"I've heard that you can use grits to get rid of fire ants. The ants eat the grits, and the grits swell up inside their stomachs and cause them to explode. Is that true?"
This home remedy probably originated from ant bait products, which often use corn grits as the carrier for the chemical bait. No, grits alone will not kill fire ants.
Adult ants can't eat solid food, including grits. Ants bring food back to the colony, where they feed it to their larvae. Fire ant larvae can chew and process the solids. The larvae then regurgitate the partially digested food for their adult caretakers. The adult ants then consume the liquefied nutrients. So there's no chance that the stomach will explode.
But don't take my word for it. Researchers proved that grits are ineffective for controlling or eliminating fire ant colonies in several studies, including the following:
- Laboratory Assay of Effect of Instant Grits and Malt-O-Meal for Imported Fire Ant Control
- Evaluation Of “Organic” Products And Home Remedies To Eliminate Red Imported Fire Ant Colonies
Some people insist they've tried the grits remedy and the ants disappeared. It must have worked, right? Wrong. Fire ants (like many other ants) don't like being disturbed. When you introduce a strange, new thing to their immediate environment, they often respond by moving elsewhere. It's quite possible that the colony relocated upon discovering a pile of grits on top of their home. There's no scientific evidence that grits do anything to kill the fire ants.