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Club Soda & Fire Ants


Dirt Doctor Newsletter
Club Soda Kills Fire Ants - Fact or Fiction?


Since I have gotten about 900 emails about this subject, it's time to weigh in officially. Supposedly from the Walter Reeves Website, this is the basic message that flew around the internet:

Eddie's brother Robert Rhoades has discovered an environmentally friendly cure for fire ants that has been announced by Walter Reeves on his radio program. Testimonials that it REALLY WORKS are coming in.

Simply pour two cups of club soda (carbonated water) directly in the center of a fire ant mound. The carbon dioxide in the water is heavier than air and displaces the oxygen which suffocates the queen and the other ants. The whole colony will be dead within about two days.

Only problem - it's all made up. This is from a recent Houston Chronicle article.

Club soda: Fine for cocktails and stain removal, not for killing ants.

State entomologists have been trying to stomp the club-soda-kills-fire-ants myth for years, and they say they're having about as much success as, well, using club soda on fire ants. "This information has been floating around on the Internet since 2007, but seemed to regain momentum starting in December of last year," said Wizzie Brown, a Texas AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management program specialist in Travis County.

The pitch in the widely circulated e-mail is that club soda, a popular kitchen-cabinet stain remover, is an "environmentally friendly" way to kill a fire ant mound. All it takes is two cups and the ants are gone, the theory being that carbon dioxide from the club soda displaces oxygen and suffocates the bugs. "What it doesn't say is that the treatment is ineffective, unless you happen to drown a few fire ants in the process," said Brown, who has tested club soda among other fire ant home remedies. "Long story short, it didn't work," she said. "Observations and statistics from the trial showed no evidence of any type of control as a result.  Pouring club soda onto a fire ant mound did not lead to the ants dying a horrendous death; it did, however, produce lots of impressive bubbling action."

Response from Walter Reeves Himself: Fire Ants - No Control with Club Soda

My friend Eddie Rhoades is a unique individual...and his brother Robert surely fell from the same tree. Robert once asked me if I thought club soda poured into a fire ant mound would kill them. I casually replied that it sounded like something worth investigating...that he should try it and let me know how it worked. From that conversation, a bit of Internet hyperbole has arisen. I have gotten variations of the paragraphs below several times.

I am friends with both Eddie and Robert, but I have not "endorsed" the pouring of club soda onto fire ant mounds. From several replies that I've gotten, club soda has no effect on fire ants. The insects simply rebuild their mounds afterwards. The carbon dioxide atmosphere in the mound does not linger long enough to suffocate any
ants. Baits and mound treatments are still the best way to control fire ants.

For a fire ant program that works, here's what I have successfully recommended for a long time. 
Dirt Doctor Fire Ant Treatment

Now is a great time to get a Dirt Doctor Membership. As a thank you for joining or renewing, you will receive some sample products.

If you have any questions regarding this newsletter or any other topic, join me for my radio show heard in Dallas/Fort Worth on Saturday at 11 am and across the country on Sunday from 8 - 11am (CST). Radio.

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Naturally yours,

Howard Garrett
The Dirt Doctor 


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