How well do organic methods of getting rid of fire ants work? Like other organic pest control methods, the options available are variably successful, and most need to be repeated to get really good results.
University of Florida has posted that the boiling water method has a 20-60% success rate. Repeat applications improve success, but there is a reminder that boiling hot water kills nearby plants, too, and will need to be used with caution.
University of Texas Extension personnel have done some preliminary research on homeowner options for getting rid of fire ants. They compared a chemical control, a DIY recipe for a mound drench that contains orange oil (d-Limonene), a sesame-oil based product (organic), and a drench of just plain water — not boiling.
It is not super-surprising that the chemical control worked best, but the the DIY orange-oil recipe worked pretty well, too. The sesame-oil based product worked to a much lesser extent, but definitely showed some control action when compared to the plain water treatment.
The success of the organic products is good news for organic gardeners.
If you want to try the University of Texas orange oil recipe for organic fire ant control, here it is:
1.5 fl oz Medina® Orange Oil and 3 fl oz Dawn® Soap/ gal water per mound.
In addition to working pretty well, using the orange oil recipe did not kill nearby plants. That is something that gardeners all will be glad to hear!
Would you like to know what doesn’t work, according to the University of Florida? Grits, club soda, soap, wood ashes, and shoveling mounds together.