There is a wide range of ants that can infest households and gardens. Having ants in your house is a problem that needs to be taken seriously. Ants are a nuisance that can cause damage to your house and your health.
Also, the first step needs to be to define what type of ants has infested your house or garden. In this article, we are going to talk about electric ants or maybe you know them by their other name “little fire ants” and how to get rid of them.
How to get rid of electric ants? There are many methods that can be applied for getting rid of the electric ants. Usually, ant baits are the most effective but this method can take some time to kill all the electric ants but since it is targeting their nest and the queen, the results are very good almost every time. Ant sprays and natural remedies are effective but only with smaller 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.
Before we discuss more ways of getting rid of the electric ants, here are a few facts that will give you a better understanding of what these pests really are. You will learn of their potential harm to you, your family members, your pets, and agriculture.
Having a clear understanding of what exactly they are capable of will put you in a better position of eliminating them. Let’s start!
What are Electric Ants or Little Fire Ants?
Electric ants which are also called by the scientific name Wasmannia auropunctata are small ants and of golden brown color in appearance. These little pests are native to South and Central America but have recently immigrated to other areas.
Their tiny appearance contradicts their actual character which is best described in their given name. Electric ants got this name because of their painful stings. Electric ants have very shockingly painful and long-lasting stings that can discourage tourists from visiting infested areas.
They further go on to attack workers in the fields hence affecting the agriculture and economic state of the area. As if this isn’t enough, little fire ants are known to eat hatchlings and attack the eyes of adult tortoises and any other animals they consider a threat!
Electric ants are such a menace to society that they are capable of single-handedly affecting the environment, agriculture, and the economy at large.
Appearance and Characteristics of Electric Ants
- Electric ants are tiny and stand at about 1.5mm long. This size 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 of invading your home. Once they do, they can be found in wall cavities, beddings, 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 own 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
So, how exactly do we get rid of electric ants? These ants are not like most ants and therefore should be dealt with thoroughly. While it is possible to choose the option of just eradicating them just in your house and leaving your treatment at that, this isn’t the ideal way to go with electric ants.
They will continue to thrive even out in your back yard which will soon render it useless and inhabitable. Their ferocious sting will certainly have you rethinking the thought of using harmless eradication methods. With this in mind, try the following eradication methods for electric ants.
Electric Ant Killer |Chemical Method
This is the most effective solution when you are 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 to locate the colony or even a trail.
Recommended Ant Baits
There are quite a few ant bait products on the market. Most of them do a good job of eradicating ants. We have tried most of them and these are the ones that we recommend.
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Applying an ant bait isn’t a hard process and that is why we recommend that you try and use it. 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 used, the ants may take a few days before feeling the full effect.
Sugar and Borax Bait
A good example of an effective homemade bait is the 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 which dries them up by getting rid of 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 then the sugar will serve in attracting 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 whole electric ant colony the next part is making sure they do not resurface.
Mechanical and Natural Methods
Any species of ants are in your home for one reason only, 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 even on the counter and tabletops. Houses that have 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 in your kitchen, ensure that wherever it is, it is well covered.
- 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 basically 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.
This same trail will be used by their armies to locate the food sources and hence the infestation begins. The beauty of these trails is that they are in plain sight and that they are a clear give away as to where their colony can be found. Also as to how the ants are getting 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 it comes to 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 of 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 and pouring it along the ant trails and even taking one step further and pouring it in 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 certainly kill a lot of ants at once.
Electric ants are not ants to be messed with and neither are they to be taken lightly. Once you have spotted an ant that you think could pass for an electric ant, do your research to find out exactly what you are dealing with.
Once you have identified that the ant in question is in fact an electric ant, it is time to arm yourself with baits and poisons, because if you don’t, you risk being run out of your own home by these aggressive ants.
Due to their destructive nature, it is wise to stick to the plan of completely eliminating them because as discussed above, these ants are harmful even to pets. We advise that you consider the use of baits because they are the most effective and will ensure that the whole colony is completely eliminated.
However, because these ants are so aggressive, it is wise to seek out professional help if possible because the professional exterminator will come armed with even more extraction equipment. Please follow us for more pest-related content!
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