Electric ants are such a menace to society that they can single-handedly affect the environment, agriculture, and the economy. In this article, we will talk about electric ants, better known by their other name, “little fire ants,” and how to get rid of them.
How to get rid of electric ants? Ant baits are the most effective, but this method can take some time to kill all the electric ants since it targets their nest and the queen. Ant sprays and natural remedies are effective but only with more minor electric ant infestations.
Also, in the following sections, we have mentioned more ways to get rid of them, including some mechanical methods and prevention tips.
What are Electric Ants or Little Fire Ants?
Electric ants, which are also called by the scientific name Wasmannia auropunctata are small ants of golden brown color in appearance. These little pests are native to South and Central America but have recently immigrated to other areas.
Electric ants got this name because of their painful stings. Electric ants have shockingly painful and long-lasting stings that can discourage tourists from visiting infested areas.
They further attack workers in the fields, affecting the area’s agriculture and economic state. As if this isn’t enough, little fire ants are known to eat hatchlings and attack the eyes of adult tortoises and other animals they consider a threat!
Appearance and Characteristics of Electric Ants
- Electric ants are tiny and stand about 1.5mm long. This is smaller than most ants.
- They have a light golden brown body.
- Electric ants easily establish colonies anywhere and can be found under rocks, logs, soil, trees, around watercourses, etc.
- Unlike most other ants, they are slow-moving and form distinct foraging lines.
- These ants compete with other ants and even prey on other animals which can cause the other less aggressive animals to migrate. Thus, effectively displacing large numbers of animals, insects and other ants that are useful to the environment.
- Electric ants have the potential to invade your home. Once they do, they can be found in wall cavities, bedding, garden equipment, clothing, camping gear, etc.
- They do not have a preference for weather conditions and can be found in wet and dry conditions.
- Oh, and did you know that electric ants can survive in water? There is no safe place once you encounter an electric ant infestation because they may even sting you in your swimming pool!
- So far, electric ants are limited to a few areas in the world. Such areas are Central and South America, The West Indies, West Africa, Mexico, Galapagos Islands, New Caledonia, and the Solomon Islands.
Different Methods for Getting Rid of Electric Ants
Electric Ant Killer |Chemical Method
This is the most effective solution when dealing with such a ruthless pest. Visit your local store for baits or other products that will work for the ant. As described above, all you need to do in this case is locate the colony or a trail.
Recommended Ant Baits
There are quite a few ant bait products on the market. Most of them do an excellent job of eradicating ants. These are the ones that we recommend.
- Attracts & Kills – Kills common household ants including...
- Kills the Ants You See & the Ones You Don't – As worker ants...
- Works Fast – You should see a significant decrease in the...
- Ready to Use – Place the bait stations, watch it attract ants,...
- Use Throughout Your Home – Place stations near areas where...
- Kills all common household ants
- Convenient, ready-to-use bait stations
- Patented design eliminates handling of chemicals and prevents...
- Fast-acting formula
- Contains Borax
- Kills ants where they hide for up to 3 months
- After ants feed on the bait, they return to the colony and...
- For maximum effectiveness place all baits at the same time
- Use indoors in corners, along walls and near entry points to kill...
- For household use: closets, basements, attics, recreation rooms,...
Applying an ant bait isn’t complicated, so we recommend using them. You first need to locate their colony, which isn’t hard given that they tend to establish their colonies anywhere.
Once you have done that, it is time to place your bait somewhere where the worker ants will locate it, and then they will carry it back to the colony to their queen. Once the queen has fed on the bait, she dies, and the colony fails. Place the bait in several other places along the path to ensure that a lot of it goes back to the colony.
Note: Depending on the bait, the ants may take a few days before feeling the full effect.
Sugar and Borax Bait
An excellent example of an effective homemade bait is a mixture between Sugar and Borax Bait. Mix half a cup of sugar or peanut butter with one and a half tablespoon of borax, and then add some warm water.
After mixing it up, soak some cotton balls in the solution. Tiny cotton balls will do, and then place them along the trails where the ants will gladly pick them up when they find them.
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Another good example is food-grade Diatomaceous Earth. This is effective because it damages their exoskeleton and dries them up by removing their bodily fluids. Use the same tactic of sprinkling it along or near the ant trails.
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Mixing the powder with some sugar will also help because the sugar will attract the ants to the bait. Unlike the borax mixture above, this powder mixture doesn’t do well when mixed with water. It instead loses its effectiveness.
Now that we have killed the electric ant colony, the next part is ensuring they do not resurface.
Mechanical and Natural Methods
Any species of ants are in your home for one reason: to pick up crumbs left on the floor or surfaces. So, with that in mind, follow these rules:
- Keep your floors clean. Regularly vacuum the floors and wipe spills on the counter and tabletops. Houses with pets and toddlers are most susceptible to experiencing ant infestations because the two can get quite messy during mealtime.
- Keep your garbage sealed, be it in the garden or your kitchen, and ensure that it is well-covered wherever it is.
- Having ensured that the two steps above are being observed, it is wise to ensure that your food storage containers are sealed and that no food is left unattended or uncovered on countertops or shelves.
Block Ant’s Entry Points | Preventing Electric Ants
For electric ants to establish a colony around your home, first, they will send some scout ants whose job is to scout the area. They look at the surrounding areas for food sources, and once they do so, they ensure that they leave a conspicuous trail back to their colony.
Their armies will use this same trail to locate the food sources, so the infestation begins. The beauty of these trails is that they are in plain sight and give away where their colony can be found, as well as how the ants get into the home.
With this vital information, it is time to block those entry points into the home.
- The Vinegar solution is a clear winner when deterring the ants’ path. Ants follow pheromone trails by sniffing the trails left by the scout ants, as discussed above. Once you mess up that distinct scent by spraying vinegar solution along the trails or the entry points, the ants will get confused and lose their direction to your food.
- Another sure solution to keeping these ants out is by creating barriers. These ants will crawl into your home even through the cracks in your walls. Use the borax cotton balls or the food-grade Diatomaceous Earth powder to seal these entry points.
- One last thing is to try boiling copious amounts of water, pouring it along the ant trails, and even taking one step further and pouring it into the colony once you find it. This should be done carefully because the ants will scatter and try to flee. This may not be the most effective solution, but it will kill many ants.
List of Sources
Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia Auropunctata), Hawaii Invasive Species Council
Slowik, T.J., Thorvilson, H.G., Green, B.L., Electric ants: A cross-disciplinary approach to understanding insect behavior, USA
Little Fire Ant, University of Florida
Vanderwoude C., (2016), The History of Little Fire Ant Wasmannia auropunctata Roger in the Hawaiian Islands: Spread, Control, and Local Eradication, Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society