How to Kill and Prevent Fire Ants in Your Lawn

BY Jolene Hansen

Dealing with fire ants can be nerve-racking, especially if you're new to home ownership or fire ant territory. Their potential range is growing steadily,1 and these aggressive pests can't be ignored. But effective, long-lasting fire ant control doesn't have to be confusing or complex. You can protect your home and family with Over'n Out!® Advanced Fire Ant products.

Understanding Fire Ant Behavior

To make sense of treatment options, you must first know what you're up against. Native U.S. fire ants typically aren't problems; imported fire ants are the real pests behind homeowner woes. These South American natives were accidentally imported in the 1930s, and their natural South American predators don't exist in the U.S.2 Imported fire ants are aggressive, competitive insects, and traditional ant control products don't work against them.

Fire ant mounds are often your first sign of problems — the expression “tip of the iceberg" applies. Mounds seem like centers of activity, but bigger problems lie underground. Fire ants live and work in vast colonies housed in extensive underground tunnels. A single, unchecked colony can house up to 500,000 ants — which can mean hundreds of mounds in a single acre of land.2 By the time you see mounds above ground, the colony population has been increasing for months.

Another key trait of fire ants is that they tend to move often and react quickly to disruptions. When a person or animal disturbs a mound, fire ants can attack with burning stings. But their reaction to disturbance also extends below ground. Fire ants can relocate to new lawn areas or even into homes, and start new mounds for new colonies seemingly overnight.2

Effective fire ant control means killing ants you see and those you don't — before they can relocate — and preventing new invasions. Imported fire ant colonies can have a single queen or hundreds of queens, and killing queens is critical.3 While worker ants generally live about five weeks, queens live seven years or longer, laying hundreds of eggs per day. Kill the fire ant queens, and the entire colony dies quickly.2

Approaching Fire Ant Treatment

Treating your entire yard and targeting individual mounds will provide the most thorough, long-lasting fire ant control. Many different approaches exist, but you don't need multiple products for effective treatment. With Over'n Out!® Advanced Fire Ant products, you can feel comfortable and confident treating individual mounds and broadcast-treating your full yard using the same easy-to-use product.

The main differences between broadcast and mound treatments are your goals, the quantity of Over'n Out!® Advanced Fire Ant Killer needed, and the way you apply it. Broadcast treatment starts killing fire ants on contact and protects against new invasions for up to six months. Mound treatment kills mounds in 15 minutes, and kills queens within 24 hours, guaranteed.

This simplified two-step response provides the most complete fire ant protection for your home and family. Applied to fit your goal, Over'n Out!® Advanced Fire Ant Killer delivers fast, effective, long-lasting control.

Applying Effective Fire Ant Controls

Fire ants are most active during spring and fall, when soil is warm and the weather is mild. During cold seasons and very hot summer days, they often stay deep in the group. Mild weather brings them close to the surface and spurs activity. Early morning and early evening, when fire ants are foraging for food at or near the surface, or heading back to feed their queens, are prime times for full-yard and mound treatments.

For full-yard, broadcast treatment:

Granular Over'n Out!® Advanced Fire Ant Killer comes in convenient sizes for large or small lawns. Basic application steps are simple:

  1. Distribute the ready-to-use granules evenly with a lawn spreader.
  2. Water the area thoroughly to release the active ingredients.

A broadcast spreader makes fast work of large areas, while a drop spreader provides precision for smaller lawns. Clean your spreader thoroughly when finished, so it's ready for its next use. As you spread the product, watch closely for signs of mounds that need individual treatment.

For targeted mound treatments:

Use Over'n Out!® Advanced Fire Ant Killer or turn to Over'n Out!® Advanced Fire Ant Mound Eliminator for the same control in a smaller, easy-to-manage size. Both products contain the same highly effective ingredient, deliver the same fast results, and require the same basic steps:

  1. Distribute 1/2 cup of the granules evenly over each mound and the area extending 4 feet in diameter around it.
  2. Apply 1 to 2 gallons of water to each treated mound area. This releases the active ingredients and provides enough force to penetrate the mound without triggering relocation.

No matter which method you use, always read the product label and follow application instructions thoroughly.

When you live in fire ant territory, these pests are an unfortunate part of life. Even with thorough treatment, new ants can invade from surrounding areas, making follow-up treatments necessary.3 But with GardenTech® Over'n Out!® Advanced Fire Ant products, you can rest easy with guaranteed control and protection for up to six months. You can count on GardenTech for simple, effective products you can trust.

Over'n Out! is a registered trademark of TechPac, LLC.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.


1. USDA Agricultural Research Service, “Potential United States Range Expansion of the Invasive Fire Ant," United Sates Department of Agriculture, August 2016.

2. Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project, “Biology," Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

3. Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project, “Fire Ant Frequently Asked Questions," Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

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