A fire-ant treatment being touted on radio and on the Internet – pouring two cups of club soda directly in the center of a fire ant mound – is a sham. Linda Hooper-Bui, a Louisiana State University AgCenter entomologist, says the treatment is based on the idea that carbon dioxide in the water is heavier than air and displaces the oxygen in the mound, suffocating the queen and other ants, supposedly killing the whole colony in two days.
“There is not enough carbon dioxide in two cups of carbonated water to suffocate an entire fire-ant mound,” she says. “The reason why the mound may appear to be dead is you’ve poured two cups of water on them, and they moved because of the disturbance.”
The experts say the most effective way to treat fire ants is with baits that don’t affect other beneficial insects. The baits work because the ants forage for food, pick up the bait and take it back to the nest, where they feed other ants. Eventually, the chemical finds its way to the queen, and the colony dwindles and dies.