Ants – The Grit Treatment

Q: I grew up in middle Georgia, a real haven for fire ants. We used to kill them by pouring a tablespoon of uncooked, dry grits in a small pile on the edge of the ant bed. Once they eat the dry grits, the grits expand inside their digestive tract, killing the ant. I know from personal experience that this works!

A: My colleague Charlie Tucker gave me a piece of advice forty years ago that I still use. He was advising me on how to respond to someone who was convinced that beer and dish detergent made their lawn prettier. Charlie knew that trying to persuade them that science had proved that beer is useless as a fertilizer would be an exercise in futility. “You can’t argue with success!” Charlie admonished me.
Science says that grits do not cause fire ants to explode. Fire ants do not consume solid material. It has to be liquified before they swallow it. Dry grits do not get into an ant’s body and swell up. But if you think you’ve been successful controlling ants with them, I think Charlie would say “More power to you!”

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