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Can Orange Oil Repel Fire Ants?

Basic Information

Red imported fire ants were brought into the United States from Brazil in the 1930s. In their native country, red fire ants had predators, parasites and local environmental conditions which kept their population in check. However, fire ants have few natural predators in North America. Consequently, it has been difficult to control their numbers.

Fire ant mounds can grow to be larger than 60 cm in diameter and 45 cm high. These mounds can interfere with farm equipment and livestock. The fire ant's sting can be painful to humans, producing a sensation akin to being touched by a lit match. This sensation is the reason they are called "fire" ants. Some people may be allergic to fire ant bites and require immediate medical attention upon being attacked. Fire ants can swarm to attack small animals as well, and household pets have been injured and killed by colonies.

Control Methods

There are multiple measures for fire ant control, such as direct treatment of the mounds, baits and even parasitic flies. Should you decide to treat a fire ant infestation at home, reduction of attractants is important. Fire ants are attracted to a variety of food and moisture sources such as spills, open food containers and pet food/water bowls. Homeowners should remove or reduce as many of these sources as possible. To make it more difficult for fire ants to enter, homeowners should check and seal gaps around doors and windows.

Homeowners sometime resort to DIY techniques such as orange oil to repel fire ants. The odor of the orange oil is unpleasant to the ants and may cause them to avoid the treated areas.

Challenges of Control

Home treatments such as repellents and orange oil have limited effectiveness against fire ant infestations. Fire ants are able to detect the repellent and will simply go around the treated areas. They will search for gaps in the treated areas or avenues around the treatment to enter the home. To ensure the control of a fire ant colony near your home, contact your local pest control experts who have tools and techniques to successfully manage fire ants.

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