Bug-Ugly Stories

Sharing tips, tricks and lessons we’ve learned along the way….


They came in waves and took the backyard as their territory, and the compost pile for their haven.  Dogs and kids did not want to go outside.  Our initial efforts at fire ant control were laughable.  We did not know what these ants were capable of….

Our first breakthrough came courtesy of John Herndon (poet, musician, teacher, film maker and organic gardener):


The simplest solution is to pour a lot of garlic powder (not salt) on the mound.  Repeat as necessary until they move.

For the compost pile or large colony under a concrete slab/sidewalk, we came to rely on, what we now call:

Tejas Anti-Ant Tea

Combine used coffee grounds, 1 tablespoon biodegradable liquid soap, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, in 1 gallon of water.  Make a sun tea by leaving the mixture outside all day (as suggested by Joseph Sawyer, inventor extraordinaire).  At dusk, pour the tea onto the fire ant mound and/or compost pile.

Fire ants cannot stand this mixture and quickly start hauling larvae and evacuating the nest.  Since ants are very susceptible to cold, they have trouble rebuilding a test at nightfall and are usually gone by morning.  If you want revenge, hit them with the cold water from the hose as they’re leaving…. 👿  Occasionally, on some persistent colonies, we’ve had to treat a nest 2 or 3 nights in a row, but they eventually do move on.

These natural methods have worked for us for decades, so please try them out and tell your friends!