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How To Keep Fire Ants Away From Your Campsite

Part of being in the great outdoors all the time means having to deal with bugs around the campsite. Whether you RV full-time or just occasionally, you’ll inevitably run into bees, mosquitoes, or the dreaded fire ants at some point in the camping season. The real question is, how do you keep them from biting or stinging you, and from getting inside your RV?

While fire ants are a problem in some areas year-round, spring and fall are generally the peak seasons as they cannot survive in the extreme winter cold and summer heat. These are some of the tried-and-true ways you can keep fire ants away from your campsite, or even worse, from getting inside your rig.

fire ants
Fire ants. NPS Photo/J. Ferracane
DIY solutions

There are many reasons why you may not want to use chemicals, whether you have pets or small children traveling with you, or you just don’t want to spray chemicals out in the natural environment. However, many home remedies such as pouring club soda, vinegar, or cinnamon on mounds do not work and are ineffective at reaching the fire ant queen.

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One solution that has proven to be successful, that you may already have on hand, is blue Dawn dish soap and Medina Orange Oil. It kills the fire ants by breaking down their exoskeleton, which ultimately leads to death by dehydration. Simply mix either dish soap or dish detergent with some hot water and spray around the exterior of your RV, picnic table, or directly on mounds.

If your RV is stationary, make sure you don’t have any vegetation that touches your RV. If there is any vegetation, cut it away if possible.

Fire ant poison

For the most effective results, you may want to turn to plant-based incestides.

Sevin Dust works well in gardens and for use around the RV. It is eco-friendly and easily broken down by the environment. Simply sprinkle the dust around the outside of your RV, preferably in the morning or evening when there is no wind or rain in the forecast.

If you don’t have pets, you may also want to use ant bait like Terro or AMDRO to poison the entire colony. Put a few around the inside of your RV and leave them for a few weeks. The fire ants will be attracted to the sweetness, take it back and share it with the rest of the colony, and it will kill them all.

Read campground reviews before you go

It’s always a good idea to know where you’re camping before you go. Do a quick search on and check out tips from other RVers to see if fire ants are a known issue in the area.

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