How to Kill Fleas & Red Ants

How to Kill Fleas & Red Ants thumbnail
Red ants and fleas both threaten a peaceful home.

Red ants, also known as fire ants, and fleas find their way into your home in their hunt for sustenance. Once they enter, the ants eat crumbs in your house, while fleas feast on your family and pets. Red ants also will bite your family and pets, imparting a painful sting. You can rid your house and yard of ants and fleas using some common household items and a little persistence. Killing these pests both inside and outside your home helps ensure they don't return.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking dish
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Snake-neck light
  • Nematodes
  • Garden hose sprayer attachment
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler
  • Stockpot
  • Stick
  • Gloves
  • Closed-toed shoes
  • Borax
  • Table sugar
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Baby food jar lids
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  1. Indoor Fleas

    • 1

      Fill a shallow square baking dish or medium-size plastic storage container with 1 inch of water.

    • 2

      Add three squirts liquid dish soap to the water and stir to combine.

    • 3

      Place the dish in the middle of your living room, or any room with carpeted floors where you have seen a high flea concentration.

    • 4

      Position a snake-neck light 3 inches over the water line. Turn all other lights off in the room.

    • 5

      Fleas will leap to reach the light, but end up drowning in the water. The soap breaks the water tension so they do not float on top. Discard the liquid and drowned flea in the morning by pouring them down the toilet.

    Outdoor Fleas

    • 6

      Open a bag of nematodes. Find these at your local garden supply store. Empty the package into the receptacle of a garden hose sprayer attachment. Nematodes are small worms that feed off flea larvae.

    • 7

      Attach the hose to the sprayer attachment. Turn the water on.

    • 8

      Spray the nematodes into cool, damp places. Both fleas and nematodes prefer this environment.

    • 9

      Turn the sprinkler on for 1 hour to wet the soil around the nematodes. This helps keep them alive so they can finish off the fleas.

    Outdoor Ants

    • 10

      Bring a stockpot of water to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat and mix in a squirt of liquid dish soap. Stir the water to combine.

    • 11

      Use a stick or shovel to make a hole in the top of any visible anthill in your yard. Wear gloves and close-toed shoes when digging in the anthills for protection. Fire ants will bite.

    • 12

      Pour the boiling water slowly over the anthill, scalding the ants. Ants that don't burn to death will drown in the water, whose tension is broken by the soap.

    • 13

      Repeat this treatment on all anthills once a week until all the ants have died.

    Inside Ants

    • 14

      Mix together 1 cup borax and 1 cup table sugar in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

    • 15

      Spoon the mixture into clean upturned baby food jar lids. You need about 1 tbsp. per jar lid.

    • 16

      Put the lids around the house where you are experiencing ant problems. Ants are attracted to the sweetness of the sugar. The boric acid kills them and any ants exposed to them.

    • 17

      Add additional borax mix to the jars as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Borax, also known as boric acid, often is used as a cleaning agent. It is available at your local grocery store in the cleaning aisle.

  • Keep boric acid out of the reach of children and pets. If you have children or pets in your home, punch holes in the lids of the baby food jars using a hammer and nail. Then, place the lids on the jars. This keeps children and pets out of the bait.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

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