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Red Ants In Florida

I have lived in Florida and have loved everything about it for over 40 years—a Floridian in my heart.


Like any other region of the USA. Florida has its share of pesky red ants. And these ants can be downright pests in your daily life.

The first thing to do is to identify the kind of red ant you are dealing with. In order to effectively get rid of them, you need to understand the type of red ant they are. Different ants have different ways of being controlled. For example, while using baits is effective for eliminating Pharaoh, it is not effective for other ants

In Your Kitchen

Ants are constantly in pursuit of water, food, and shelter. They explore every possible place that is accessible through crevices and cracks within several hundred feet. Eliminating the source of food and water is the most recommended way to go about it. This can easily be done by cleaning dirty dishes, mopping and scrubbing your place regularly.

In Your Bathroom

A good way to try and prevent this is by making sure you’re cleaning up your bathroom – dry up any overflown water, ensure there are no dripping faucets and use a good disinfectant. You can also try airing out your bathroom occasionally to try and reduce the dampness and steam build-up, especially after a shower.

In Rotted Wood Window Frames

Most window frames in Florida are not wood, but of you do have wooden window frames, you need to think about this too.

As most window frames are made from a type of wood, when they start rotting this provides the perfect environment for ants to live in. They can get into the wood, where it is usually damp thanks to the rotting, and thrive there without being detected.

If you suspect you have an ant infestation in your window frames, it’s important to first get rid of the infestation. You can do this by using a powered pesticide in the wood. Once you’ve dealt with the initial infestation of ants, you can replace the wood to prevent it from coming back and reoccurring.

Inside Your Walls

inside walls are another good place for ants to hide and can make it difficult for you to get to them to deal with. If you have an ant infestation here, even though it seems difficult and impossible for you to get to them, it isn’t impossible.

You can use ant baits, which work better than pesticides. Pesticides only stop the ants that come into contact with it, whereas baits will be tracked back into the colony which can kill off all the other ants that are in there, and the queen, to prevent more ants.

Keeping Ants Out

Like we’ve mentioned before, ants enter your home in search of food, water, and protection, sneaking in through cracks and crevices in the walls and around windows and doors. To help keep ants out, be sure to seal all spaces around windows and doors, and all cable, pipe, and wire entry points, too.


What Are Fire Ants

There are actually two types of fire ants here in Florida

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They are not really native to Florida. The Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) was introduced to the United States sometime around the end of World War II from Central or South America. Since that time, they have spread like wildfire (pun intended). Their range within the U.S. now spans from Texas across the Southeast and up into the Mid-Atlantic states

The less common fore ant is the native fire ant

When a fire ant mound is disturbed, workers boil to the surface, run up any legs or arms in the vicinity, grab the victim's skin in their mandibles, and sting in response to the slightest movement attacks are coordinated, and dozens or even hundreds of workers sting in unison.

A fire ant colony may contain 100,000 to 500,000 insects, thus increasing the likelihood that multiple stings will be inflicted.

The lifespan of workers usually depends on their size. Major workers can live up to 180 days, media workers can live up to 90 days, and minor workers can live up to 60 days. Fire ant queens can live two to 7 years and can lay up to 1,600 eggs a day.

These ants are red, and they make tiny mud hills on grass lawns or moist soil beds.

Fire Ants are a range in color from red to brown and almost black, typically with their rear abdomen being darker than the body. They range in size from very small to nearly a quarter of an inch in size.


Where Fire Red Ants Live

Fire ants favor warm, sunny conditions. They prefer dry fields and avoid shady areas such as woods.

The hallmark of fire ant infestation in your yard is tiny mud hills with a crater at the top. Typical mounds can grow up to 61 cm in diameter and 18 cm high. These colonies can contain several hundred thousand ants, including at least one queen.

The crater is the entry and exit point of these fire ants. Underneath the cavity is a channel of tunnels that fire ants use to commute.

Fire ants are difficult to control for several reasons: the colonies are often very large and extend under the ground a great distance. Colonies often have multiplequeens, so they can recover if a part of the colony and a queen or two have been killed, and they often occur in large numbers, so that when you have eliminated one colony another will likely move in to occupy the space.

Getting Rid Of Fire Ants

There are a few things that you can do to rid yourself of fire ants. You want to be able to feel that you can enjoy your property. And you want to keep your children, grandchildren, and pets from getting nasty bites. Here are a few things to try.

Boiling Water

Easiest of all the methods. You have everything you need in your home. No need for extra baits or sprays.

You simply pour boing water into the hole of the mound.

  • Make sure that the ants around the mound are undisturbed and relaxed. If they become anxious or distracted, their queen will get away by the time you begin this treatment.
  • Walk quietly and slowly to their castle. Pour 2 to 3 gallons of boiling water onto the mound. Do not follow this treatment if your children or pets have been playing in the garden or yard as the ants will already be anxious.
  • Consider doing this treatment early morning. Repeat it two to three times to eliminate their colony.

Orange OIl

If you want to avoid using pesticides, then this treatment may be your choice. You drench the mound with a solution that contains orange oil.

  1. Combine 3 ounces of liquid dish soap, 1 ½ ounce of orange essential oil, and 1 gallon of water. You can also use other citrus oils for this process.
  2. Add molasses to lure other ants that you may miss.
  3. Stir it well and walk quietly to their mound.
  4. Pour the mixture directly into the hole of their castle. This method will kill ants and will continue to be effective for hours.

You can also use orange peels to prepare the mixture if the orange essential oil is not available.


It does not work like a poison, but these creatures are attracted to this and won’t be able to digest it properly.

  • Spread some cornmeal near their castle, entryways, and other areas where you always see fire ants.
  • Ants should take the cornmeal and ingest it for it to be effective. They usually find cornmeal enticing enough, and they consume it. If they do not find it appealing, try to mix it with some sugar.

Fire ants won’t die instantly after ingesting cornmeal, but they will die after a few days due to starvation. More ants will also die when workers take the cornmeal to their hiding area.

Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is one of the best solutions on how to get rid of fire ants in the yard. This talc-like powder is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.

The microscopic sharp edges of diatomaceous earth can penetrate through the exoskeleton of ants, which will absorb their bodily fluids and leave them dehydrated.

  1. Sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth directly into the hole of the fire ant mound.
  2. Consider sprinkling some DE around the mound and other areas where they usually go.
  3. Keep the powder dry for it to remain effective. Follow this treatment once daily.

Cayenne Pepper

Fire ants really hate this powder. It's a good way to kill and repel them.

  • Look for the source of the infestation and sprinkle cayenne pepper around the area.
  • Create a barrier around infested areas by sprinkling enough amount of pepper.
  • Prepare a cayenne pepper spray by dissolving pepper with water. Use this solution to spray directly on crawling fire ants.

Another method is to combine equal amounts of turmeric powder and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle it around all access points.

No matter which solution you decide to try, Remember, they will come after you, so be careful out there. Cover those feet and hands.

More Fire Ant Solutions

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    using just 2 ingredients of wash liquid and water i was successful in killing red ants in my home. its very simple and easy to use. even u have kids in yur h...

Pharaoh Ants

Another of the red ants in Florida is the Pharoah Ant. You can quickly identify them by their reddish bottom, preceded by a yellowish red upper body. Pharaoh ants can sting you, but they’re not indiscriminate stingers like fire ants. Pharaoh ants don’t sting multiple times like the fire ants.

Pharaoh ants carry dangerous pathogens like Salmonella and Streptococcus. These pathogens can make you sick if the pharaoh ants come in contact with your food

Pharaoh ants infest homes and commercial buildings. They make multiple nests inside the structure that they infest. There are multiple satellite nests connected with one central nest where the queen pharaoh resides.

Pharaoh ants enter homes to take advantage of crumbs, spills, moisture, and protective habitat sites. Grease stains, dead insects, and sweet drinks attract these pests. In pantries, pharaoh ants infest and eat sugary foods and proteins like honey, peanut butter, and baked goods, but they can also be found infesting locations that have no food sources present.

Pharaoh ant populations can grow rapidly, especially if they go unnoticed near kitchens and pantries. Residents should throw away infested food, as the pests can spread salmonellosis and dysentery. A peculiar mating habit takes place with pharaoh ants since the mating of males and females takes place in the nest; therefore, a homeowner will not see a pharaoh ant mating swarm, unlike most other ant species.

Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Pharoah Ants

Sticking with natural methods rather than using poisons is always the better alternative. Safer for you, your pets, and children too. Here are a few ideas to get rid of Pharoah ants.

  • Bait made from sugar and baking soda has become a common way to get rid of pharaoh ants naturally. The sugar acts as the bait and draws in the ants, but the baking soda adversely affects their digestive system and kills them.
  • Boric acid is available to purchase over the counter and can poison pharaoh ants when used as a spray or used to contaminate their food sources. In low doses, it is not toxic to you or your pets.
  • Vinegar can be used as a pharaoh ant repellent when mixed with water and sprayed where they have been seen.
  • Cinnamon can be used to deter pharaoh ants from entering your home or business.
  • Diatomaceous earth is not hazardous to humans or pets but dries out pharaoh ants’ exoskeleton by absorbing the fats and oils from the exoskeleton. If they eat the diatomaceous earth, that only speeds up the process.

More Pharoah Ant Resources

Crazy Ants


Tawney Crazy Ants

Crazy ants are reddish-brown or black, and they’re the smallest of the three tiny red ants in Florida. They got their name as crazy ants because they move in an erratic fashion and at a brisk pace.

These crazy ants can even short circuit electrical boxes. Also known as the Brown or Hairy Crazy Ant, these creepy crawlers have been popping up in rural, wooded areas

They’ve got an uncanny behavior of nesting in electronic products like laptops and inside electrical grounds given the tight spaces in electronic products, crazy ants love to nest inside them. Experts say that the warmth from electronic products attracts crazy ants.

Ants generally show great interest where there is the source of food, and this is the kitchen in your house. They are known to also show interest in everything that uses electric pipes. Crazy ants love places where there is warmth, which is the kitchen. Here they can easily access food. You’ve probably noticed them behind the kitchen counters and electrical sockets.

Unlike fire ants, crazy ants do not sting but would rather bite. Their bite is not poisonous and the pain doesn’t last for more than a minute or two. When they bite, it doesn’t cause any allergic reaction.

these ants are more active in the summertime due to the high humidity.

Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Crazy Ants

Vinegar Solution

Vinegar solution is also another effective home remedy to kill and repel ants. When you spot the places crazy ants have used to access your home, you can use a spray made of vinegar solution. Add vinegar solution in water in a ratio of 1 to 3 to make the spray. Then spray where you see the crazy ants. The smell is strong enough to deter the ants from invading your home. Make sure you use the vinegar solution regularly


Another DIY home remedy to get rid of crazy ants’ invasion in your home is using borax. Make a bait of borax by mixing 1 tablespoon of borax, ½ cup of sugar, and add a cup of warm water. Then soak balls of cotton in this solution and place them on the ant trails. The crazy ant will carry the bait laced with borax to the colony and feed on it.

Why You Might Have Ants In Your Home

Ants enter your home or business to find moisture and food. Sometimes this can include mold damage found in rotting or damp wood. Ants typically feed on sweets, although that’s not true for every species. Other items that ants like to eat include cheese, meats, vegetables, grease, peanut butter, and even dead insects.

The most likely reason for an ant infestation is a crack around a window or door. They can also get into your home via holes for wires. Kitchens are a frequent source of possible food for ants, which is why you’ll probably first notice them there.

Red ants are easy to see on a boat cover. But there may be more lurking on board than you think

Red ants are easy to see on a boat cover. But there may be more lurking on board than you think

Red Ants On Your Boat

Boating is a big deal in Florida. But, hey, you would not think about ants in your boat, would you? The answer is yes, because a lot of times the boats are out of the water park on land, where the ants can get to them.

Red ants can be carried onto the boat with just about anything. So, sailor beware!

Fire ants generally make their homes in lawns and gardens, but in the cooler Florida winter, they may look for a warmer home to winter in. A drydocked boat is a fine winter resort for them.

They’re pretty big so they’re not that hard to spot, and their colonies might not be too overwhelming in number. However, they can be difficult to get rid of because of the seriously painful sting they deliver. They’re also much more resilient than other kinds of ants, so certain sprays might not work on them.

Pharoah ants and Crazy ants can be carried in too.

When there’s no food left, then those ants might have to find a new place to stay. This works best for milder infestations when ants might not have established a nest just yet. Spend a weekend cleaning your boat and get rid of any food residue that might have been left behind. Scrub away food stains and vacuum any crevices where crumbs and food particles might be nestled.

The majority of ant infestation problems might be easily resolved with proper cleaning. Make sure all of your food is properly stored onboard, and clean up well after each use. Throw away trash as soon as you dock and spray with a disinfectant solution regularly to get rid of smells, crumbs, and spills.

Before you tuck your boat away for the winter, make sure it’s properly protected. Aside from cleaning out any food, spills, and trash, you can surround your boat with a circle of ant killer powder. Some people have also found that a barrier of baby powder can disorient ants and keep them away. It also helps to dry dock your boat away from trees, gardens, shrubs, and lawns where an ant nest might already exist.

A Useful Tool To Get Rid Of Red Ants

Preventing Red Ants In Your Home

  • Sealing cracks and holes where ants may be entering a structure can effectively stop most ant invasions. If these entry points can be located, they can be blocked by the application of caulk or some other exclusion device. This can also help to prevent other insects from gaining access to your home.
  • Make sure there are not easily accessible food sources for ants by regularly wiping down surfaces and vacuuming leftover crumbs.
  • Make sure to take out the trash as often as possible. Trash is an open invitation to a whole host of unwanted pests, especially ants.
  • Use airtight containers to store food and put food away in harder-to-access places, like the fridge!

Baiting To Get Rid Of Red Ants


Ant baits, however, were developed to exploit the foraging and nestmate feeding behaviors of ants. Baits are the most effective way to get toxicants into the nest. Bait treatments are effective for the control of many ant species and are available in homeowner and professional product versions. Since ants rely heavily on trophallaxis (reciprocal feeding), the bait toxicant can be thoroughly distributed to the members of the colony, including the queen and brood. Baits are effective because they not only kill the foraging members of the colony, but they kill the queen(s) so no other ants are produced. Place bait next to nests whenever possible, but avoid placing bait in areas where it can be found by small children. Bait is most successful if it does not compete with other food sources in or around buildings, so combine baiting with sanitation practices.

Baits can be found as granules for broadcasting, liquids, gels, ready to use tamper-free containers.

There are Mega Colony Bait kits for large infestation

Baiting Guidelines

  • Use fresh bait. If you use old bait, the ants are less likely to feed on it
  • Wash your hands before applying to avoid any contamination.
  • Do not smoke while baiting. The nicotine will contaminate the bait.
  • Time the application. Granular applications should be done in good weather.A good rule of thumb is to bait on a day that you would have a picnic; about 70°F - 90°F (21°C - 32°C) and not immediately before or after a drenching rain.
  • Also, turn off any irrigation for a few hours before and after baiting.
  • Bait after the dew, rain or irrigation has dried. Water can ruin most baits.
  • Bait where you see the ants foraging.
  • Store bait in an airtight container and place in a cool dry place, away from other pesticides or potential contaminants.

Perimeter Ant Bait

This application is recommended for a heavy infestation of red ants:

  1. Treat the perimeter with a repellent liquid or granular insecticide.
  2. Broadcast bait with the appropriate product for your ant problem.
  3. Individually treat remaining infestations, whether they are indoor or outdoor, such as fire ant mounds.

Other Red Ant Resources

Final Thoughts On Florida Red Ants

They always say" An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", When it comes to Florida's red ants, that is a fact, for sure. Here are some final thoughts on preventing red ants from getting to be a problem on and about your home

  • Close gaps in wires, utilities, doors, windows, and foundations.
  • Fix all moisture malfunctions immediately.
  • Ensure door sweeps and window screens are in good condition.
  • Clean the kitchen regularly and meticulously. Wash dishes, and get to cabinets, countertops, and behind appliances.
  • Remove garbage and vacuum carpeting routinely.
  • Use secure canisters for food and trash storage.
  • Wipe up spills and crumbs right away.
  • Sit greenery and wood two feet away from the property.
  • Don’t let free wood, like fire logs, have contact with soil.

If all else fails, call a professional exterminator.

© 2021 Linda F Correa

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