Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ANTS IN MY BED



OK, not in THAT bed, but in one of the raised garden beds.  It's amazing how, from last week to this week, this happened:

Ants in a raised garden bed
This isn't freshly turned soil.  Well, actually I guess "technically" it is, but it's freshly turned by fire ants!  Ugh.  I need to plant in this bed soon and I don't want to put anything toxic in there.  I have used vinegar before on regular mounds in the yard, but when I do that, I'm not worried about how the vinegar might affect the grass.  However, I am concerned about how it might affect the garden soil I will be planting vegetables in.

Does anyone have any suggestion for a garden safe remedy?

34 comments:

jaz@octoberfarm said...

if you put cornmeal down the ants will eat it and when they drink water it swells and they explode.

Galestorm said...

You might try pouring boiling water over the nest. I've also heard that grits work like the cornmeal too.

Kris said...

I HATE ants. Of any kind. I have tried lots of things to kill them. Only thing that will KILL them is gas. But you do not want to gas your beds. So I am interested to see anything else I haven't tried here.

Tammy said...

I have no idea for real, but I do not see how vinegar would hurt the soil. Salt would be bad bad bad, but vinegar, I am not sure, especially if you watered it thoroughly once the ants were gone.

It might affect the acidity of the soil, but I wouldn't think it would make it toxic.

It would be different if there were plants in the bed, I think, but just the soil.... I don't think so.

If vinegar works on the ants, I'd go for it.

wendywoo said...

I have heard that vinegar is very bad for soil, not sure why. Cornmeal seems to be a fairly common remedy for ants, but be aware that it can have an effect on seedlings causing them to not germinate. Be sure you use cornmeal in a part of the garden where you intend to plant plants and not seeds. Boiling water will kill the beneficial bacteria in your soil, probably not a good idea either. Why don't you just go to the source and put a search in on Pinterest! They have the answers to everything!

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

There are some good recommendations in this link.

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/fire-ant-control

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

some of them are funny, lol

Stephen Harding said...

Corn meal is a good option. I also dilute orange oil in water and soak the mound. Works wonders. The only thing to avoid is getting the oil mixture on plants leaves (when you actually have the bed planted).

Linda said...

In my experience I've found that if you treat the mound, some die but the others just move and make a new mound. We use a granular product (Ortho - NOT organic) that we spread over the entire lawn, instead of treating just the mounds. Maybe you could treat the area around the raised beds and around the garden fence to keep those buggers out of your garden area?

FionaG said...

For all our pests, fire ants are one we don't have thank goodness. For our other ants though, I use a thing called Ant Sand. It's a granular product. Like above, I don't know how toxic it may be but I don't think it affects your soil or other plants. Also, we can buy the Ant Sand in little stations. I had to do this to stop the ants eating all our strawberries. These you just put where you want them and then remove them when the ants are gone. This way we weren't putting the product on the strawberries but could place the baits right in the middle of the plant where the ants were. You would need to protect them from the weather though. Not sure whether these products are an Australian thing or available elsewhere.

Robin said...

I use cinnamon for ants. It works on regular ants....but, not sure about fire ants

Quinn said...

Sorry I don't have any suggestions....just want to say that now all the hair on my head is standing on end!

ladyhawthorne said...

Vinegar is harmful to plants and that's why it kills weeds fairly well. I like a product called Anti Fuego. They sell it as a fertilizer or soil conditioner but it's original use was as a fire ant killer. It's basically compost tea with orange oil and is non toxic to plants. With 1 or 2 applications the ants will be gone. You mix it with water and pout it on. I have had excellent results with it and the plants really like it. I got mine at the Kingwood Garden Center but most any smaller garden center should be able to get it for you. Or you could order online.

Sandy said...

Robin,

I have strawberry plants from last year that are doing well but I just found out today there's ants in one of the pots. I'm going to use cinnamon in this pot to help get rid of these ants.

gmv said...

I got fire ants in a load of planting soil I bought. They ate almost a third of my potato plants and leaves in two of my raised beds. I tried many suggestions but the boiling water did the trick. I lost some more plants due to the hot water, but you haven't planted yet so give it a try. Flood the bed with scalding hot water. Good luck!

texomamorganlady said...

Boiling water first, then Diatomaceous earth, sprinkle, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Practical Parsimony said...

http://knowledgeweighsnothing.com/how-to-get-rid-of-red-imported-fire-ants/

Cornmeal does nothing. You need to stir up the mound and quickly apply this. Don't use essential oil. There is an orange oil that is supposed to get rid of moles and voles. Use that instead.

When I have ants on the counter, using a dish cloth a little soppy with soapy water drowns them. The idea is the dish soap or any soap breaks the surface tension on a bucketful or a counterful of water. Ants on a soapy counter drown. If the counter is soppy wet with plain water,they don't drown.

Okay, back to fire ants. Use the soapy water and orange oil solution, whatever that link says. That is your best bet other than something toxic. You will need to keep a close watch because it is almost impossible to get rid of these ants. They just move to another area and start over. This needs to be watched for every day. Gas and huge fire was Daddy's solution in the 1950s in Jackson, MS. I have used it too, but no more. Right now, I have a commercial fire ant killer that will not be used around food.

I worry that your not being present every day will give the ants plenty of time to inhabit the whole bed. Personally, I would do whatever I could to save the whole bed and the other beds from contamination by fire ants. You can dig out the soil you may have contaminated. Stir up the bed of ants before you apply diatomaceous earth because the ants are killed from contact with the DE. You know how they boil from the mound when disturbed. First, sprinkle the DE around the mound and on the outside of that bed before you stir them up.

Ants have defenses to protect them from flooding. They have higher places in the nest to escape to. The boiling water may just drive them to another location instead of killing them. The orange oil and DE will kill.

Good luck.

Edenfaith said...

In the past Ive poured boiling water on them and it worked. You should do this a few times but it does work. My Mom told me about this, and now I swear by it!

5 Monkeys and a Chick said...

Hey guys,
Take it from a professional. Go to Home Depot or Lowe's. Get a product called Amdro. Fire ants can quickly take over a whole property. Not fun for the animals or the people. Follow the label and check the whole yard.
Love you guys!

1st Man said...

Well, that sucks for them but sounds good for us, ha.

1st Man said...

You know I've heard of the boiling water, totally forgot about that. Might be the safest thing, at least to start with.

1st Man said...

Lots of good suggestions, if the rain stays away, I'll try a couple of them this weekend. I'll keep you all posted. And I'm with you, I hate ants too.

1st Man said...

Definitely just soil now, no plants, so we'll see what happens. Thank you!!

1st Man said...

Really? Oh thanks for that. Hmmm....seems like some downsides to several things. I'll do some searching, thank you for the suggestion!!

1st Man said...

Now THOSE were funny!! Seems like they are resilient little creatures huh?

1st Man said...

Orange oil? Now there's one I haven't heard before. Cool! Thanks!!

1st Man said...

You know, that's a great idea to prevent it once I get these eradicated huh? I have seen those ortho products. Putting it around the fence would be a good idea to keep them away from the garden. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Cinnamon? I love that idea. Heck, it certainly can't hurt huh? Thank you Robin. I'll try it and see what happens. Like you said, not sure about Fire Ants but it's worth a try.

1st Man said...

Sandy, strawberries and cinnamon? Sounds like the makings of a great dessert, ha. If it rains on us this weekend, and I don't get to try it, please let us know if, on the smaller scale of the pots, if it works.

1st Man said...

LOL! Not an ant fan I take it? :-)

Midnite Baker said...

Hubby & I have had carpenter ants, black ants and the small "grease" ants problem in the yard and use borax sprinkled around the mounds and entrance holes. This gets rid of them permanently!!! Just did a google search for your fire ants and the recipe is sugar and borax. Check it out - using borax to kill fire ants Borax is safe and so is sugar around the garden. Best of luck. And BTW, DO NOT dig the mound up as you will spread them around and they will make more mounds!! Don't think you would want that. Take Care. and keep us informed as to want you decided to use. M

Practical Parsimony said...

I believe that borax and sugar syrup is the best and safest option. However, I can never get the formula right. I had heard it was difficult to do. I have only used that for inside ants. The TERRO brand in Lowe's is perfect. However, it comes in a tiny bottle. I am going out to poison fireants with something from Lowe's but not TERRO. Maybe I will try plain borax, but I read that they won't eat it without sugar. I will chance it... lol.

TERRO is commercial sugar and borax syrup and is the only thing I use inside the house because it is safe.

Anonymous said...

I use DE/diatomaceous earth; discovered it years ago. Amazing at work against pests including fire ants, yet completely safe/non-toxic on plants, fruits, vegetables etc. Bought food grade 50lb - cheap in large quantities- for it's amazing qualities. Feed it to all animals for parasites. Best wormer I found. I use it also for it's minerals we need daily. check it out - on the net, no less.

I have moles by millions. DE kills the grubs that moles exist on. I think grubs become a locust or a cicada, which go through and strip everything. Good reason to destroy them

Andrea Porter said...

I thought it was on your bed. I mean, the one where you sleep! Haha! Kidding aside, I hope you already got tips on how to exterminate all of them. It’s hard to have those insects when you planted the seeds. They might use the seeds as their food. Hope you’ll be able to solve this problem as soon as possible. Keep me updated about that case, can you? Thanks! :)

Andrea Porter