There are a number of homemade methods for controlling fire ants, such as pouring boiling or soapy water on the mound, digging up the mound or using orange oil. However, none of these methods is entirely effective, as they typically only kill part of the colony.
Pouring scalding hot water on a fire ant mound may kill up to around 60 percent of the colony. Using soapy water to drown the fire ant colony is also around 60 to 70 percent effective. When using hot or soapy water, it is usually necessary to pour at least 3 gallons on to the mound in order to reach the reproductive areas and kill the larvae. In some cases, three or four repeated applications may be able to kill the entire colony. Although somewhat effective, both remedies generally also kill the vegetation in the surrounding area.
Orange oil can be used as a fire ant repellent, as the ants find the smell unpleasant and avoid any areas where the oil has been applied. This method is usually only partially effective, as the fire ants often avoid the treated areas and use a different route into the home or their mound.
Numerous homemade fire ant remedies, such as molasses, aspartame, corn grits and vinegar, have been proven to be ineffective. Other homemade extermination methods, such as gasoline and cleaning products, are both ineffective and harmful to the environment.