Killing Ants

So I’ve been looking for a method to kill ant hills.  Last time I mowed the lawn I found 18 fire ant mounds on about 3 acres.  Tbh I’m not sure if they are fire ants.  They are little and red and sting, they build mounds up to 2 feet high, and when you hit the mound a billion of them scurry out.  I marked these mounds with little orange flags and then Quincy and I engaged on an extermination experiment as the science/physical education/giving mom a break portion of her home schooling.  The existing method has been to strew those ant crystals everywhere and then drench the mounds in poison.  This killed 8 of the mounds.


  • Effectiveness – Well, I’d like it to work.  (Texas definition of killing an ant mound is if you hit it with a stick you don’t see any movement after 15 seconds – they use the same methodology for death row inmates i’ve heard)
  • Fun – I am predisposed to visceral, graphically violent methods.  If I could make the ant mounds explode that would be good – if I could make the ants flee for ten seconds and then individually explode that would be better. So at least something I can do directly to the ant mounds as opposed to like “plant some Japanese bushes and lower the number of mounds next season by 90%” which Celica will no doubt suggest
  • Safety – In opposition to the previous criterion is that I need the method to be reasonably safe to me and Quincy during application (so no gasoline, dynamite etc sorry Jaysun, Cowboy etc.)  I’m not opposed to pesticides but I’d prefer a non-pesticide method as it would (hopefully) be more…
  • Cheap – Important criteria especially to Karena who criticizes excessive ant-related outlays even when i remind her it is educational and productive.  (She tends to denigrate my endeavors as “WALKING AROUND HITTING ANT HILLS WITH A STICK”)
  • Volume – My mom used to dump a tea-kettle of boiling water on ant mounds she found on the yard.  This method was 100% effective but we lived in a suburb & had a small yard. (one of my earliest memories is my mom putting a tree branch with gypsy moth caterpillars on a storm drain, drenching it with gasoline and setting it on fire; my mom is cool)

Not Really Criteria:

  • Safety to vegetation – the only thing I got more of than ants is grass.  Plus it’s not like the ants are resodding their stupid mounds.  i mean i guess it shouldn’t leave a permanent crater in the lawn but whatever.  Less to mow.
  • Actual Lethality – blah blah if you don’t kill the queen they will just move.  That’s honestly fine I mean I’m not gonna make a trail of sugar to my neighbor’s yard but whatever.


  • Crystals : I’m too cheap to buy the specialty fire ant stuff.  Kind of boring, like you have to hope they eventually bring the crystals to the queen but you don’t get to see them do this, and it can take weeks and it doesn’t always happen.  Might as well blow cigarette smoke down the hole.  I mean sometimes it is wonderfully magic to find the hills abandoned after you’ve used this but also can cake in the broadcast spreader, and seriously, doing my whole freaking lawn would take like 100 lbs of this crap, so I only apply it on and near the mounds. Finally you’ll find bits of this left over in the driveway just waiting for someone to track it into the house for Coach Jr. to eat.
  • Poison: This is expensive but kind of fun to spray on the ants.  However the packaging makes it out like it’s Sarin but they take several minutes to die so Quincy gets bored while I’m staring at them and wanders off and starts gathering orange flags unbidden.  Plus I suspect the important ants just hide in a bunker and reproduce.
  • Coffee Grounds:  Read about this on wikihow.  It’s free since I already drink coffee, and safe enough for Quincy to carry out the little container with the grounds, and she enjoyed it immensely “Here is your coffee, ants” but it’s not very scalable and also does not work one bit.  Stupid wikihow.
  • Vinegar: Also read about this on wikihow.  Fortunately I found that Texas site before I tried grits, lemon juice, etc.  I actually don’t know if this worked.  I did it twice to one mound and there were still ants – that now smelled like pickles.  But then I came back two days after the second application and they were gone.
  • Dish soap and citrus oil: suggested by the Texans.  Citrus oil is super expensive ($4 oz) if you buy the pure, made-for-hippies-to-anoint-themselves-with stuff on Amazon.  But since I’m just dumping it on ants, I figured this was close enough:


D-Limonene is the first ingredient on the hazardous material data sheet.  This stuff is also sold at Lowe’s and is only $11.50 a gallon.  I called Karena on the way home to tell her how clever and thrifty I was but she was on the phone with someone from boy scouts and didn’t appreciate me starting my announcement with “Listen carefully I have important news for the family.”

I mixed a few ounces of Zep with a few ounces of soap and a bucket of water and dumped it on the ants.  It drowned them satisfyingly (well maybe not since fire ants can swim) but it at least washed them away and Quincy liked the bubbles.  Best of all the next day I had eliminated 5 of 5 remaining ant mounds…

…I kinda can’t wait for them to come back.

Wt: 171.6

MRS: 210 x 6, 215,220,225,230,235,240 x 3

Light Floor Press as shoulder recovers

Snatch Grip DL: 295,300,305,310,315,320,325 x 1

BTN Press: 142.5,145,147.5,150,152.5,155 x 1

didn’t bother shoulder so why not

time: 1:21


13 thoughts on “Killing Ants

    • @muttonchop – i heard of the boric acid thing and was gonna give it a try next. but he lost me at “real maple syrup” we don’t live in NH anymore; that stuff is expensive.

      @art – cool. i saw a pic of one of those in one of the articles i read. karena would not approve of either molting aluminum or the expense involved

      @science – yeah Rex’s last two science fair projects sucked. I think the titles were “Planets” and “a hovercraft my mom made illustrated by the world’s worst poster because my dad believes children should do their own homework and not bother him while he’s playing axis and allies”. Definitely gonna recommend “how to kill ants” this year

    • The thumbnail for the first video made it looks like muttonchops had put on fake bug antennae for his video, but it turns out they were just strategically placed lamps and things behind him. Disappointing.

  1. Coach, my friend I showed you, is an expert in bug control and entomology!

    Really, it’s all about having enough predators. For example, my friend’s house is old and super messy. But he has no bugs? How? Oh, it’s quite simple, he purposely puts spiders and house centipedes in his house, to kill any bugs. Then when the bugs die, the spiders and house centipedes die. Spiders don’t bother me a lot strangely, but house centipedes do. Anyway, for outdoor bug control he captured mantises, and… some other kind of bug I forget. One time his neighbors were making him mad, and were complaining to the HOA about his messy yard. So he gave the guy who complained wasps and decimates his lawn. Oh, he also made a crossbred wolf spider, getting an outdoor and an indoor wolf spider to mate.

    • Wait is your friend the guy from the video?

      And he sounds uh, lovely.

      Do the spiders and centipedes really die on their own or does he bring in scorpions to kill them, then like cobras to kill the scorpions. Then mongooses, vicious dogs, tigers, in that order, and finally humans to kill the tigers. Because humans are the ultimate predators. Except for maybe viruses. Idk man cleaning up seems easier than eventually having to infect your house with ebola.

  2. Pingback: Ant Infiltration | Coach's Blog

  3. Pingback: Ants in Pants II | Coach's Blog

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