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Fire Ants in FInished Compost pile

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Fire Ants in FInished Compost pile

Post  Cincinnati on 9/30/2011, 11:01 am

I started making my own compost in November of 2009. I have a pile of finished compost that has been accumulating for over 18 Months. I put a tarp on the ground, placed a sheet of plywood on it, and began dumping compost on the wood. I wrap the end of the tarp over the top of the pile to keep most of the rain out.

I checked the pile about the 6th month, and it was ant free.

Nothing has taken root in the compost pile; no seeds that went in are germinating. This indicates to me that it has been "well-cooked". I only see an occasional bug in the pile. I used to see earthworms in it, but haven't seen one in a while. Last night I discovered a portion of the pile has been overtaken by fire ants.

I don't want to use chemicals to eradicate the ants.

Has anyone had a fire ant issue in their garden soil, MM or their MM components? How did you eliminate them?

Will fire ants damage the plants in the SQFT boxes? If I kill tens of thousands of ants in the compost (Boiling water comes to mind), will their acid content be harmful to the plant ecosystem?

Another thought was to use my Weed Dragon Landscaping torch and "burn them out". Will the flame destroy the value of the compost?

Now I'm looking for a way to store the finished compost that will prevent the ants from coming.

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Re: Fire Ants in FInished Compost pile

Post  camprn on 10/1/2011, 10:35 am

I would begin by turning the pile as this will disrupt the nest and possibly kill the queen. And the ants don't like wet, so maybe uncover and water. Maybe it is time to make more boxes and use that compost and starting a new pile Very Happy

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Re: Fire Ants in FInished Compost pile

Post  Denese on 10/1/2011, 10:57 am

If you have a way to spread your pile out and soak it down with water, the ants will scatter. Just be careful not to get bitten. I'm sure you know it REALLY hurts. Camprn is right, they don't like a wet environment. It might take a few days of doing this to convince them they should leave for good. If you see the queen, definitely kill her. Once they're gone, I'd let it dry out a little so it's not soaking, then store the compost in a large trash can with a lid. I'm afraid the boiling water or fire would kill the good micro- organisms in the compost.
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