Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
We just stayed at an RV campground in East Texas this week and there has been a lot of rain in that area. They have had a severe problem with fire ants. After parking our travel trailer, a large ant mound appeared around the tongue jack stand. I think that is how they got into the trailer. We have put out a lot of bait traps, but they don’t appear to be attracting the ants. Any suggestions about how to get rid of these pests? —Ronnie
This is a dual problem. First, keeping the ants outside, preventing them from coming in; and Second, killing those that are inside (or preferably providing bait for them to carry back to and annihilate the nest). To keep them out, set up barrier lines between the nest and the entry points into your RV. Use a chlorine cleanser (like Comet) and put a circle around the entry points (wheels, jacks, tongue jack stand, steps, etc.) that they will not cross. Refresh as necessary (after wind or rain washes the powder away). This will prevent them from leaving their scent trail to the food source inside to all the other ants in the nest.
The ones inside will be searching for food to take back to the nest, so the first step is to block them from ALL sources of food (crumbs, spills, garbage cans, etc.). Clean your kitchen and cupboard areas thoroughly. Make sure there are no open or bulk containers of food that the ants can get into. Place bait, such as a mixture of equal parts of baking soda and sugar, where you see a column of ants. The sugar will attract them and the baking soda will kill them when they take it back to the nest. I have also sprayed Raid Ant & Roach Barrier around access points, which instantly kills them but also sets up a barrier they will not cross.
Some methods don’t always work in all locations or at all times of the year, so if these ideas don’t work try a mixture of vinegar and water or a soapy water solution as barriers. And if you haven’t moved your trailer to another campsite you might want to do that first. Good luck.
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I have not tried this with fire ants, but for regular ants I use 409. I spray the ant trail. It immediately kills ants on contact, and getting rid of the trail stops the ants following their buddies. It is safe for plants, which is how I learned this.
Fire ants need a special poison such as Amdro. The sugar and borax combination that works well with sugar ants and some other types does not work well with fire ants. The application technique is to approach the nest quietly and sprinkle the Amdro in a circle around the nest. In two or three days they will be dead. Heavy footfalls and noise cause the ants to quickly move the queen to the lowest level of the nest where it may be protected from the Amdro and live to start the nest again.
Ortho Home Defense works very well. We used in GA against the Argentine ants. Also the borax line around the perimeter helps.
Spray the Home Defense on your tires and hoses. Spray your entry steps too.
For fire ants.
It helps if you know the type of ants you have. Carpenter ants will not be interested in the regular “food” ant bait.
I had carpenter ant invasion and when sprays and bait didn’t work I did some research and found that powdered Borax would eventually kill them as they took it back to the nest after it got on their legs.
I use powdered sugar and borax mixed equal parts. Usually gets rid of them anywhere within 24 hours…takes just a sprinkle, and works for fire ants too.
Amdro! Amdro! Amdro! We actually use this stuff for entertainment. Once, while sitting outside in our chairs, we noticed a HUGE single file column of ants marching by. Then they just disappeared. About a 1/2 hour later, here they come, headed back the way they came from. Interesting. A while later, here they come again. I quickly got my Amdro dispenser and sprinkled it in their path. They started grabbing the Amdro, some ants continuing on their way, some heading back the way they came from. That evening – NO MORE ANTS. And none the next morning. I LOVE this stuff!
Amdro is the surefire answer. Either the regular or Fire Ant version works without fail. When applied around the mounds per the directions, it usually kills all ants within 24-48 hours. On rare occasions I apply a second batch after 48 hours. The ants take the bait back to the mound where it is shared by all & it kills the entire mound quickly. I’ve used it all over the country, usually the fire ant version in Texas. Since all ants return to the mound frequently, they will share in the bait at the mound & die before they can return to you rv. 24 hours after sprinkling around any mounds, I see thousands of dead ants all around the mounds. I apply it around any mounds within 50 ft of my rv. NOTE: Amdro is only effective for 90 days after originally opening the container, so use it or throw the balance away after 90 days. It’s available at Walmart in the gardening section or on Amazon. I also went to great lengths early on to thoroughly seal all openings in my rv so that I have virtually no entry point for ants except doors & windows.
I also live in East Texas and have never heard of the baking soda and sugar trick. Generally putting Amdro down as soon as I see a nest start up. I will have to try the sugar and baking soda. Any place you go in East Texas has plenty of fire ants!