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Dear DeDe Talks about Fire Ants!

Oh Dog! Happy Sunday everybody! DeDe here to share the latest news.

Oh Dog, it’s Dear DeDe!

Our current crisis has to do with Fire Ants. Now if you’re fortunate enough to not have to deal with these horrid little creatures, then count yourself fortunate. Apparently, they LOVE it here in Florida.

Unlike other kinds of ants, these guys bite ya. And those bites hurt…. and itch!  The worst part is that they like to work in unison, so if you get bit once, you’re probably gonna get bit several times, and by more than one ant.  And these guys WILL bite animals.

This is one kind of fire ant

We found two large mounds in the back yard. Jen had picked up a few bites during our outings back there, and she was afraid they might get on one of us. So she began to treat the mounds.

First she tried the baking soda and vinegar method.  You sprinkle baking soda on the mound and then pour vinegar over it to soak in.

That didn’t work. It DID encourage the ants to move though, so instead of two big mounds, we have about a dozen moderately sized ones.

This is a fire ant mound…. you sure don’t wanna step on that thing!

Diatomaceous Earth has also been sprayed out there, and so far that hasn’t worked either.  

So after asking some Facebook friends who live here in Florida, and doing some research online, Jen has opted to go for better living through chemistry.

She is going to broadcast the entire yard with a slow-acting ant killer, followed by treating individual mounds.  She will also continue spraying with DE, in hopes that she won’t have to continue to use chemicals.

Jen chose this course of action after she went to the University of Florida Extension website, and got some good info for this area.  Because critters respond differently in different areas, it’s always a good idea to check out your local extension service to see what works best in your area.

For example, they say using grits, soap, or moving the hill doesn’t work.  They also say that pouring hot water on the mound is only moderately  (20-60%) effective.

DE will kill the ants, but hasn’t shown to be effective with eliminating mounds.

Jen says she has only just begun to fight, and that she WILL be victorious.  

What about you? Have YOU waged war against fire ants? What is your most effective weapon in your arsenal?

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About rumpydog

I am a malamute that was rescued by her. I live with June Buggie the cat. I blog about animal welfare and responsible care of companion animals at rumpydog.com. You can follow me on Twitter - @RumpyDog. And don't forget to LIKE my Facebook page! Thanks!

Discussion

81 thoughts on “Dear DeDe Talks about Fire Ants!

  1. LOVE XOXOXOXOXO

    Posted by Cat Forsley | September 9, 2012, 8:05 AM
  2. No fire ants in Pennsylvania but they sound horrible!

    Posted by katecrimmins | September 9, 2012, 8:15 AM
  3. Fire ant bites hurt! When we lived in Texas, we had to battle them and I used the hot water method in emergencies, but chemical methods did work best. We had more success when we coordinated with our neighbors and all treated at the same time to keep them from moving back and forth between the yards.

    Posted by Shary Hover | September 9, 2012, 8:15 AM
  4. That is something we would not want to deal with. Sure hope you get them out of there quickly.
    Blessings,
    Goose

    Posted by Goose | September 9, 2012, 8:20 AM
  5. They sound nasty. Keep away x.

    Posted by shacklefordlb | September 9, 2012, 8:25 AM
  6. Once I ate a bug. I think it was a fly. Fire ants sound scary. Sometimes you gotta bring out the big guns. Don’t let those naughty bugs set you on fire!

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

    Posted by Genevieve Petrillo | September 9, 2012, 8:37 AM
  7. When we lived in Texas we had a big problem. It was too big to handle so we just learned to live with it. All of us, including the dogs, just learned to avoid the mounds. I am so glad we don’t have any fire ants where we are here in Kansas.

    Posted by Dawn | September 9, 2012, 8:38 AM
    • I hope we don’t have to. This house sat empty for awhile and the house next door is empty, so that’s probably contributed to our problem. The DE should keep them from moving from place to place. But we gotta do something about all these ants that are already here.

      Posted by rumpydog | September 9, 2012, 8:44 AM
  8. DeDe that’s difficult… We had a lot of ants in my backyard too, but not fire ants, we had the yellows… we were fighting with a ‘homemade trap’, a bowl filled with old beer and a spoon of honey, were they should drown (more a joke, but it was helpful for the wasps)… some people said you can put oat grains around the hill, but no idea if it would work… someone said they would disappear if they have no food and you have them to separate from their food – but this ‘smartie’ didn’t say how we should do this… I wish you good luck or like the Jedi-Knights say: ‘may the force be with you’

    Posted by easyweimaraner | September 9, 2012, 8:50 AM
  9. Hi dear DeDe! hmmmm… we haven’t heard the fire ants here…but they sound very scary creatures! Oh no….they should leave your territory immediately!
    We also have found dangerous spiders recently that are not supposed to be in our country….they might come to Japan with some stuff……
    I hope that Jen would find out good ways to get rid of them….hope people who have already deal with them give Jen good advice!
    Have a lovely Sunday Dear DeDe! 🙂

    Posted by eripanwkevin | September 9, 2012, 9:17 AM
  10. We don’t have them in OHIO butt have heard about them MANY TIMES and they are supposed to be VERY difficult to get rid of. I would have thought the DE would have done the trick. Hope you get rid of them quickly…

    Posted by Frankie Furter and Ernie | September 9, 2012, 9:29 AM
  11. Good luck with the little blighter, hope you manage to get rid of them. There’s just too many things out there that bite!

    Posted by gertygiggles | September 9, 2012, 9:35 AM
  12. We do get fireants here in South Africa but I am pleased to say that I don’t have any near me, so have not had to deal with the problem. Good luck though – horrible to get bitten by them.

    Posted by Long Life Cats and Dogs | September 9, 2012, 9:35 AM
  13. We don’t have them here in Canada, but I know here we have major problems with shrews and moles with their mounds. I’ve seen something that is put into the mound that sticks out and I was wondering if you are able to put something chemically into the mound?

    Posted by Sierra | September 9, 2012, 9:38 AM
  14. Batten down the hatches, you’re in for a long battle. No bitten dogs and cats, I hope – bad enough than Jen got attacked. These are dangerous critters. I found this site: http://www.fireant.net/Control/ When I was a kid and we had what Dad called fire ants (in Idaho) We soaked the nest with kerosene several times and then set it on fire. We had to have protective clothing on while doing this.

    Posted by anotherboomerblog | September 9, 2012, 9:43 AM
  15. Luckily they’re not a problem in most of Europe. Good luck, they sound nasty 😦

    Posted by Animalcouriers | September 9, 2012, 9:56 AM
  16. Poison! Sorry but one wrong step and standing there two seconds too long really lets you know why they are called fire ants. It burns! The sting over and over and don’t let go, and attack by the hundred. I don’t miss them at all! They were useful if I wanted a bird skeleton picked clean in a few hours, though.

    Posted by heretherebespiders | September 9, 2012, 10:27 AM
  17. My Mommeh has gotten bitten by a fire ant and she said it hurted real bad!

    Posted by Daisy the Curly Cat | September 9, 2012, 10:36 AM
  18. And that’s why I will never move south. Bigger biting bugs! Hate those suckers.

    Posted by Teepee12 | September 9, 2012, 11:11 AM
  19. We have those things in AZ too plus a million other kinds. We are in an apt now and don’t go outside. Our mommy only let’s us look out the sliding glass doors nowadays. Good luck and be careful.

    Posted by Drangedinaz | September 9, 2012, 12:23 PM
  20. No fire ants here in Cleveland, OH, well at least that we know of, but I have heard they can bite and cause major problems for ya! What are you using on your bites? Benadryl? Stay safe!

    Posted by Nikitaland | September 9, 2012, 12:32 PM
  21. WOW, those are some pretty nasty ants you have there.
    I hope you guys dont get bit too much…i read they can be pretty nasty.
    Sorry you have to deal with them.
    I hope you are victorius in removing them from your property…:-)
    Alex and Penny

    Posted by To Shea | September 9, 2012, 12:32 PM
  22. This is too weird..We went to cut wood and came across fire ants on Friday under the log. My husband was standing there cutting away and I am freaking out. How he managed to not get bit I don’t know..Take care!

    Posted by Roberta | September 9, 2012, 1:32 PM
  23. When I lived in the country we had a big problem with them. I went to the co-op and they told me to spray the entire yard and kill all the bugs because that was their food. Then they gave me some Anthro ( a white powder) and I treated each mound. Some would actually get away and start another mound but I would treat that one. The mounds got smaller and smaller and eventually I got rid of them. Or they moved on, not sure. But then the moles came.

    Posted by Jennifer Threet | September 9, 2012, 2:20 PM
  24. Urgh! They sound horrible, mean minded and vindictive! So far as I know we don’t currently get afflicted with these monstrosities…but mustn’t howl too soon 😉

    Posted by europasicewolf | September 9, 2012, 3:14 PM
  25. Unfortunately fire ants are best fought with using chemicals. UFE website is a trusted place for all things Florida. Using toothpaste on a bite as soon as it happens is a good remedy 🙂

    Posted by PC PHOTO | September 9, 2012, 3:27 PM
  26. Kill em all! Never met fire ants and they don’t sound very nice, so I don’t plan to get a date.

    Posted by stanzebla | September 9, 2012, 4:02 PM
  27. oooooh be VERY careful with DE!! If inhaled, it can shred – and we mean SHRED – a pet’s lungs…human’s too. We’re a bit skeered of that over here, to be honest…

    Posted by rykersboyz | September 9, 2012, 4:45 PM
  28. Good luck getting rid of those nasty little critters and be very careful until you do.

    Posted by Misty Shores Chesapeakes | September 9, 2012, 4:49 PM
  29. Eeeek how dreadful!

    Our Weasley is allergic to bees I cant imagine if he encoutered a fire ant
    urban hounds

    Posted by Urban Hounds | September 9, 2012, 6:16 PM
  30. Hey DeDe, Jet here. Hi Miss Jen.

    Uh, Miss Jen? Welcome to Florida?! 😦 You are so brave and so smart. UF Extension is a great resource for many questions. They usually have an office in each Florida county. They even conduct workshops sometimes. (Mom took a rain barrel class with them.) We appreciate your diligence in trying to return to natural options. First get rid of those naughty buggers!

    Posted by heyitsjethere | September 9, 2012, 7:40 PM
  31. Wow. That sounds scary to us. Hope you can now get rid of them!! xo Berner Girls

    Posted by Moxie Dogs | September 9, 2012, 8:06 PM
  32. We don’t have fire ants here, thank Cod! Every couple of years little black ants try to come in the house & the mom sprays them with Raid. It takes care of them, but our mom isn’t very green, is she?

    Posted by Oui Oui | September 9, 2012, 8:48 PM
  33. Yuck – I remember those nasty fire ants! I used to live in Homestead, FL. Although they are horrible, I had more problems with the poisonous Bufo toads. For everyone’s sake, please check to see if they are in your area and how to recognize exposure to their poisonous secretions. And good luck with the ants.

    Posted by msmouse7 | September 9, 2012, 9:00 PM
  34. Yesh, sounds positively scarey. What about using a Bit Butt Shop Vac and extracting the little menices and their mound into a garbage bag and taking the whole lot to a dump? There’s probably laughter right now, but I’d seriously try it….then I’d spray the be’jezzes out of the lawn with something fierce…good luck!

    Posted by Boomdeeadda | September 9, 2012, 11:12 PM
  35. Oh Dear!!! We don’t have fire ants here in NY, but we did have a close call when we got out of the RV one time in South Carolina…mama almost stepped right ON the pile!! It was very scary! Hope you have good luck getting rid of them. We do have some friends in Florida and we will ask them what the use to get rid of those pesky creatures!! xoxo Chloe and LadyBug

    Posted by bichonpawz | September 10, 2012, 12:26 AM
  36. I would insist the family move! Fire ants do not sound like something I would enjoy having in the garden.

    Posted by Zena | September 10, 2012, 1:02 AM
  37. Ooo. Nasty little beggers. The government used to carry out aerial spraying when I lived in Queensland – they are a real pest here because they outcompete native ants and can kill native animals. Plus they’re just vicious and people can have serious reactions to their bites. If you find fire ants here then it’s a reportable pest and I think someone comes out and treats your garden, but I’m not sure how they treat it. I know that’s not much help. 🙂 Hope you can get on top of the problem.

    Posted by Flo | September 10, 2012, 1:11 AM
  38. Let us know when and how you win the battle as we have an ant problem in our front garden 😦

    Posted by mythreemoggies | September 10, 2012, 3:39 AM
  39. They sound nasty. Fortunately, we don’t get them here. I hope you find a way to clear your yard.

    Posted by Bassas Blog | September 10, 2012, 6:20 AM
  40. I think the flies and bugs are one reason I stay in New York.
    Good luck

    Posted by Lynda | September 10, 2012, 2:20 PM
  41. We hope you get rid of them:( They sound awful!

    Posted by Dogs N Pawz | September 10, 2012, 3:41 PM
  42. We fight these constantly. Tried no chemicals- but no good. The baits specifically for fire ants do work – but take time and there’s the hazard of dogs/cats getting into the bait on the ground. We do spray/granular treat sparingly – but have to. Something to think about, the ants migrate to the yards that are the driest…they hate wet yards/sprinklers since they have to rebuild – ants will migrate to your yard if it’s dryer than surrounding yards ( county agent warned us…and he’s right)
    They are truly horrid and will swam into baby animal eyes, mouths, and noses looking for water during drought.

    Posted by philosophermouseofthehedge | September 10, 2012, 4:29 PM
  43. When growing up in CA we had them in the school yard of all things and once when I did a cartwheel, I found an unpleasant surprise under my hands. I’ve never had to try to get rid of them, though, but lots of other kinds of ants and it is no easy task. I wish you luck in eliminating these from your yard.

    Posted by Renee Espriu | September 10, 2012, 8:45 PM
  44. I hate those little buggers! I have been bitten myself and can tell you they are no fun. I hope Jen has good luck with treating them.

    Posted by Jodi | September 11, 2012, 10:55 AM
  45. They’re terribile, Rumpy! We only have red ants in the forest, but I’m even not sure I they’re fire ants. The only thing I know is that the black ants don’t like copper. We always use copper cents near the nest and they’re don’t come inside of the house. Maybe you can try copper wire and see what they’re doing.

    Posted by angelswhisper2011 | September 12, 2012, 9:49 AM
  46. I did some research on this for you, and what I’ve discovered is that the fire ant solution is actually fairly simple. Getting rid of fire ants, as everyone knows, is a war. The most effective strategy in the war against fire ants is known as, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

    The idea, the way I understand it, is to intentionally be bitten as frequently as possible by one or two ants at a time. This phase of the fire ant war is known as “get it over with.” If you are successful in this phase of the campaign, two amazing things will happen.

    You see, fire ant toxin it turns out, is residual. It never leaves your system. Ever! So once you’ve been bitten enough times, you contain more of it than their entire colony! You’ve lost the battle, well maybe several of them, but…! First, you develop an immunity to the toxin. Second, you begin to “smell” like a fire ant to fire ants!

    When you finally smell enough like a fire ant, they not only won’t bite you anymore, the little suckers actually think you are like their god and stuff. The toxin works as a semi-conductor. They sense your thoughts! Your brain is infinitely more complex than theirs, so the ants that were once your foes, become not just your allies, but your personal army! …which is actually kind of handy.

    It’s not a be all to end all solution, of course. Tribes of fire ants quickly alienate each other as a means of survival, so to maintain supremacy, you must continue the practice of being bitten by the enemy. But after a hundred times or so, I hear you won’t even notice it anymore and you will be able to summon ant armies to do your evil bidding from hundreds of miles away!

    I have NOT tested any of this.

    Posted by Anne Schilde | September 13, 2012, 1:44 AM
  47. I think what Anne says is somewhat true for humans because when I first came to my current home fire ants bites swelled up hugely on me and were awfully itchy. Now I am regularly bitten because I spend a large amount of time outdoors in fields and on trails and other than the initial sting I am not bothered by the bites. I haven’t had any mounds in the yard for years so apparently you can get them out of the yard and be free of them (knock on wood). I used some kind of granules in a bag, can’t remember exactly what kind, but they were similar to the Eliminator Ant, Flea, and Tick killer granules.

    Posted by Bosun Dawg | September 13, 2012, 7:24 PM
  48. We’ve never seen these Thank Cod. They look hellish. We hope they are long gone since you posted this.

    Posted by Layla Morgan Wilde | September 15, 2012, 6:15 PM
  49. Oh, how I miss fire ants………….NOT!

    Posted by Russel Ray Photos | September 20, 2012, 7:41 PM
  50. Hey Rumpy,
    I just found this information about how to kill your fire ants! Simply pour 2 cups of CLUB SODA directly in the center of a fire ant mound. The carbon dioxide in the water is heavier than air and displaces oxygen which suffocates the queen and the other ants. The whole colony will be dead within about two days. Each mound must be treated individually and a one liter bottle of club soda will kill 2 to 3 mounds.

    Posted by Nikitaland | September 23, 2012, 8:45 PM
    • Thanks, but the extension service around here says that is not very effective. I’m treating as they recommended. I don’t like using chemicals and poisons, but I can’t chance DeDe having an allergic reaction if she gets multiple bites. So far, it’s working, and hopefully regular treatment with DE will keep more ants from finding their way into our yard.

      Posted by rumpydog | September 23, 2012, 9:56 PM

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