Prevention and Deterrence of Solenopsis invicta in Household Environments


  • Barbara Brocard Texas A&M University
  • Craig Sickmen
  • Hannah Nicosia
  • Sebastian Gusman
  • Orlando Olivares
  • Brandon Torres
  • Jonah Robinson
  • Anthony Vish


Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are an invasive species in the U.S. that have spread and infested millions of acres of land in the southeastern states. If disturbed they will readily sting humans and animals, leading to a range of systematic reactions and in some cases anaphylactic shock. However, red imported fire ants do serve as a natural biological control to arthropod vectors of diseases. This article documents the effect of three deterrents and their ability to prevent the infestation of homes with red imported fire ants, while at the same time keep them alive to continue to serve as a natural biological threat. Each test had an initial total of twenty ants and the deterrents used were Raid, lemongrass essential oil, and peppermint essential oil. All three deterrents worked effectively in preventing the opportunity for infestation with Raid being the most effective, allowing only two ants to cross. Lemongrass essential oil was the least effective, allowing twelve ants to cross. However, Raid was also the most effective in killing the ants with all twenty being killed in comparison to lemongrass essential oil which only killed twelve ants. With this invasive species continually expanding, lemongrass essential oil would be the best deterrent to use, without killing the ants.