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Ants!

Posted: 6/5/2014 7:24 AM

Ants! 


I have ants everywhere in my yard and now they are coming in the house!  I can spray those in the house but what do I do with those in the yard?

Crazycatlady  Ruth  confused
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Posted: 6/5/2014 7:45 AM

Re: Ants! 


Ruth,
Are they fireants?  They have stuff at Wal-Mart for fireants and just ants.  We have fireants like crazy here.  I think fireants and moles are taking over the world! : -)
Betty, Northcentral Louisiana, Zone 8
I asked God for a flower, and He gave me a garden.
I asked Him for a tree, and He gave me a forest.
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Posted: 6/5/2014 8:47 AM

Re: Ants! 


Boric acid and diatomaceous earth (DE) work extremely well.  I have a friend in AL who fights them every day, it seems, as she maintains her 2 acre yard.  Mix these two together and dump it everywhere you see them outdoors.  Boric acid (powder) in can lids placed about inside your home will allow ants feeding on it to take it back to the colony and the colony will be wiped out. 

Place a drop of oil and a few grains of sugar in each lid with the boric acid and it will attract all ant varieties to the bait.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.

Last edited 6/5/2014 8:51 AM by honeyBEE49

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Posted: 6/5/2014 9:01 AM

Re: Ants! 


I use boiling water on them. After making pasta, I'll take the water out and dump it on a fire ant hill in the yard. It doesn't always get the queen the first time, but it does make them all mad for a while. Eventually, they will leave.

I use a coffee pot for this sometimes as well. It makes hot water a lot faster than boiling on the stove. I'll pour it on the cracks in the paver patio I made last fall when I see their red clay working its way up through them. It works very well. That also works to kill weeds in the cracks as well.
--
Chris Behrens
Pendleton, SC (near Clemson, SC)
USDA Cold Zone 7/AHS Heat Zone 7
thatcompostguy@hotmail.com
National Home Gardening Club member since 1998

**OUT OF TOWN 8/23 - 8/31

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Posted: 6/5/2014 9:51 AM

Re: Ants! 


Yes, boiling water works great... forgot to mention that; my friend takes out a teakettle of boiling water every morning and can always find a good ant bunch to use it on.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 6/5/2014 7:36 PM

Re: Ants! 


Sarah, probably the boric acid is doing the job. In the DE mine pits near my house there are ant hills, so they apparently adapt quite well to DE.

High desert grass and shrubland, zone 5, cold desert of Northern Nevada. 
Reporting live from the deadly Forty Mile Desert of Nevada.
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Posted: 6/5/2014 8:17 PM

Re: Ants! 


I swear DE works on ants...pest control companies in our area say they use it for ants successfully.

https://www.google.com/search?q=does+DE+kill+ants% 3F&oq=does+DE+kill+ants%3F&aqs=chrome..69i 57.8785j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&i e=UTF-8

These links say it works on ants...one says black ants in 24 hrs. and red ants in 16 hrs.  I always add boric acid as a non-toxic bug killer for house ants but the DE is effective in these parts, too.

Just think of how we are keeping your local economy in business purchasing DE for so many pests, =)!  It is great stuff.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 6/6/2014 12:14 PM

Re: Ants! 


I guess our ants are just different, or desperate. After all, they have been living in the DE for thousands of years here. Our DE deposits are from the Jurassic (I think) period when this area was part of the ocean, before the Rockies started.

And yes, keep buying DE!

High desert grass and shrubland, zone 5, cold desert of Northern Nevada. 
Reporting live from the deadly Forty Mile Desert of Nevada.
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Posted: 6/6/2014 1:25 PM

Re: Ants! 


I think it has to do a lot with what kind of DE it is. Fresh water vs salt water or some such. I'll have to find my DE document and post it sometime. I spent a couple of days one time researching and putting together something for when people started posting the pool grade vs food grade discussion. I think for any kind of pest control outside, it doesn't matter, and I went with pool grade because it's a lot cheaper than food or agricultural grade that they sell as a pest control. I don't want to speculate any more because I might dispute my own findings. I'll post it later.

The idea is that soft bellied critters will crawl across it and cut themselves just enough that they will desiccate themselves and die. I have mixed results with ants, but I'm impatient about some things. I tend to let them live if they're more than 20 feet from the house or so.

And while I might like boiling water, I do also have a jug of carpenter ant spray that I won't hesitate to batch up and spray just on fire ants. I'll do the foundation of the house once in a while if they're getting inside. I'll spray hills in the yard. I'll do the hills every few days for a couple of weeks and that helps. But I'll wait until there are more than just a few hills in the yard to do it. Ants and yellow jackets are the only critters I'll use anything toxic on. And mice/rats, but that's another issue.

Ants help keep the flea and tick population at bay. I rarely ever see fleas and I don't remember how long it's been since I saw a tick. And they help with other controls as well. I try to be nice, but once in a while... :-)
--
Chris Behrens
Pendleton, SC (near Clemson, SC)
USDA Cold Zone 7/AHS Heat Zone 7
thatcompostguy@hotmail.com
National Home Gardening Club member since 1998

**OUT OF TOWN 8/23 - 8/31

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Posted: 6/21/2014 10:10 AM

Re: Ants! 


Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Health has not been that good. I will have to pick up some boric acid and DE. I will look next time I go to Farmer's Supply. Chris, I didn't know that about ants eating ticks and fleas. Interesting. These ants are small black ones. They don't attack like fire ants but they do build their tunnels like fire ants and their mounds of dirt are not as high. I have been attacked by fire ants when I lived in Texas and they leave a nasty bite. As a matter of fact, fire ants have been just recently seen in MO.

Take care!

Ruth
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Posted: 7/1/2014 4:25 PM

Re: Ants! 


We do not have much of an ant problem in New England, just the tiny ones and the big black ones.
There is a lot of information on You Tube, getting rid of them naturally. Most of the info says to start with the boiling water, pouring it in the ant hole when it is coolest outside, because they are up near the top of the soil getting warm.

If that doesn't work they say to use Borax, and mix it with a sweetener, like sugar or honey. The sweetener attracts them, they eat it and go home and die because they have eaten the borax.
I am not sure of the ratios, but I think that is an important part of the mixing. Got this from some guy in Australia, he uses a squirt bottle and sprays around the house, sprays his trees and pours it into the any holes.
Good Luck.
Dawn.......Zone 6a.......Niantic, CT
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Posted: 7/2/2014 7:51 AM

Re: Ants! 


There are grease ants and sugar ants. You can make baits for each using something like a jelly and borax, or bacon fat and borax. I might suggest keeping bacon fat for flavoring and using something less flavorful like beef fat.  Or something odorless like Crisco. Or even peanut butter might work. Outdated fats that have gone rancid are perfect for this.  If you're using meat fat or peanut butter, you might want to put it inside of a short piece of PVC pipe so dogs and other animals won't get to it. Ratios aren't important. Just make a paste that's spreadable or at least sticky enough to stay together and not melt or fall apart.  50/50 would probably be good if it works.

And before anybody suggests grits, NO. Grits will just feed them, not make them explode. I've asked entomologists here at Clemson University about that and they were pretty adamant about it. Ants have a digestive system, so eating grits is just like eating any other food stuff. It gets digested and they'll come back for more. probably not much more since it isn't sugar or fat, but it won't kill them.
--
Chris Behrens
Pendleton, SC (near Clemson, SC)
USDA Cold Zone 7/AHS Heat Zone 7
thatcompostguy@hotmail.com
National Home Gardening Club member since 1998

**OUT OF TOWN 8/23 - 8/31

Last edited 7/2/2014 7:54 AM by That Compost Guy

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Posted: 7/2/2014 8:09 AM

Re: Ants! 


Way back early in this thread, I covered the sweet eating ants and the grease eating ants with this:

Place a drop of oil and a few grains of sugar in each lid with the boric acid and it will attract all ant varieties to the bait.

It is best to leave the boric acid dry and just add dry sugar grains and a drop of oil on the can lid or whatever you put the bait on...stick it way out of sight if you have pets...I place mine between a cabinet and freezer or similar area.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 7/2/2014 10:30 AM

Re: Ants! 


Sorry. I hate it when that happens.
--
Chris Behrens
Pendleton, SC (near Clemson, SC)
USDA Cold Zone 7/AHS Heat Zone 7
thatcompostguy@hotmail.com
National Home Gardening Club member since 1998

**OUT OF TOWN 8/23 - 8/31

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Posted: 7/3/2014 8:41 PM

Re: Ants! 



I didn't know there was such a thing as grease ants, thanks you guys.

Why is it best to leave the boric acid dry, Sarah?

The reason I'm wondering is because I have an ant problem in my greenhouse so I've been using a solution of 3 cups water, 1 cup sugar and 4 teaspoons boric acid (bring to a boil but don't cook, let cool). I put it in sour cream lids and set them on the shelves around my plants...they love the stuff but I still have too many ants??? I noticed the other day in one of the lids the liquid had dried up but the ants where still coming and eating the dry grains, now I'm thinking maybe I should just refill the lids with a dry mix.

Last edited 7/3/2014 8:43 PM by herblover

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Posted: 7/4/2014 7:10 AM

Re: Ants! 


Years ago, nearly forty years ago, I read somewhere to use the dry method as the ants track it back to the nest on their feet and it does the job on the ones in the nest...as well as it leaves the bait on the trail for others to get into and/or eat.   I've always heard there were sweet-eating and grease-eating ants so I just add both elements to the lids I put out and it covers all bases right off the bat. 

In recent years, I've heard an Ask the Expert guy on local TV from a pest control company say to use boric acid and the worker ants will carry the powder back to the nest, so dry powder seems to be best from the pros.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.

Last edited 7/4/2014 7:17 AM by honeyBEE49

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Posted: 7/4/2014 10:36 AM

Re: Ants! 


Ants always share their food with nest mates, they regurgitate from their crop. Also, ants are fastidiouly clean, so any powder on their bodies gets cleaned off and maybe eaten.  So either way should do it.

High desert grass and shrubland, zone 5, cold desert of Northern Nevada. 
Reporting live from the deadly Forty Mile Desert of Nevada.

Last edited 7/4/2014 10:36 AM by ruby2s

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Posted: 7/8/2014 11:27 AM

Re: Ants! 



That is so interesting, thank you guys very much. It sure would be nice if they would just go somewhere else! :) I moved several of my plants to the back into the empty greenhouse that I just put up to get them away from the ants and I noticed a couple of days ago that they have already found my Curry tree and seedlings (Murraya Koenigii). Smart little buggars!
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Posted: 7/8/2014 12:57 PM

Re: Ants! 


I feel sorry for you people that have fire ants!!!!! I just can't imagine......
Dawn.......Zone 6a.......Niantic, CT
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Posted: 7/8/2014 2:18 PM

Re: Ants! 


They love potted plants. Or just pots of soil without plants. Or just piles of fresh soil. Or even flat freshly disturbed soil.

I put together a 20x20 paver patio last fall and haven't put sand in yet to help lock them in place. I probably need to do some shifting of the gravel under some of them so they lay flatter. Anyway... These **** fire ants have nested under the pavers. I see gray sand where they have made their way up. They'll encompass space under 4 or 5 of them at one time. I see the mud in the cracks and piled up between, so it's pretty easy to determine. Slowly but surely, I'm running them off with boiling water. Usually it's just hot water run through the coffee pot for that purpose.

Fire ants do bite. But they don't just bite and move on. They grab on and keep on biting in the same place repeatedly. I get them in my Crocs occasionally, or inside the cuff of a glove. Sometimes I'll have a little gristle type of thing form, but most of the time it just turns red for a few days and then disappears. Like a smaller version of a mosquito bite, but painful instead of itchy. Not severe pain, just irritating. That's how they effect me, anyway. Rarely do I ever get stung more than once or twice at a time. If I see that I've stuck my hand in a bunch of them, like when digging sweetpotatoes or rocks or something, I start brushing and usually get rid of them before they all take a chomp. It only takes one for me to realize what's happened if I don't see them first. Then I'm on high alert.
--
Chris Behrens
Pendleton, SC (near Clemson, SC)
USDA Cold Zone 7/AHS Heat Zone 7
thatcompostguy@hotmail.com
National Home Gardening Club member since 1998

**OUT OF TOWN 8/23 - 8/31

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Posted: 7/8/2014 5:41 PM

Re: Ants! 


What's the status with the parasitic wasp/fly/thingy they were testing on fire ants in Texas? I haven't heard of anything since about 2012 when some were turned loose in Florida. (And no, they don't attack honeybees, that is a different parasite.)

Every species of fire ant has its own parasite that kills it. Actually there are native north American fire ants but they don't cause problems, and are under control by their personal parasite. It is the imported south American ones that sting like heck and have no control since they came here without their personal parasite.

High desert grass and shrubland, zone 5, cold desert of Northern Nevada. 
Reporting live from the deadly Forty Mile Desert of Nevada.
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