Eco-friendly, Scalable Device Kills and Controls Fire Ants and other Ground-dwelling Insects

Technology #33225

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The trailer-based, diesel motor powered hot water apparatus
Joshua King, Ph.D.
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Brion Berman
Assistant Director 407.882.0342
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending US-2016-0345572-A1
Targeted removal of ant colonies in ecological experiments, using hot water
Journal of Insect Science , 7(41): p. 1-12. July 2007

Fire ants are an ecological and financial problem in the worldwide. These pests upset and destroy natural ecosystems, are considered a public health threat, and have detrimental economic effects in agriculture (e.g., large mounds damage machinery), ranching (e.g., the loss of newborn livestock), and recreation and tourism (e.g., the loss of game birds as well as rendering park and resort areas uncomfortable or unusable).

A major challenge of fire ant control is avoiding environmental damage. Chemical poisons are commonly used to kill fire ants. However, these chemicals can pollute the environment, get into the water and/or food supplies, and also harm both the native and foreign species.

Technical Details

An effective device and technique developed at the University of Central Florida to provide large volumes of hot water (approximately heated at 100°C) on demand and makes it possible to control fire ants and other pest species at the scale of hectares, without the use of pesticides. It immediately kills fire ant colonies as well as provides comparable long-term control rates of the pests in small areas to chemical controls.

This invention is a variably sized unit for both large- and small-scale applications, and can be used as an alternative to all forms of chemical mound treatments and/or broadcast chemical baits for fire ant control in areas unsuitable for pesticide application, or where immediate control is desirable. This device can also be used on ground-dwelling insects such as yellow jackets, termites, or wasps.


  • Eco-friendly
  • Non-toxic
  • Immediate death of fire ant colonies
  • Long-term fire ant control


Control of ants or other ground-dwelling arthropods that are vulnerable to high temperatures and that live in mediums such as soil or mulch that allow passage of water:

  • Parks
  • Recreation Areas
  • Agriculture
  • Ranching