Do you know what it feels like to be bitten by a fire ant?
Their name gives you a bit of a hint...
Fire ants are some of the worst pests to have in your garden or house.
When you approach and disturb them, they’ll bite you and then sting you with their abdomen.
Their stings are painful and can sometimes feel like that part of your body is on fire (hence their name).
This article gives advice on the best fire ant killers that you can use to protect yourself, your family, and your pets (because they bite them too).
Quick Overview - Fire Ant Bait Reviews
Short on time? Check out our product table below to find out which product we liked best.
What are fire ants?
Fire ants come in over 200 various species.
The common ones include native fire ants, red ants, and black fire ants. It’s important to know how to identify them from other species. You tend to find the pests in your garden, parks, and in the cracks on the floor.
Want to skip all this research and get someone else to kill all your fire ants?
Larger colonies can have more than 250,000 workers that cover huge distances in search of food. The workers tend to have a reddish color and are omnivorous, which means they eat both vegetables and meat. You can learn more about their biology and habits here. Large colonies can also destroy electric wiring around your property.
There’s nothing worse than losing power in your house because of ants right?
What to look for when killing fire ants?
The mound is the most characteristic sign. Fire ants tend to tunnel underground rather than having the main entrance in the center and the soil can have a fluffy appearance, especially after heavy rain.
Before you choose your product, you need to consider if they’re located indoors or outdoors and how fast you want to eradicate them.
Typically, fire ants are not the type of ant that will want to come into your house for food. Although one type, the “red imported fire ant” may venture into your home, so be careful.
An Important Note About Fire Ant Killers
Fire ants tend to be a special kind of ant that requires a special kind of ant treatment. In this guide, you’ll find we recommend specialized products for fire ants rather than general “ant killers” like you might find on other websites.
If fire ants are in your home...
Ants tend to come indoors during periods of hot and dry weather or after having their mound destroyed during heavy rain.
You should first determine their point of entry and seal it off.
If it’s not causing you an immediate problem and you don’t know where the mound is, consider baiting. This uses a slow acting poison that workers take back to the mound to infect the others. The queen usually dies within a week and the colony in two.
Insecticide sprays give immediate results and ants die when they come into contact with it. However, this only kills the ones that are there and may deter others from any baits that you’re using.
Just remember... If you have ants in your house you want to stick to traps and baits.
If fire ants are in your lawn...
Mound treatment is one of the best ways to kill the fire ants that are outdoors. It has an immediate effect and takes a few days to see results. The common types of mound treatment are listed below:
- Mound drenching: A toxic liquid or boiling water is poured over the mound. This kills all the fire ants it comes into contact with. This treatment option might not kill the queen or those ants that are buried deep underground.
- Mound Injection: An insecticide is injected into the mound. This can be a potent ant killer, but it may not reach the queen (our goal).
- Surface dust/granules: Granules or powders with insecticides are applied to the top of the mound and/or around your yard. This method has been seen to do some serious mound damage and reach the queen.
- Baiting: Another tried and true method in the ant killing world. It's simple, baiting works.
Any home remedies to kill fire ants...?
The most common home remedies are to either to pour boiling water over the mound or if you want to embrace your inner pyromaniac, drench it in gasoline and set fire to it.
See the videos below for "professional" demonstrations of both methods...
Both options may be able to help you with your ant problem. Obviously, setting fire to your ant hill may seem extreme, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Other safer options include mixing citric acid with hot and soapy water. You should always remember that home remedies will never be as good as the best commercial ant killers that are available.
Want to skip all this research and get someone else to kill all your fire ants?
Some claim home remedies are safer, but this isn’t always true. Fire ants can cause major problems and you should do whatever you can to eradicate them to protect yourself and your family.
Now that we’ve looked at what fire ants are and the best ways to kill them, here are five of my best ant killers available on the market. Some are short term fixes where others other offer a more long-term solution.
Ortho is a surface dust where you put granules onto the mound. This is powerful and starts to kill within a few hours. The queen is usually dead in three days and the granules prevent new ones forming for up to six months after use.
Ortho is one of the best fire ant killers on the market and you can expect to see immediate and long-lasting effects. The only disadvantage is that they’re very powerful and can irritate the skin and kill flowers.
- Long Lasting (6+ Months Of Effectiveness)
- Fast Acting Insecticide
- No Need To Mix Granules With Water Before Application
- Needs To Be Directly Applied To The Mound
- Product Is Sometimes Difficult To Apply
- Granules May Kill Other Plants/Animals By Accident
This product is a powder that comes in a shaker to sprinkle onto the ant hill. The active ingredient is acephate, a potent insecticide that kills and can destroy the colony within a few days. Most people, myself included, have had a lot of success with this and it works over the long term.
This product is an extremely potent insecticide that has long-term and consistent results. The only major downside is the bad odor that it releases and sometime it is too good at killing stuff.
- Very Powerful Active Ingredient
- Kills A Variety of Bugs (Spiders, Fire Ants, etc)
- Only Need To Apply Once or Twice Before Problem Is Solved
- Long Shelf Life For Product
- The Odor Has Been Described As "Intensely rotten sulfur with a hint of old milk"
- Can Kill Everything Near The Product (Grass, Bugs, Plants, etc)
- The Applicator Isn't Very Good At Applicating. You May Need To Use A Spoon
- Dangerous Around Pets And Children
Scotts Snap are granules that stop fire ants from disrupting and destroying your lawn. This is also effective against weeds and you can apply it in combination with fertilizer and grass seeds. The product is great to help you manage your garden whilst controlling the pests.
This product is great for all round effects on your garden and to help you manage your lawn, but it may not be the best to control the fire ant problem over the long-term.
- Has A Long Residual Effect (4+ Months)
- Versatile Killing Fire Ants, Weeds, And Other Pests
- See Results Within 12 Hours
- You Need To Buy A Spreader To Apply The Product Around Your Yard
- Not 100% Waterproof
- Product Is Hit And Miss Depending On Your Situation And Infestation
Advion is one of my favorite brands when it comes to killing pests and their fire ant killing product is no exception. This stuff delivers.
The active ingredient is indoxacarb, which is the same chemical used in their roach killer (also a great highly rated product). Overall, this is a great product that kills within 24-48 hours. You can spread it around your lawn (the broadcast method) or target each mount. My recommendation is to do both if your fire ant problem isn't getting any better.
- Effective And Proven Active ingredient
- Quick Killer (24-48 hours after application)
- Effective Against Variety Of Pests
- Expensive Product
- May Require A Hand Spreader To Apply To Whole Yard
The Bottom Line
Ortho is the best ant killer and the winning product for this review.
Compared to the others, it combines potency with relative safety (pet friendly) and is readily available.
The granules have an immediate effect and you can expect to see results in a few hours. The main advantage for me is that the residual effects can last up to six months keeping the mounds at bay. On top of that, it's a bit more "safe" as ant killers are concerned.
As opposed to Bayer, which as a poisonous active ingredient, and Surrender, which smells like rotten eggs, Ortho is my top pick.