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ARGH, ants!

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ARGH, ants!

Post  littlesapphire on 8/16/2011, 9:20 pm

I went to all the trouble of making a beautiful strawberry bed this spring because I LOVE strawberries. If I hadn't made a special box just for them, I wouldn't have had room to plant any veggies in my garden!

Well, all season long, I've been having some issues with the berries. There have been a couple of things eating the fruit. The first critter I know what it is, because the bite marks are obviously from a beak!

The second critter, though, I had no idea. It just looked like someone came through with a very small melon baller and took a clean scoop out of the berries. I thought it might be slugs, but I wasn't really sure.

But now I know what the are, because I've been catching the little beasts in action. Ants! Ants are coming in and eating my berries clean! ARGH! What can I do? I know how to take care of ants when they're in my house, but what can I do when they're in with my food? I certainly don't want to use chemicals to kill them, but I can't think of what other options I have.


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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  Goosegirl on 8/16/2011, 9:55 pm

You could try orange oil - they are supposed to hate that!

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Re: Grr Grr....Ants

Post  tabletopper on 8/17/2011, 7:15 am

where do we buy orange oil....????? Ruth

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  Goosegirl on 8/17/2011, 8:00 am

@tabletopper wrote:where do we buy orange oil....????? Ruth
I get mine online but in Chula Vista you should be able to find it at a health food store. They may have some natural cleaners made with orange oil that you could use as is or diluted as the ant repellent and it would double as a soapy bug spray. Right now I am using my homemade bathroom disinfectant as my soap spray for aphids and beetles when needed and as my fungicide (pine oil soap and tea tree oil - gotta love 'em!). So far it is working!

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  capatl on 8/17/2011, 9:20 pm

I have used cinnamon inside where they come into my house, they hate it...but I don't know how that would work around the garden. Just a thought. Smile

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  littlesapphire on 8/17/2011, 9:42 pm

Capatl, I think I'll try that tomorrow. The little beasts were eating my UNRIPE strawberries today! They must be desperate!

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  capatl on 8/21/2011, 12:56 pm

@littlesapphire wrote:Capatl, I think I'll try that tomorrow. The little beasts were eating my UNRIPE strawberries today! They must be desperate!

Hey littlesapphire,

Did you try the cinnamon? How did it work? I was doing some much overdue watering the other day and tons of frantic ants came scurrying out of my pumpkin and butternut squash mounds with their larvae. affraid I didn't think about it before, but does anyone know if cinnamon is have an effect on the soil...good/bad?

I hope you found a remedy! Now I need one too!

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  Goosegirl on 8/21/2011, 1:13 pm

@capatl wrote:
@littlesapphire wrote:Capatl, I think I'll try that tomorrow. The little beasts were eating my UNRIPE strawberries today! They must be desperate!

Hey littlesapphire,

Did you try the cinnamon? How did it work? I was doing some much overdue watering the other day and tons of frantic ants came scurrying out of my pumpkin and butternut squash mounds with their larvae. affraid I didn't think about it before, but does anyone know if cinnamon is have an effect on the soil...good/bad?

I hope you found a remedy! Now I need one too!



Cinnamon is just ground-up tree bark, so I would think it would be just something else to decompose. Just a guess, tho'.

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  camprn on 8/21/2011, 2:57 pm

I have not used it myself but my friend, a gardener for over 60 years, swears by and carries a small container of boric acid crystals in her little garden cart/seat, just for ants. She sprinkles just a few crystals at the entrance of the ant hill and the ants take it up. My understanding is it causes dehydration in the ants. And Leona says, "A little goes a long way". You can buy it at the local pharmacy. I strongly suggest some research about boric acid and it's uses before using it. The label will most likely not have directions for use as an insecticide. Good luck.

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  shannon1 on 8/22/2011, 4:24 am

@capatl wrote:
@littlesapphire wrote:Capatl, I think I'll try that tomorrow. The little beasts were eating my UNRIPE strawberries today! They must be desperate!

Hey littlesapphire,

Did you try the cinnamon? How did it work? I was doing some much overdue watering the other day and tons of frantic ants came scurrying out of my pumpkin and butternut squash mounds with their larvae. affraid I didn't think about it before, but does anyone know if cinnamon is have an effect on the soil...good/bad?

I hope you found a remedy! Now I need one too!
I used cinnamon earlier this year and it didn't seem to effect the soil adversely but the ants sure didn't like it:twisted:

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  littlesapphire on 8/22/2011, 11:54 am

I never actually got a chance to use the cinnamon. I posted that last comment the same day my very last two strawberries got eaten by ants, lol. So I kind of threw in the towel and decided not to bother Laughing

However, I will try it in the spring when the strawberries come back. I've been kind of curious if ants would start invading the MM because it's so very soft and I bet they'd just love to build a colony in it. So far, I've only really seen them in my strawberry bed, but I have to be honest here Embarassed I filled my strawberry bed with top soil. For shame!

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  capatl on 8/22/2011, 9:39 pm

Aw Sapphire, too bad. Sorry about your strawberries!

Shannon, thanks for the info, I am definitely going to use cinnamon tomorrow.

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  AprilakaCCIL on 8/22/2011, 10:21 pm

I again stepped in yet another ant hil by accident today while out in the garden. I'm sick of them. Arghhh Twisted Evil

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  jtuck2 on 8/24/2011, 3:31 am

I feel the same way!! I have never seen so many ants in my life, not even in Florida. They're in my house...in my garden...everywhere! And I hate to use chemicals for ANYthing!

I found that Terro ant killer with boric acid works pretty well in and around the house, but not as well with the ants in my garden. They like my corn better than the bait.

I was going to try cinnamon, but I tried it in the house this week. It worked the first day, but then wore off and the little buggers started walking right through it....the first day they got up to about 1/16th of an inch away and then just turned around fast like they had been hit by a bumper car and went in the other direction.

The ants ruined whole ears of my corn...just turned them brown.

One thing...if the ants are carrying aphids onto your plants and then eating their sweet debris to stay alive, I know what to do that works. But you have to repeat it often...maybe once a week or so. You trim branches off your tomatoes, then cut them into 1 inch pieces and soak them overnight in a bucket of water to make "tomato tea." I probably overdo the quantity because my tomatos needed lots of trimming.

You then put the "tomato water" in a spray bottle and spray the plants that have ants and aphids on them. The aphids hate the tomato tea, and because they can't live with it, the ants give up and go away. It really works, but you really have to keep doing it!

Please, please....more ant remedies!! I get too busy to do the tea trick all the time. And there are only so many extra tomatoes!! cherry

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  jtuck2 on 8/24/2011, 3:35 am

@Goosegirl wrote:
@tabletopper wrote:where do we buy orange oil....????? Ruth
IThey may have some natural cleaners made with orange oil that you could use as is or diluted as the ant repellent and it would double as a soapy bug spray.
GG

If you're referring to goo gone, it's got some petroleum in it that shouldn't be used with veggies. Should read the label even if it says "natural" 'cause so many natural things aren't!

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  Goosegirl on 8/24/2011, 6:51 am

@jtuck2 wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote:
@tabletopper wrote:where do we buy orange oil....????? Ruth
IThey may have some natural cleaners made with orange oil that you could use as is or diluted as the ant repellent and it would double as a soapy bug spray.
GG

If you're referring to goo gone, it's got some petroleum in it that shouldn't be used with veggies. Should read the label even if it says "natural" 'cause so many natural things aren't!

Definitely not Goo Gone! There are some natural cleaners available in some health food stores for windows or for all-purpose cleaning that have orange oil in them for scent and for its cleaning power. Can't remember any brand names because I make my own cleaners, but there are a few different ones out there.

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  Squat_Johnson on 8/24/2011, 12:30 pm

I was on my knees replanting some lettuce that had not sprouted very well. As I moved down a few squares, I noticed my tiny white lettuce seed marching toward the edge. That's right, they were packing off my seeds before my eyes.

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  jtuck2 on 8/24/2011, 2:11 pm

[quote="GoosegirlDefinitely not Goo Gone! There are some natural cleaners available in some health food stores for windows or for all-purpose cleaning that have orange oil in them for scent and for its cleaning power. Can't remember any brand names because I make my own cleaners, but there are a few different ones out there.

I will definitely take a look for those! Never saw them!

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  shannon1 on 8/26/2011, 1:02 am

Some of you may remember my failed attempt to afix the insect barrier to the out side of my TT with adhesive zelcro (it would not stick to the insect barrier). Well I left the prickly side of the stuff around the outside edge of the box and it has kept out ants, snails and who knows what else. I have seen ants walk right up to it and turn around and walk away. It won't help you folks with boxes on the ground as I think the ants would just come up through the bottom.


Last edited by shannon1 on 8/26/2011, 1:25 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  Chopper on 8/26/2011, 1:15 am

@shannon1 wrote:Some of you may remember my failed attempt to afix the insect barrier to the out side og my TT with adhesive zelcro (it would not stick to the insect barrier). Well I left the prickly side of the stuff around the outside edge of the box and it has kept out ants, snails and who knows what else. I have seen ants walk right up to it and turn around and walk away. It won't help you folks with boxes on the ground as I think the ants would just come up through the bottom.

OMG! That is BRILLIANT! I love it!When I relocate my boxes will all have the velcro rough stuff on them - and it already has adhesive. Tonight I assume I am being inundated by snails as we speak. I hate using snail bait but nothing else works. Although I did try Epsom salts tonight. See this thread. What a GREAT solution. You should be in the solutions hall of fame.

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  shannon1 on 8/26/2011, 1:23 am

Gosh thanks.sunny It was a happy case of being too lazy to take it off. I did end up putting in a few nails to just to make sure it would stay. Next box I'm just going to use the kind you sew with since it is so much cheaper. You might look into that, so much cheaper by the yard.Twisted Evil

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  Chopper on 8/26/2011, 2:32 am

I would probably secure it here and there with a staple gun, but still...

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Re: ARGH, ants!

Post  jtuck2 on 9/3/2011, 6:48 pm

[quote="Chopper"]
@shannon1 wrote:Some of you may remember my failed attempt to afix the insect barrier to the out side og my TT with adhesive zelcro (it would not stick to the insect barrier). Well I left the prickly side of the stuff around the outside edge of the box and it has kept out ants, snails and who knows what else. I have seen ants walk right up to it and turn around and walk away. It won't help you folks with boxes on the ground as I think the ants would just come up through the bottom.
Hi Chopper, can you send us to the original info about your zelcro insect barrier? I'm not understanding. thanks!!!

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