How to Get Rid of Red Ants

How to Eliminate Red Ants: Indoor & Outdoor Solutions

Avatar of author Ismael Girard
Ismael Girard
min read

To get rid of fire ants indoors, it's recommended to clean your house, use ant baits, and apply deterrent sprays. To get rid of red ants outdoors, use broadcast baits, fire ant mound baits, and drench methods.

In this text, you'll get all the details you need to make sure you're ready to get rid of fire ants, both indoors and outdoors. But first, we got to identify them!

How to Identify Fire Ants?

Fire ants, often referred to as red ants, aren't difficult to spot. Typically, these ants range from 1/16 to 1/4 inch in length, showcasing a distinct reddish-brown color. Their bodies consist of two nodes and antennae that bend at a 90-degree angle. The females, which are the worker ants, are generally smaller in size.

Where Are Red Ants Found?

Fire ants have a knack for building their mound in open, sunny areas. They're often seen in yards, parks, and other open landscapes, making ant extermination methods crucial.

They also build their mound in soil, often resulting in mounds around homes and buildings, causing ant infestations. Also, fire ants aren't only found in North America. In fact, their colonies also extend up to Puerto Rico, and occasionally, other countries.

Fire Ants vs. Other Ants

Fire ants unite in their uniqueness. Among the 1,000 ant species found in North America, fire ants are notable for their aggressive behavior and for their painful bites, which often leave red welts and cause discomfort to people. Unlike many ant species, fire ants are also known to damage our backyards.

How to Eliminate Red Ants Indoor?

an image of red ant nest getting removed

Now that we know more about fire ants' behavior and their distinctive characteristics, we now transition to tackling the problem at hand: How to get rid of red ants in our homes?

1. Clean Your House

First on the agenda, maintaining an immaculate indoor environment is key. Fire ants find sugar attractive, so secure all sweet food items in tightly sealed containers. Also wipe down surfaces to clear any trace of food crumbs or sticky spills.

2. Place Baits Around Your Home

Transitioning from ant-preventive to ant-responsive measures, effective placement of the best ant baits becomes vital.

Ant baits work by baiting worker ants with sugary food, deceitfully mixed with insecticides. Once the "baited" worker ants return to their nest and share the poisoned food, it eventually trickles to the queen ant, neutralizing her and causing the collapse of the entire colony.

The method, while time-consuming, proves instrumental in winning the long-run battle against recurrent infestations. You need a strategic placement of baits — near their paths and possibly close to their mound.

3. Use Anti-Deterrent Spray

Finally, investigate the strong properties of anti-deterrent sprays. These sprays, when applied to entry points and paths, disrupt fire ants' chemical trails and make navigation difficult.

Such a disruption can render your house unfriendly, prompting the red ants to move. But, bear in mind the safety of children and pets while using insecticides, emphasizing using natural solutions like white vinegar, oil, Diatomaceous earth, or essential oils wherever possible. You might even consider a home ant killer recipe for safer pest control.

So, by integrating cleanliness, bait application, and deterrent usage tactics, we endorse a comprehensive pest control approach towards eliminating red ants from your indoor living space.

How to Get Rid of Fire Ants Outdoor?

After battling the red ants inside, having mastery of outdoor fire ant control methods proves highly beneficial. These outdoor techniques complement the indoor tactics, providing a wholistic approach to getting rid of fire ants.

1. Apply Broadcast Baits

Broadcast baits are treasured allies when handling ant infestations outdoors. This approach involves spreading granular bait products—with low-dose insecticides—across the yard evenly.

Fire ants, mistaking it for food, carry it back to their mound, infecting the colony. Carefully select baits safe for children and pets, targeting any new mound.

2. Place Mound Baits

Mound baits are the next line of defense. This step targets the heart of the infestation—the fire ant mound. Coat the mound with a liberal layer of bait, ensuring not to disturb the colony while doing so.

A disruption might cause the colony to relocate, making your efforts less effective. Successful application sees worker ants transporting the bait inside, and over the next few days, the mound becomes inactive.

3. Drench the Fire Ant Colony

For ant mounds in close proximity to houses or playgrounds, drenching becomes an effective solution. This method uses either a liquid or granules drench, each with its unique application.

Liquid Drench

Liquid drenches work best when you need instant results. Mix the fire ant treatment as instructed on the product packaging and pour it directly onto the ant mound. The solution permeates through the mound, kills fire ants on contact, including the queen.

Granules Drench

For a more effortless approach with longer-lasting effects, opt to sprinkle powder granules drench. This type involves sprinkling granules—eg. Spectracide Fire Ant Shield Mound Destroyer Granules—around the nest. It works on the concept of a home-bound bait but is slower acting. Nonetheless, with the correct application, a granules drench guarantees a mound free of fire ants.

Remember to follow safety precautions and wear protective clothing for any ant bait or drench application, to prevent stings. And, whenever possible, lean on organic solutions like diatomaceous earth or a vinegar-water spray to reduce harm to beneficial insects in your environment.

How to Prevent Future Fire Ant Infestations?

Fire ants are fond of water, food sources and shelter. Modifying these conditions can dissuade their return in the future. Consent to cut off the steady water supply that ants crave. Foods, especially sweet ones like sugar, attract these pests. So, maintain cleanliness and ensure food sources are well sealed or disposed of properly, following these sugar ant removal tips.

Regular Maintenance and Cleanliness

The ant colonies thrive in untidy environments. Commit to a thorough, routine cleaning of both inside and outside the house. Take note of potential nesting sites like ant mounds in the yard - destroy these immediately. Be consistent about maintaining your gardens and yards.

Creating Barriers and Safe Zones

Think about strategic gardening; certain plants act as natural repellents for fire ants. Spearmint, Tansy, and Catnip are common options. Integrate these plants into your gardens and around the perimeter of your home. These not only add vibrant greenery but also help to keep intrusive insects away.

If the natural remedies don't work, resort to commercially available ant repellents. Products like ant sprays, insecticidal soaps, and diatomaceous earth are beneficial.

By implementing these recommendations, maintaining a red ant-free environment becomes a plausible reality. Keep it consistent, and fire ants won't stand a chance against your fortified homefront. Stay vigilant and proactive in your efforts against these tiny marauders and enjoy your spaces in peace.

What to Do if Bitten by Red Ants?

  • Immediately after a bite, wash the area with soap and water. This primary cleansing step removes potential contaminants and lessens infection risk. Concurrently, it rinses off remnants of the ant's venom which often causes the burning pain.
  • Next, apply a cold compress to the site of the bite. This intervention reduces swelling by constricting blood vessels and numbs the surrounding area to alleviate pain. Maintain the cold compress, replacing it every 10 minutes for an hourly cycle.
  • Some over-the-counter solutions including Hydrocortisone cream or Calamine lotion, serve to reduce itching and discomfort. Administer these creams as per packaging directions.


Prevention is always remains better than cure, hence keeping an environment unwelcoming to these pests is the best defence mechanism against their infestation. Ant invasion is preventable through the utilization of these strategies while noting that some solutions may require persistence before the full effects become noticeable. By heeding these recommendations, maintaining a red ant-free environment becomes a plausible reality.

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Frequently asked questions

What are the physical characteristics of red ants?

Red ants, or fire ants, exhibit a reddish-brown coloration, range from 1/16 to 1/4 inch in length, and have bodies with two nodes and antennae that bend at a 90-degree angle. The worker ants, which are females, are typically smaller.

Where do red ants typically establish their colonies?

Red ants prefer open, sunny areas for their colonies, building mound-like nests in yards, parks, and other landscapes. They are commonly found around homes and buildings, nesting in the soil.

How do red ants differ from other ant species?

Fire ants are known for their aggressive behavior and painful stings, which set them apart from other ant species in North America. They are also capable of damaging plants and yard infrastructure.