Red ants

Asked May 4, 2015, 7:22 AM EDT

How do I kill red ants--not fire ants--living in railroad ties. Thank you, Pat

Floyd County Virginia

1 Response

If the ants are biting or stinging you may want to get rid of them. If the railroad ties may be adjacent to the foundation of your home, you may want to get the ants identified to make sure they are not carpenter ants that could possibly find their way into your home.

If the railroad ties are in the landscape and the ants are not causing any harm, you might consider just living with them as many ants are considered beneficial.

Here is a website with excellent photos of ants that may help you identify the species that you have: http://www.myrmecos.net/north-american-ants/. Collect and kill a few in rubbing alcohol so you can examine them closely with a hand lens to look at their characteristics. If you need help with identification, collect a dozen or so ants in alcohol and take to your local Extension office for identification: http://www.ext.vt.edu/offices/index.html.

Once you have identified the ants, and you decide you need to need to control them, go to the Virginia Cooperative Extension publication, Pest Management Guide for Home Grounds and Animals at https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/456/456-018/Section06-Nuisance-Insects-of-the-House-and-Yard.pdf, page 6-2.