does diotamatious earth work on fire ants?

scott s asks: does diotamatious earth work on fire ants?

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Answer by ANGEL
Many sources say Diatomaceous Earth works on fire ants especially if you can dust it on them, or on their pathways. But, if you are trying to eliminate “ant colonies within treated mounds”… you should use Diatomaceous Earth ALONG WITH other methods or ingredients. For example, D.E. is used with pyrethrins to possibly help enhance penetration of this botanical insecticide into the insect’s bodies.

“A few active ingredients used in fire ant control products are commonly referred to as “organic” (e.g. boric acid, pyrethrins, rotenone and diatomaceous earth). Diatomaceous earth, a natural silica-based dust, will kill some ants, but is not very effective when the soil is moist and it rarely eliminates ant colonies when used alone.

You can use boiling water (about 3 gallons per mound)… will eliminate about 60% of the mounds treated…Surviving mounds will need to be treated again. Care must be taken not to pour boiling water on grass or other plants.”

“There are not many effective organic treatments. Possibly the best one is to pour 2 to 3 gallons of boiling water on the mound. This can be about 60 percent effective if it is done after a rain and the mound has been freshly re-built…
Another organic treatment method that has fair success is to apply diatomaceous earth to the mound.”

This article (from the U. of Georgia Agricultural & Environmental Sciences) states that Diatomaceous Earth, combined with other ingredients, has been registered for treating ants in vegetable gardens.
“Diatomaceous Earth products are usually applied to ant trails indoors.
D.E. abrades the waxy layer from the insect exoskeleton, causing the insect to dessicate.
However, D.E. does not eliminate the colonies within treated mounds. When D.E. is used as a carrier in formulations of pyrethrins, it may enhance penetration of this botanical insecticide into insect bodies.”

It will help to provide a favorable environment for organisms that kill newly mated fire ant queens, such as: birds, lizards, toads, & dragonflies:

Good Luck! Hope this is helpful.

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  1. No, it will not. Fire ants do not “drag” their bodies on the ground as you probably already know. They are elevated above the soil, so diatomaceous earth is a big nada. It is only good for “soft” bodied pests such as snails and slugs. The diatom-earth will pierce and cut their bodies killing them, but will not touch fire ants.

    Fire ants require a more tactful approach. The best product on the market today is probably Bayer Advanced.. “Power Force”. It is one of the most effective products today. The Power Force product will kill the workers as well as the queen which is deep inside the nest. Diatom earth, even if it was effective, would have no means to reach the nest where it really needs to be to do the job. In order to get to the nest, you need to have a product that can be transported by the workers from outside to the inside of the nest, and Power Force does just that. It sticks to the legs of the workers and they will “unknowingly” carry it back to the nest where it kills them all, including the queen. I believe the product can be picked up in the garden section of any large dept store such as WalMart, Home Depot, or Lowes. All you do is sprinkle it around on top of the mound and the ants will do the rest. Here is a link with some info for you to check out. Hope this answers your question..

    $ Billy Ray$

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