use Various Ant Killers
If you use large broadcast granules, it’s probably best to just spread them around your lawn. Don’t focus so much on existing mounds, but go for the areas in between them.
When using sprays, you should try to spray near the mound or on it. Dust formulas are also designed to be sprinkled on top of mounds.
In the event that you’re getting a formula that requires added water, use that solution to drench large mounds.
Keep Your Lawn Clean and Avoid Annoying Bites
Ant killers can come in various forms and use a wide range of active ingredients to help you deal with fire ant infestations.
When you’re done locating all mounds, you can use any of the reviewed products to get rid of all the queens in your backyard. But, remember that residual control is also important, especially if you have more than a few mounds.