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Ants in my containers

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by Leander on March 21, 2005 09:01 PM
I do all raised beds or container gardening as I live on a rock. (no dirt deeper than 2") Ants have invaded my containers. I don't want to use poison as I garden for birds and butterflys also. Right now I can't plant, weed, or get anywhere near the beds or containers. Any ideas on how to get rid of the little critters without poisoning ever other thing as well? I have both fire ants and those little bitty ferocious biters.
by Jiffymouse on March 28, 2005 12:32 AM
hi leander [wayey] i wanted you to know, i feel your pain on those nasty little ants... and i am moving your post to the plant pest section. you'll get better answers there! (and i'll be glad for them, got my own ant story going [Roll Eyes] )
by Lynnski on March 28, 2005 01:19 AM
I am a new member so probably can't help much but I used to have terrible ant problems when we had a mulberry tree which I assume was due to the syrup it produced. When it was cut down they disappeared - is there anything like that in your garden which might attract the little blighters ?

Love from Newcastle, UK xx
by Leander on March 29, 2005 07:10 PM
Seems that Texas has been overun with esp. fireants. There is a ton of stuff out there to poison them, but all the stuff is toxic to everything else. I don't have a thing around to attract them. Birdfeeders are not near the containers. Maybe beneficial nematodes will help. Don't know that they do much for ants tho.
by ranee_renee23 on March 30, 2005 04:53 AM
hi leander! sorry to hear about your ant problem. i once lived in Texas, and i just hated those nasty buggers [devil] . well looking online i found a product called "orange guard" its said that it will rid you of your fire ants without harming you or the animals. now i have never used it but i was checking something out for someone else and thought about you and your dilema. i found it on wormsway.com or just a search will give you a ton of results [flower]
good luck,
Renee'

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True INSANITY will never admit itself.(forgive my misspellings)
by Leander on March 30, 2005 06:30 PM
Hey, thanks. I'll look it up. I'd been doing web searches too, but keep coming up with stuff that that is toxic, even the organic stuff like boric acid.
by Safari Barbie on March 31, 2005 04:17 PM
i used to live in DAllas and worked at a horse stable in Plano, so lots of fire ant hills. We would take a shovel, dig into one nest, put it on another nest and visa versa. The ants are very territorial and will kill the invaders. It worked for us.
Barb

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Barb
Southern coastal North Carolina
http://community.webshots.com/user/safari_barbie
by ladystressout on April 01, 2005 03:29 PM
I use to have the kind of ants that came into the house?I use to put speramint plants at the bottom of the entry door and it kept them out? I heard they do not like peppermint or spearmint smell?
by The Plant Doc on April 01, 2005 08:17 PM
This may sound smelly and gross, but then again most pesticides are smelly and gross, but this will work without harming any wildlife...not even the ants.

Most insects including ants HATE niccotine!
Make yourself some sun tea using ciggerette butts!
A pub would be a great place to collect them, if you don't know a smoker. Lets it steap util the water turns a nasty brown color, then water the area which you are trying to rid of ants.

If you have a deep colony you may need to concentrate the mix by boiling it down then soaking it is. I would do this outside on a Coleman stove as it STINKS!!! But it does work!

To get an idea how much ants hate the stuff just draw a circle around an ant on pavement with a lit ciggerette, the ant will not cross the circle!

Hope this helps

Mike

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Mike Maier
aka
The Plant Doc
by Buglady on April 02, 2005 09:30 PM
if you are just trying to get them out of your containers , you can drench plants with beneficial nematodes. in nursery production we found that when we drenched with the nematodes that the ants left. I don't think that the nematodes kill the ants but the ants don't like to be where the nematodes are.

research in this are is still being done.

are they fire ants? or something other species?

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The Buglady
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, www.bugladyconsulting.com
Educating the world... one bug at a time
by Leander on April 05, 2005 09:56 PM
These guys are fire ants. I use nematodes for general bug control in the yard. Doesn't faze the mounds, but I've never tried drenching them. I don't get ants in the house or even on the decks. I am going to try the nicotine drench. It won't hurt the plants will it? Nematodes spray is on my to-do list for next week so I will give that a go. Thanks for all the good ideas. I WILL WIN!
by Buglady on April 05, 2005 10:46 PM
do you know what nematode species you used in the past? you might try using Heterorhabditis indica. it was isolated in FL so it is for warmer soil types. Also have you checked the nematodes to see if they are alive before applying?

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The Buglady
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, www.bugladyconsulting.com
Educating the world... one bug at a time
by Leander on April 06, 2005 09:10 PM
The nursery just calls them "beneficial nematodes". How can I tell if they are alive? I've always thought it was a leap of faith and hoped I wasn't being scammed.
by Buglady on April 08, 2005 07:44 AM
look at the bottom of this page beneficial nematodes

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The Buglady
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, www.bugladyconsulting.com
Educating the world... one bug at a time
by Leander on April 09, 2005 06:16 PM
Buglady, You are a wealth of information.! Thanks so much.
by mshpring on April 21, 2005 05:21 PM
You might try grits. Sprinkle uncooked grits in your containers... They won't kill many ants, but they will kill enough that the ants will move. This won't work for ridding your entire yard of ants, but it should help in your containers. I take grits when I go camping in Texas, so I can clear my campsite of ants!

I'll have to check out beneficial nemotodes; that is a great site, Buglady!
by Buglady on April 21, 2005 06:18 PM
Thanks for the post! But neither TX & M or University of Florida recommend grits for fire ants control. They have done research and found them ineffective.

here is one link Laboratory Assay of Effect of Instant Grits and Malt-O-Meal for Imported Fire Ant Control

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The Buglady
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, www.bugladyconsulting.com
Educating the world... one bug at a time
by tkhooper on April 21, 2005 11:56 PM
I tried the nicotine tea. So far it hasn't helped at all. But who knows maybe I'll get lucky.

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