The Home Remedy That's Not Worth Your Time If You Have A Fire Ant Problem

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If your patio is an entertainment destination, you won't like it if you, your guests, or your pets get stung by a mob of fire ants during a barbecue. If you live in an afflicted area, be on the lookout the next time you're mowing the lawn; if you spot even a hint of a fire ant mound, it would be wise to stop. These invasive pests are aggressive, biting and stinging those they perceive as threatening. It's rare, but the venom released during stings can cause life-threatening allergic reactions in people.

Fire ants go after humans, newborn animals, and family pets and mostly appear in the Southeastern United States, but also call some western states their home. One method for dealing with them that pops up from time to time is to pour club soda into their mounds, as the carbon dioxide in the soda is said to suffocate the colony. Spoiler alert — it's not worth your time.

As a remedy, club soda – water with added carbon dioxide and minerals — is appealingly non-toxic. But Dr. Mike Merchant, a professor and entomologist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas, shared with The Dallas Morning News that this home remedy is unlikely to do anything more than cause the ants to retreat underground, where they will plan their next move.

Why club soda isn't effective at killing fire ants

It's completely understandable why homeowners would embrace such an environmentally friendly method — it won't interfere with the health of your grass or affect other wildlife. Additionally, it might even appear to work. Club soda dramatically bubbles up, making it look like the mound is destroyed, and the ants appear to leave. This isn't actually what's happening; the ants simply move house. There are underground tunnels below the mound that allow them to travel easily. As such, they'll probably construct a new mound nearby within a couple of days. 

Luckily, there are genuinely effective ways to get rid of fire ants, and plenty of homeowners on social media who share their successful first-hand experiences. This should help you identify legitimate non-toxic methods that worked for them. Alternatively, you can opt to purchase a chemical insecticide like Ortho Fire Ant Killer and apply it yourself. Of course, calling a professional exterminator with experience eradicating fire ants is another solid option.