How to Kill and Prevent Fire Ants in Your Yard

By Jolene Hansen

When fire ants encroach on your territory, there's no time to sit on the sidelines. You've got to hit 'em fast and hit 'em hard. By the time their mounds are visible, fire ants have been hard at work for months, overtaking your property from below. These intruders have no respect for boundaries. To hold the line against fire ants, know their weaknesses. Then, make your move with what the Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project recommends as the most effective, proven means of fire ant control: the Two-Step Method.1


Fire ant mounds only hint at what's below. Vast underground nests include tunnels that reach 25 feet from mounds, and fast, frequent expansions are standard calls from fire ant playbooks. Fire ants don't confine themselves to lawns; they invade gardens, compost piles, outbuildings and homes. These aggressive pests can sting repeatedly, and attack anything and anyone who disrupts their feeding or their mounds.

Queens rule in fire ant colonies. The Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project reports that queen fire ants can live many years and lay up to 800 eggs per day. That's an additional 11,000 to 17,000 mature fire ants every two to three weeks! Worker ants only live about five weeks, but given the queens' reproductive abilities, there's always a replacement workforce. Average colonies house 100,000 to 500,000 fire ants, and some have multiple queens. Left unchecked, populations can soar to 40 million ants per acre — guaranteed to bench your outdoor plans.2


To win the treatment battle, you've got to successfully combat the queens. The Two-Step Method tackles the problem head-on. Step One hits the colony — mounds you see and mounds you don't see yet — with a full-yard bait treatment, such as Amdro Kills Fire Ants Yard Treatment Bait fire ant granules, which combines the bait's effectiveness with an insect growth regulator. Step Two targets individual mounds with a deep-reaching product, such as Amdro Fire Ant Bait.

Fire ant colonies revolve around keeping their queens productive, well-fed and protected. Because queens eat only what's been eaten by worker ants, effective baits such as Amdro Fire Ant Baits are best. Tempting smell and taste make ants think bait is food. They hurry back to the colony with their prize, leaving a trail for others to follow. But if bait works too fast, workers die before they feed the queen. Amdro Fire Ant Bait's built-in delay prevents this. Workers reach the queen, she feeds and dies, and the colony expires soon after.


Fire ant treatments, including the Two-Step Method, are most effective when ants are active. Seasonal activity peaks from spring through fall, when soil temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. In cooler soil, fire ants are less active and stay deeper and more protected.

Begin your Two-Step attack in early morning or early evening, when ants are actively foraging:

Step One: Amdro Kills Fire Ants Yard Treatment Bait 

  • For light infestations: Use a rotary broadcast spreader or handheld granular spreader, and broadcast Amdro Kills Fire Ants Yard Treatment Bait granules at a rate of 5 pounds per 10,000 square feet.
  • For heavy infestations: Broadcast Amdro Kills Fire Ants Yard Treatment Bait granules at a rate of 5 pounds per 5,000 square feet.
  • Repeat as necessary, but do not exceed three applications per season. The granules continue to work all season.

Step Two: Amdro Fire Ant Bait 

  • For normal mounds: Sprinkle 2 to 5 level tablespoons of Amdro Fire Ant Bait in a circle around each mound. Use a disposable scoop, not a kitchen utensil, and do not disturb the mound.
  • For large infested areas: Use a hand-held granular spreader, and broadcast Amdro Fire Ant Bait at a rate of 2 to 4 ounces per 5,000 square feet or 1 to 2 pounds per acre.
  • Repeat applications, as needed. To check mounds for activity, put a small amount of bait nearby, taking care to not disturb the mound. With active mounds, bait disappears within the hour.

Total time to Two-Step fire ants to oblivion: 1 to 2 hours, depending on your lawn's size.

How hard you'll work on a scale of 1 to 4: 2 – Easy Does It

How soon you'll see results: Amdro Fire Ant Bait starts to kill fire ants immediately. Properly applied, this bait kills the queen within one week and destroys the colony within two weeks of application.

With the Two-Step Method of fire ant control, you can reclaim your yard. Amdro Kills Fire Ants Yard Treatment Bait and Amdro Fire Ant Bait, backed by more than 30 years of expertise, team up to get the job done quickly. For you, it's lasting control and peace of mind. For fire ants, it's game over!

1. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project, Two-Step Method

2. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project, Fire Ant Biology