How to Capture a Fire Ant Queen

A fire ant eats a caterpillar.
A fire ant eats a caterpillar. (Image: ant image by FttSniper from

Whether you are attempting to catch a fire ant queen for your own ant colony or you are attempting to kill a queen to get rid of a pesky colony in or around your home, capturing a fire ant queen can be very helpful. It does take a bit of patience and time, but the process is not altogether difficult.

Things You'll Need

  • Jar
  • Spade or small shovel
  • Soil sifter

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Know how to identify the fire ant queen. The fire ant queen will be bigger in size that a normal fire ant. She will be much larger than all the other fire ants, maybe even three or four times the size of the others.

Search for the queen after a light spring rain. The rain will force many of the fire ants out of their colony. In the spring, they will mate at this time as well. If you see a mating pair, the larger one will be a female. If you want a queen for your own colony, you can start your colony with this female. If she is not the queen, as the only female in your colony she will soon take on the role. Place the female ant in a jar.

Destroy a colony. If you find a fire ant hill or colony outdoors, you can destroy the hill. Sometimes simply crushing the hill will drive the queen out. Again, you are looking for the one that is bigger than all the others.

Dig and sift. You may need to dig out the colony and sift the dirt until you locate the queen.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are starting your own ant colony, it will also help if you keep some of the ants from the queen's colony.
  • When working with fire ants, you may want to wear gloves, they can and do sting.


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