I recently moved into a ranch house (no basement) built in 1999 about 10
miles north of Sarasota in Florida. The problem is fire ants. They
aren't a gross infestation; maybe 25 a day before I started taking
measures. They appear in all rooms somewhat equally, so I can't find
likely point(s) of entry. I keep them under pretty good control using
fire ant granules that I spread around the outside perimeter using a
broadcast lawn fertilizer spreader.
At the junction of the floor and wall in both bathrooms there are gaps
like this, which may be an entry.
(Ironically, as I was taking the photo, one did emerge. But that was the
first time I witnessed this.)
I want to seal the gap not only because of the ants, but to improve the
appearance. My plan is to brush some borax powder into the cracks, then
run a narrow bead of caulk along the crack to hide it.
The former owners had newly installed carpeting in the bedrooms, so I
can't see if they have similar gaps, but I can put borax acid along the
Any other ideas?
Use something far more effective than Borax...at least Amdro or the
like. Probably be worth the $$ to get a professional treatment done
where they can use something more long-term stable (since Chlordane and
its relatives aren't available OTC any longer)...
Living in PRNY, we get carpenter ants, but not the tiny
vicious assault fire ants. My friend from SC says that
the pros can get chemicals that are not available to
ordinary Joes. Which is likely good, they would be
One time I was in SC, and the fellow I was helping did
step on a fire ant nest. I was amazed how small they
are, compared to fire ants. But they were wicked, and
he was suffering from the bites for a couple days.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
When I lived in Florida, I was doing yard work around the condo. I
knelt down on a fire ant nest....they are very stealthy and can be all
over you before they bite.....then they bit! Man! I was up and
brushing off fire ants from my thighs as fast as I could. Probably
didn't take 10 sec. to get most of them off, but still had over 100 bites.
they were all over the poor guy's feet and ankles. He was wearing open
sandals, and the both of us spent time brushing them off. I had work
shoes and wool socks, they didn't seen as much interested in me.en they
bit! Man! I was up and
First thing to do is to clean extra thoroughly...vacuum ever possible
crumb, mop floors, make sure all kitchen storage is clean. Put sweets
(cakes, breads, etc.) and butter in the fridge....everyone in Florida
does. Then put a little bit of Amdro around hills, being careful (per
label) not to disturb the nest. It's real interesting to see them come
out of the nest in a minute or two to grab the bait.
Amdro's directions include using it for broadcast. I think that is
entirely wasteful, as f.a. nest close to pavement and structure and
putting it at the nest makes more sense.
Then put a little bit of Amdro around hills, being careful (per
Problems is, I don't see mounds anywhere. And before I bought the house,
I had a pro do an inspection; he didn't find anything out of the ordinary.
Amdro was the first product I used outside. It worked okay for a while.
My second outdoor treatment was with a product from Ortho (can't
remember the exact product name), bought at HD. Worked much better.
Another problem with Amdro: It's for outdoor use.
Nice thing about Amdro is that you aren't spreading poison all over the
place to get at a few nests. I've seen people dump enough Spectracide
on their yard to CRUSH all of the ants.....so lame and stupid.
Well, the idea behind making a real clean-up is to get rid of bait that
attracks them to the indoors. If there are no mounds (under planters or
pavers, along walks, etc) then they may not be fire ants. Get a bottle
of boric acid ant bait....most hardware and big box stores have it....it
is generic and easy to use. Put a drop or ten on the trail the ants use
to get to where they go in the house; takes a while, but it has always
worked for me.
Then - in all probability - what you are seeing aren't fire ants. I've
lived in Florida for 21 years now, seen umpteen fire ant mounds on our 10
acres but have NEVER seen a fire ant inside the house.
That is not to say we never have ants inside, we do. And our house is
incredibly tight; nevertheless, the suckers find a way in. And if they
can't, they will excavate a way through the concrete block by slowly
removing small granules from the mortar joints.
I'm pretty much reconciled to cohabiting with an occasional ant - after
all, they do clean up stuff - but my wife is pickier. She likes the
little tubes filled with a liquid that the pro exterminators place here
and there. If she can't get those, she uses the little square ant trap
I tend to agree. When I moved here I had a lot of fire ants but they
were all outside. I used Amdro, then Orthene when they stopped eating
Amdro and pretty much wiped them out. The downside is that then the
other, more invasive ants (white footed, big head etc) moved in and
I have had ant problems since.
The only real way to attack ants is with baits. If nothing else, they
stop eating the bait. I have baited these ants so long and with so
many things they don't seem to eat anything. You can pour sugar on the
floor and they will not touch it.
I have also worked my way through most proteins. It got so selective
that they were only eating something that the dog had chewed on. I
baited with that and killed that queen too.
I bait with whatever I see an ant interested in and that stops the
colony he is from within a day. We changed brands of dog food and they
were interested in the new stuff. I mixed it into a bait and I am ant
free right now but I expect to see them again soon.
Mix your bait about 1 part boric acid to 12-15 parts food. That will
get them but somebody will move in to take their place after a while
ant they probably will not eat that bait anymore.
I do think that a lot of things we "know" about ants is not really
true. They are finding that an "orphan" ant from a colony with a dead
queen can join another colonty and I suspect they learn from him, what
killed his queen but it may be by eating him.
I'm in North Texas - we have fire ants, too - for a lotta years, I used a
broadcast spreader all around the yard with some kind of granules that kill
a lotta different things - now, I still use the granules outside, but I only
apply them in a 2 - 3 foot wide band around the foundation with a coffee can
shaker - where I can (mainly in the brick's weep holes), I also use the
white powder (mostly borax, I think) from Home Depot that's advertised for
roaches - I also use the white powder inside the house under the fridge,
behind the stove, under the sinks (near water sources) and behind the the
baseboards (I pulled the baseboards when I put in new flooring) - IIRC, the
white powder looses effectiveness when it gets wet.
Outside the house, I've also had very good luck keeping insects away with
Terro - I think it's a sugar water \ borax mix - it's a bait - as long as I
keep the Terro bait stations filled, there are no ants around.
IMHO, sealing cracks to keep ants out is ineffective - they'll get in
through places you can't see - baiting them, and letting the ants take the
poison back to the nest, works best, IMHO.
FWIW, I don't have any pets or kids around that'd mess with the bait
stations . . .
My grandmother called the large red and black ants 'piss ants'. Not sure
why she called then that, but there are ants that do have that kind of smell
On top of a small hill near me there is a building with some radio
equipment I and several others keep up. A few years ago the fire ants moved
in. There is usually 5 to 10 mounds of them in an area about 400 feet each
way. We put out some stuff (don't recall the name) for them to take back to
the mound and it kills off the queen. It looks sort of like brown sawdust.
Just spread about a cup full around the mound. The next week when we go
back, those mounds are inactive. We test them by poking with a long stick.
If the ants don't come out in a few seconds, we think the mound is inactive.
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There are a bunch of wildlife pictures on that site, most I shot
locally here but a few I have collected from my son in law from FWC
Most of the snakes were in my screen cage.
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