Wednesday, October 20, 2021

HOMEMADE FIRE ANT KILLER

2nd Man was perusing TikTok and found a "recipe" if you want to call it that, for a fire ant killer.  We often get fire ants in the raised beds and of course we can't use a toxic chemical in there.  We get them in both the veggie beds and the fruit tree beds.

THE WEEKEND BEFORE:

Homemade fire ant killer

This was a combination of diatomaceous earth and sugar.  The DE is what kills them, the sugar is what attracts them and makes them take it down into the nest (and hopefully the queen).

Diatomaceous earth and sugar

There were no amounts given so we thought a ratio of 2:1 sounded good.  Two cups diatomaceous earth and one cup sugar.  We just put it in a ziplock baggie...

Fire ant killer

...and shook it up.  Oh and labeled it, ha.

Fire ant mound in raised bed

It might be hard to see it but this is the corner of a raised bed and there is a fire ant nest there.  That's why I can't pull grass or even use the weedeater.  If you've ever been bitten by a fire ant, you'd understand why you don't want to be anywhere near these things.

Killing the fire ant mound

I sprinkled it on, they came out with a vengeance to see what was going on and then I left it alone.

THE WEEKEND AFTER:

LOOK!  They are gone!!!  Dead and gone!

Dead fire ants

I pulled up the clump of grass and there were no live ants.  I looked down deep and there were none in hiding.  I had put on quite a bit and I stirred them up a bit so they'd go ahead and get into it.  Not sure of the amount you're supposed to use but this stuff worked great!  It eliminated the fire ants.

Once we run out of the batch I made, I'll make some more and put it in a mason jar.  We have plenty of those, ha!  Then we'll make sure it is on the shelf with the other garden supplies.

We love a home remedy that works!


27 comments:

  1. One thing I Always have on hand is DE. as it can be used for so many things.

    Can also mix and use in a spray bottle or yard sprayer if you have A lot of hills to spray.by mixing 4 T. of DE to one galloon of water. Cheaper than using sugar.

    Diatomaceous Earth; putting on dry might take several days to fully handle an infestation, and its overall efficacy will depend on the size and species of ant, the wetness of the soil, the temperature and humidity, and other factors. In general, DE takes about 16 hours to kill red ants, and black ants are a little hardier — they last about 24 hours.

    As with many things in life, sticking to it is the key to success. If you keep a close eye on the infestation and regularly reapply DE to control it, your ants will have relocated to that great anthill in the sky before you know it.

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    1. Thanks for this info. We've only tried it on the fire ants. I thought about just using the DE with water but figured the sugar would definitely make them take it down into the nest. But I'll try it that way too and see how it works.

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    2. I read that when DE is wet it is ineffective, but when it dries out it is effective again. I guess the issue is will it dry out sufficiently down in the nest? They say don’t spread it if rain is forecast, but once it dries out it is effective again. On the surface, I presume. I like your theory of them carrying it down to the queen. Seems more logical, and it stays dry.

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  2. Hey, one other question: Did you use granulated sugar or powdered? Wondering if powdered would mix better with the DE?

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    1. Hmm, you know this is a good point. Powdered sugar might be better (if the water doesn't work). I did use granulated regular sugar. I don't know if there is something to the ants carrying the sugar into the nest, maybe the "grains" of sugar would be better than powder. Or maybe powder would just get all over them, ha. We'll experiment.

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    2. While shopping for sugar I searched the web for answers. One site suggested “icing sugar” which is powdered sugar. I mixed up a batch in the 2:1 ratio you used and will try it this morning. It recommended a 25%-50% mixture, I assume they mean sugar/DE, so your 33% is spot on.

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  3. My first comment didn’t appear, not sure if Google lost it.

    To repeat my original question, did you see any evidence of the ants eating the rubber in the tires on the “Zen machine” from your 2014 post? I didn’t realize you have been doing this so long. Lol.

    Since then, have you noticed any tire/ant interaction?

    Thanks!! Keep up the good work!!

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    1. The "zen machine" was kept outside in a three sided open shed for a year or two I guess. And yes there was a huge mound around the tires for a period of time. We're still running the original tires, so there was no issue at all. That's a good question though, I hadn't heard of ants damaging tires but with the truck parked out there, I'll need to keep an eye on that. Or maybe fire ants don't bother rubber but perhaps others do? Now you have me wondering, ha.

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    2. My son-in-law came up with this story that the ants here in Texas eat tires. I saw the mound over your tractor tire and wondered how true (false) his story is. Lol. Thanks for the info!!

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  4. i'm going to use this on my pavement ants first thing in the spring! thanks for this recipe!

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    1. I hope it works. It worked great on fire ants, hope it is the same on all varieties. Keep us posted.

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  5. We hav new beds springing up all over the front lawn. Doing this today!

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    1. I'm going to put down a bunch more this coming weekend. I may have gone overboard with the amount I sprinkled but it worked so I guess I'll try smaller amounts just to see if we notice a difference. Hope it works for you!

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  6. Thanks for this recipe. It’s great to find something that works and is safe to use in the garden.

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    1. I know you understand the menace of fire ants being in this part of the South. Whatever we can get that works. Good luck!!!

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  7. What Colleen said...all that and more! DE works on ALL insects and icky crawling things including fleas, ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, slugs and so much more! All natural, no chemicals, and completely safe to humans and pets. Such excellent little fossilized organisms!

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    1. I've heard about the stuff for years and we had some from something else we were doing once upon a time and figured let's try it. So far it's been great. I'm going to read up more on all the other uses. Thanks for the info!!

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  8. Thank you for sharing this! We have ducks and guinea hens AND fire ants. We don't want to put anything out that would hurt the flock. This will be great!

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    1. I think this stuff is safe around all animals. I hope it works for you. From what Colleen said it can take time. We put it down one week and then the next week it seemed to have worked. Now on a day to day basis we don't know if they were dead within a day or two or the morning of the seventh day, ha. Hope it works for you.

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  9. WOW! Such a safe and easy recipe. And it works! Thank you so much for sharing. I can definitely put it to good use too.

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    1. Right? I hope it works for you. Keep us posted and as awesome as you are at self sufficiency (everyone check out her blog, so many good tips), you'll make it work and maybe even better!

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  10. Uses for using DE
    https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/9-handy-household-uses-for-diatomaceous-earth-579838

    https://mommypotamus.com/diatomaceous-earth-uses/

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  11. Yes, we bought some for ants a while back. Needing dry weather to use it.

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  12. We don't have fire ants in Iowa but based on the bites from those little red ants we do have - I hope they never make it up here. It looks like I need to add diatomaceous earth to my shopping list for the ant nests I disturb while weeding. I knew about DE for slugs, but not ants or other insects.

    I do have a question though - what about things like ground nesting pollinators, or other sweets loving but desired insects. Like butterflies, bumble bees, honey (and other) bees - or is it so unlikely that they'd go after dry sugar that it's not a concern? Perhaps its's far less damage than allowing fire ants to take over?

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  13. So smart!! I'm going to make up a batch and try it!

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  14. Just happened upon your blog and found this about fire ants. I have so many of them and have tried so many things, some of them poisonous which I hate, so I will definitely look for this Earth stuff and mix it up next spring. Winter is about to set in here and they are all buried deep in the ground hibernating I am sure. So glad for this post. Wendy.

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