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Ants...should I plant?

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GardenGroupie
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Post  LeeAnne12 Wed 18 Apr 2012 - 19:50

Ants have moved into one of my beds. Grrrr!!! I planned to plant squash and eggplant in it. ...so my question is should I wait until the ants are gone to plant? I'm using DE to get rid of them.

Thanks!

Lee Anne
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Post  Cincinnati Wed 18 Apr 2012 - 21:13

LeeAnne12 wrote:...so my question is should I wait until the ants are gone to plant? I'm using DE to get rid of them.

Thanks!

Lee Anne

Lee Ann,

Only wait to plant if you think you can get rid of them fast.

I used to fight fire ants in my raised beds. They would build a mound over the outside of my box and move into the boxes. I tried many suggestions to rid my beds of them. DE worked briefly, then it was as if DE was having no effect. Coffee grounds worked briefly as well. I just did not want to put any systemic chemicals in the beds.

I decided to remove the MM from the beds. placed it in a wheelbarrow and threw in about a pound of lime. I stirred it several times per day. Nearly all the ants left. The next day I put it back into the raised bed. I installed cypress mulch around the beds. So far, ants are appearing all over my lawn, but not around the beds.
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Post  LeeAnne12 Fri 20 Apr 2012 - 18:55

Thank you! It seems with the massive amount of DE I poured on them, they decided to vacate. YAY! I might try the cedar chips, but I'm afraid that might bring in the brown recluses. Eep...that's one spider I don't want in my garden!

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Post  snibb Fri 20 Apr 2012 - 19:32

Try the old cinammon trick!
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Post  NoobieGardener Tue 1 May 2012 - 5:29

I had an ant problem around one of my beds this year. Chalk seemed to be the answer to my ant problem. When I was a kid my grandmother would give us chalk and ask us to "draw" on her raised beds. Apparently the ants will not cross over it.

Anyway, just a suggestion, it worked for me Very Happy
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Post  cgould65 Fri 18 Apr 2014 - 13:02

I just went outside to turn over soil in raised bed and was planning on planting, but its infested with small black ants!!!!! Help!!!! How much cinnamon should I use or do I really need to do the borax trick?  Feel like I'm running out of time to plant LOL
Thanks
Cgould65, Bay Area CA
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Post  AtlantaMarie Fri 18 Apr 2014 - 14:38

Cinnamon seems to work pretty quickly for me.  I just sprinkle heavily all over & around the beds.  Doesn't bother the plants.

They don't like vinegar either.
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Post  brainchasm Fri 18 Apr 2014 - 14:43

NoobieGardener wrote:I had an ant problem around one of my beds this year. Chalk seemed to be the answer to my ant problem. When I was a kid my grandmother would give us chalk and ask us to "draw" on her raised beds. Apparently the ants will not cross over it.

Anyway, just a suggestion, it worked for me Very Happy
Your grandmother sounds like one smart cookie!  Chalk is basically just DE in another form...not surprised it would work similarly.

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Post  CapeCoddess Fri 18 Apr 2014 - 14:47

brainchasm wrote:Chalk is basically just DE in another form...not surprised it would work similarly.

Huh! How about that! I wonder if it will keep the slugs from climbing in?

CC
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts Fri 18 Apr 2014 - 15:43

Costco sells a large spice bottle fairly inexpensively so we just put it on the list. 

If I had to wait until there were no ants - I'd NEVER have a garden, LOL!  

Heading out with my cinnamon bottle  Laughing
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Post  sanderson Fri 18 Apr 2014 - 15:55

This is a 2012 topic.

C Gould,  Welcome to the Forum!  Are you in the "hot" or "cool" area of the Bay?

I agree with Audrey, can't wait on the ants to plant.  I use Baby Powder.  My only gripe with ants is that they carried off the male pollen from my summer and winter squash, and "herded" the aphids.  I carefully poofed BP on the stems and leaves.
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Post  camprn Sat 19 Apr 2014 - 3:29

If the soil is kept most enough the colony will want to find another best site more suitable to their need.

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Post  Cincinnati Sat 19 Apr 2014 - 4:06

My experience with trying to keep soil moist so ants will stay away is that 

1. To reach that point, the soil stays too soggy to support garden life.
2. They move the mound just a few feet away.

I realize cinnamon, cayenne pepper and coffee only cause them to move as well, but do not create toxins in my food. So far, Anything I have found that will kill them, I don't want to use around my edible plants.

I don't know if Diatomaceous Earth kills them or irritates them into moving.

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Post  AtlantaMarie Sat 19 Apr 2014 - 5:37

Sanderson, how much baby powder do you "poof?"  I take it that it works quite well...?  Is there anything that might be dangerous/unhealthy for the plants (knowing that it's safe for human babies)?
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Post  Windmere Sat 19 Apr 2014 - 9:51

brainchasm wrote:
NoobieGardener wrote:I had an ant problem around one of my beds this year. Chalk seemed to be the answer to my ant problem. When I was a kid my grandmother would give us chalk and ask us to "draw" on her raised beds. Apparently the ants will not cross over it.

Anyway, just a suggestion, it worked for me Very Happy
Your grandmother sounds like one smart cookie!  Chalk is basically just DE in another form...not surprised it would work similarly.
Noobie... I did not know about chalk being DE...  Thank you, thank you for that info.  My daughter has massive chalk stick for drawing on our driveway.
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Post  sanderson Sat 19 Apr 2014 - 11:26

Baby powder is a silicate so direct contact kills the ant in the same manner that DE does. They will avoid it. I hold the bottle sideways so I can poof out a very thin layer. You just don't want to breath it, even though it smells nice.
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Post  AtlantaMarie Sat 19 Apr 2014 - 11:36

Hhhhmmmm......  Thanks....   thinking
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Post  GardenGroupie Mon 2 Jun 2014 - 7:27

This is my first year attempting the SFG method. I have a few beds and set aside one 4x8 to experiment. I noticed little red ants building mounds. I live in Massachusetts, so I can't imagine they fire ants. They don't swarm, yet they do bite if I get in their way. I found a tip on another discussion that advised using mint leaves. I've been trying that, but they move. They don't seem to hurt seeds that are germinating and emerging, but I don't want to start digging around to see if they're herding aphids. How would I do that? I'm going to try the cinnamon fix and see what happens. Interesting enough, my tomato bed is connected and they haven't crossed over.
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Post  mollyhespra Mon 2 Jun 2014 - 9:32

I've actually found it beneficial to have ants in the garden...BECAUSE they will tell me where the aphids are.  It's much easier to follow a trail of ants than to find the aphids.  The ants go everywhere and into places that may be hard for me to reach/see.  If I find aphids then I deal with them but I let the ants be.

If by chance, the ants have decided to move their main nest into my boxes, then I gently encourage them to move by disrupting their nests either with a stick or with water.  I don't try to drown them, just let them think they've built their home in a floodplain.  Pretty soon, they go elsewhere.

Personally, I believe that aphids don't need ants to bring them to new feeding grounds.  They do that very well on their own.  In my experience, ants are my friends, the aphids are not.
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Post  GardenGroupie Mon 2 Jun 2014 - 10:26

Hi mollyhespra, thanks for your quick response and feedback. 


I agree, ants are our friends and I certainly don't want to kills them. I actually find it amazing to watch the little brown ants lift green worms and other stuff that doesn't belong and take them away.  My seeds in my 4x8 plot are just starting to germinate, so I'm not sure where the aphids would be at this point. I don't see the ants bring anything into their hills. Would aphids be present at this stage? Since in my short three years of veggie gardening, this is the first time I've seen so many hills. I'm concerned that they might be there because of a nutrient deficiency in the bed. And since I've seeded the entire bed, it's probably too late to amend the soil.


Thanks! 
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Post  mollyhespra Mon 2 Jun 2014 - 12:08

GardenGroupie wrote:Hi mollyhespra, thanks for your quick response and feedback. 


I agree, ants are our friends and I certainly don't want to kills them. I actually find it amazing to watch the little brown ants lift green worms and other stuff that doesn't belong and take them away.  My seeds in my 4x8 plot are just starting to germinate, so I'm not sure where the aphids would be at this point. I don't see the ants bring anything into their hills. Would aphids be present at this stage? Since in my short three years of veggie gardening, this is the first time I've seen so many hills. I'm concerned that they might be there because of a nutrient deficiency in the bed. And since I've seeded the entire bed, it's probably too late to amend the soil.


Thanks! 
My guess would be that the ants are there because the MM is nice and fluffy, and previously ant-free so there's no competition for home lots.  I don't think the presence of ant nests is indicative of a nutrient deficiency, but others may know differently.

As to aphids being present, just look closely at your sprouts.  You'll see if there's any bugs that don't belong.  Having ants is not a flag that you have aphids.  And if you do have aphids, at this point hand-squishing is probably your best bet since the seedlings must be very small, and any aphid presence is also, likewise, small.  You could also get some beneficial nematodes and sprinkle them on but that will likely also kill the ants.
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Post  kauairosina Mon 2 Jun 2014 - 12:43

82 degrees in New Hampshire? Am I reading that right?

Thanks Sanderson for the reminder about the baby powder.
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Post  mollyhespra Mon 2 Jun 2014 - 12:59

kauairosina wrote:82 degrees in New Hampshire? Am I reading that right?

Thanks Sanderson for the reminder about the baby powder.
LOL, actually it feels closer to 90 but the thermometer outside is reading 84.  But don't let that fool you.  My LFD isn't until June 7th, so we could, still, get a frost.  The temps can fluctuate wildly like that up here.

...and now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
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Post  kauairosina Mon 2 Jun 2014 - 13:05

I learn so much more than gardening on this site.   I had no idea you NE folks got temps like that this time of year.  We are a cool 74 at the moment.
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Post  cpl100 Mon 2 Jun 2014 - 21:40

kauairosina wrote:I learn so much more than gardening on this site.   I had no idea you NE folks got temps like that this time of year.  We are a cool 74 at the moment.
The common comment about the weather in New England is:  If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.

In my lifetime I have seen snow in May and October.  I have seen temperatures in the 80's on a January day and everything in between.
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