Some products in your home effectively kill most types of ants, including the red fire ants.
And one of them is the Dawn dish soap.
This guide will give you an easy-to-make homemade fire ant killer with dawn dish soap that kills fire ants.
You can also prepare an ant trap using dawn dish soap and keep it in strategic places to prevent ants from invading your home.
Let’s dive in.
Why Does Dish Soap Kill Ants And Bugs?
Before you get into the homemade recipe for killing fire ants, let’s find out why dish soap kills ants and bugs.
Humans have used soap for more than 200 years as an active ingredient to kill bugs.
Using soap is safe for humans and pets. And they don’t pose the health risks you may face while using insecticides or pesticides.
Potassium is the main ingredient in the dish soap that is lethal for fire ants and many other bugs like mites, aphids, and mealybugs, but safe for humans.
Potassium in the dish soap penetrates the fire ants’ bodies and destroys their cells.
It also soaks up the fatty acids and the moisture present in the fire ants’ bodies.
That causes their exoskeleton to crack, which leads to the death of the ants.
However, you need to keep in mind some essential things.
First, dish soap doesn’t have residual toxicity.
You’ll have to ensure that you spray the homemade ant killer spray on the ants to get rid of them.
The liquid that will remain on the surface after spraying will no longer be lethal for the ants that escaped.
That’s where insecticide sprays become very useful. They’ve residual toxicity.
So, the insecticide spray remains active for a few hours even after spraying. It can kill the bugs that encounter it.
Therefore, to get rid of fire ants by using a dish soap spray, you’ll need to spray regularly for at least a week.
Second, using dish soap spray to get rid of bugs on plants can be harmful to the plants.
Soaps have phytotoxicity – a botanical term used to describe the lethality of a product for the plants.
Soap sprays can cause injury to plants in the form of stilted plant growth, withering of leaves, and reducing the ability of the plants to produce flowers and fruits.
Some of the plants vulnerable to soaps are hawthorn, sweet pea, cherries, plum, roses, lavender, lilies, tomatoes, and many other vegetable plants.
But there’s good news.
You can reduce the phytotoxicity of the homemade killer spray with dish soap by adding extra water.
Now that you know the pros and cons of using dish soap as an ant killer spray let’s dive into the recipe.
How To Make Homemade Fire Ant Killer With Dawn Dish Soap?
It’s easy. But the trick lies in the composition.
You’ll need to choose the right amount of water and dawn dish soap to work on the fire ants.
Here’s the right combination –
8 tbsp of dawn dish soap in one gallon of water.
If you’re using less than one gallon of water, then –
2 tbsp of dawn dish soap in a quart of water or 1 tbsp of dawn dish soap in a pint of water.
The above combinations ensure the right amount of potassium in the spray that will exterminate the fire ants.
Stir the mixture well. Spray it on the fire ants.
Ensure that all your spray is making contact with the fire ants.
You can also use the spray on the fire ant hills in your yard and garden to eliminate the ants in the hills.
But pouring hot water into the anthills is more effective than using the homemade spray.
If you’re dealing with soft-bodied bugs like mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites on the plants, you can dilute the mixture by adding 20% more water.
That’ll make reduce the phytotoxicity in the spray. It’ll make the spray safe for plants.
Homemade Ant Trap With Dawn Dish Soap
Making an ant trap with dish soap is a great idea to entrap the hidden ants in your home and kitchen.
You can’t eliminate all the fire ants in your home and property by using the homemade fire ant killer made from dish soap at once.
You’ll have to use the spray daily for a few days till their sightings are zero.
And while spraying, some of the fire ants will escape and hide.
An ant trap is very effective in luring those fire ants out of hiding. And you can make it with dish soap too.
Here’s how to make a perfect homemade ant trap with dawn dish soap –
- Take a cup or bowl. Fill it with water and add some sugar.
- Mix the sugar with water and put one tbsp of dish soap.
- Cove the cup or the bowl with a plastic foil.
- Make a few holes in the foil.
- Keep the cup in places where you’ve noticed fire ant activity.
That’s a perfect homemade ant trap. The sugar in the mixture will draw the fire ants.
Fire ants feed on sugary stuff and protein-rich food.
To make the trap more alluring for the fire ants, you can also add a slight amount of jelly or jam on the top of the plastic foil.
The sweet stuff in the trap will attract the fire ants to the trap. And they’ll try to sneak inside in the trap to get more of that.
The dish soap in the mixture will kill the fire ants that tried to access the mixture.
Keep the trap in places where you noticed fire ant activities. And leave the trap overnight.
Dispose of the trap with dead fire ants in it the following day.
You can keep the traps continuously for a few days till the sightings of fire ants drop to zero.
However, before you use the homemade fire ant killer with dawn dish soap, there’s one thing to consider.
It’s the severity of the fire ant infestation.
Fire ants spread fast. Within a few weeks, they can be all over the yard and quickly move inside your home looking for food and shelter.
In this case, you’ll need to hire a professional pest controller to get rid of them.
If you notice the red fire ants in your yard or garden and none in your home, you can protect your home from a fire ant infestation.
And that’s by using ant granules.
Ant granules are chemical ant baits that you’ll need to scatter around your home’s perimeter.
These granules sink inside the soil and draw the ants to them. As these are poisonous, the fire ants die when they consume the granules.
Ant granules also kill any ants nesting underneath the soil’s layer.
And these granules remain active for at least six months, protecting your home from ant invasion.
To add more punch to preventing ant invasion in your home, spray peppermint oil spray along the perimeter of your home and inside your kitchen.
Ants hat the smell of peppermint. And using it is the most reliable and non-toxic way to ants and bugs away.
But keep in mind, that peppermint is a repellant. Not an ant killer.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.