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field ants - help!

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field ants - help!

Post  hollydlr on 6/2/2011, 12:07 am

I unwittingly seemed to have built my SFG on top of a field ant colony. They have made short work of mounding up dirt around the perimeter outside the box and tunneling throughout the Mel's Mix. I am honestly not totally sure that they are going to be harmful, though I have read that they often herd aphids, and can bite. I have also read that many of the usual non-toxic methods don't work on them, such as pouring boiling water into the nest. The only thing I have heard that will really kill the nest is to kill the queen, which can live up to 3 ft below ground, by saturating the nest with nasty chemicals.

I tried applying EcoSmart Insect Killer Granules, which basically have Thyme Oil, Wintergreen, and Eugenol. The ants appear unphased, though my whole yard now smells minty. I am hoping I did not do more harm than good by repelling any beneficial insects...

Does anyone know if DE will work on these? Anything else? I am going to call the county extension office tomorrow. I just can't imagine using so much chemical pesticide so close to the food that I want to feed to my kids. Do I even need to get rid of these ants? Will they hurt my crops?

TIA!!!

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Re: field ants - help!

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/2/2011, 10:02 am

Go ahead and call the county extension office, but these things are nothing to mess with. We've had several gardeners have them pop up in their gardens this year, but those of us who deal with them on a daily basis (either getting rid of them, or keeping them at bay on the property line) agree, go get some Amdro at a big box store, sprinkle the reccomended amount, and wait. I'm not sure how this will affect your produce, I personally would let the box go and not have food from it, if that's what the instructions said, these things can be deadly, killing livestock, tearing up machinery, and even killing people.
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Re: field ants - help!

Post  dmsandlin on 6/2/2011, 11:05 am

Do some research on boric acid. The ants eat it and the acid kills them by dehydration. Boron is one of the trace elements needed in the soil (helps the fruit set), so the little bit that gets into the soil wouldn't do harm like some of the serious insecticides. My dad used to mix it with jelly to attract the ants but you'll have to set it out in such a way that animals can't get to it. I've also seen a premixed gel in the stores. Mixing it with powdered sugar may also work and allow you to target specific areas.

If that doesn't work, my standard advice for fire ants is an application of napalm followed in a few days by a nuclear warhead. It should get most of the ants and you'll have fewer weeds this season. Smile
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Re: field ants - help!

Post  Squat_Johnson on 6/2/2011, 5:26 pm

Are ants bad for a potato bed? I am wondering if they are feasting on my buried crops. It seems to be that they are working the aphids that I have...
Are they bad for a garden in general?
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Re: field ants - help!

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/2/2011, 5:53 pm

YES, they will eat your taters. 2 years ago we took used tea bags, let them dry a bit, and sprinkled them on the mounds that had ants, they went away.... Did it kill them, doubt it, will it work every time, probably not, but hey it's free.
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Re: field ants - help!

Post  HPartin on 6/3/2011, 7:25 am

I mixed equal parts of borax and sugar and put little hills of it on the corners of my boxes as well has any ant hill I could find around my garden. An hour later each of these piles were swarmed by ants. I hope it works--it seems to easy. In a few days I will do it again and let you know if I get the same kind of activity as yesterday.

Heidi

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