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Ants in my Plants... Bugs in my Beds?

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Post  Shoda on 4/12/2010, 5:11 pm

In our area we have hard clay soil. Last year in my row veg garden, I softened the soil by double digging and adding amendments. I had to move a few herbs remaining in the area so I can install my SFG beds. The entire root systems of my herbs were covered in ants and ant eggs. I suspect the ants are enjoying the softer soil I worked so hard on.

The plants themselves seemed OK but won't these same ants move into my SFG beds? Aren't I doomed for "bed bugs"? I know that ants sometimes co-exist with aphids but I have not seen any of those. Will the ants harm my SFG? Ants in my Plants... Bugs in my Beds? Icon_question

Thanks.

-- Lisa
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Post  tash on 4/13/2010, 1:42 am

I don't know. But I would like to know how to get ants to move out. I have some in my front yard and they do farm aphids on my roses! and when the aphids aren't enough they come inside where my kids feed them! (my oldest is four).
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Post  plb on 4/13/2010, 7:25 am

I had a problem with ants last year, starting on the patio and then they started coming into the kitchen through some tiny gaps in the patio doors... What worked for me was ants bait. It's a small box containing some substance that ants find very attractive; they pick it up, carry it to their nest, and end up poisoning the whole nest. I got rid of them in a couple of days.
One caveat: the first one I tried didn't work at all; the second one, Ant Stop, was extremely effective (not sure if it's available in the US).
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Post  new2this on 4/13/2010, 7:51 am

Lisa - I have the same concern. My beds are located close to an ant farm/colony/community (what is it called, and does it matter) anyway....those little guys are up and over and in and out of my beds trying to get home. No veggies yet, but I hope that those guys don't bother my produce!
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Post  tash on 4/13/2010, 8:55 am

I tried ant bait. didn't phase them. I also tried all the natural remedies I could find (bay leaf, clove oil, cleaning everything with vinegar every single day). The clove oil worked for me before. But this time nothing. They found their way into my dishwasher. It was horrible. I finally broke down and called maintenance (I rent but I can garden) and they sprayed Phantom. It works. But I do not like it being around my house since it is a dna modifier. But it does work insanely well. At least for a season.

I think the biggest problem in the garden (and I could be wrong) is that they encourage and protect aphids. I have even heard of them moving aphids from one plant to another.
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Post  Shoda on 4/13/2010, 9:12 am

Yesterday I asked at the nursery. The guy there said that the ants can section off an area of a garden so that the water runs away from it and it stays dry so they can have a nice dry nest. This would be an issue because any plants near the nest would not get enough water.

I also read that the ants don't like peppermint but mine don't seem to care as they have a nest built in a planter box with peppermint established. The plants didn't do too well last year so maybe the watering was an issue.

Since aphids are not currently an issue for me, I wonder if they are actually helping out by eating termites (as I have heard the two do not co-exist very well). Any truth to ants eating termites?

Since I am not looking to start an ant colony, I want a way to stop them before they move into the SFG beds I am putting up. Anyone try diluted soap water on the ants? I am trying to stay as organic as I can.

-- Lisa
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Post  Toastie on 4/14/2010, 9:29 pm

I just noticed the same thing in my garden. Saw the ants walking down the rail of the box. I put some 7-Dust around the area and around any plants and hopefully that will get id of them. I really need to spray my yard soon, I am hoping they do not get into my compose heap
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Post  Little Thumb on 4/15/2010, 3:32 pm

I hear ants don't like coffee grounds but alot of plants love them.
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Post  nancy on 4/15/2010, 3:56 pm

I noticed ants on my peony buds last night, which to me means the peonies are getting ready to bloom. Yea! (Not for the ants, for the flowers Ants in my Plants... Bugs in my Beds? Icon_smile )
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Post  Bayou Life on 4/15/2010, 11:00 pm

I had this problem last season with a regular raised bed, with both fire ants (which were herding the aphids), and sugar ants (which were attacking the blossoms on my curcurbits) . I tried everything my elders told me. Grits, rice, poison granules outside of the box, sevin dust. I even tried lacing some sugar water with borax. Nothing worked. Soon it just became a hassle. If I would try a treatment on this side of the box, they would just move to that side. After an investigation, pulling all the materials out of my box, I realized that the fire ants clung to the topsoil that I had at the bottom. The compost layer was only used to climb to ground level. I still haven't figured out where the sugar ants came from.

When I went to the nursery to buy the vermiculite needed for my sfg, I spoke with the proprietor about that problem, for future infestations. He told me that of all his customers that SFG, none, as of then, had reported problems with burrowing insect infestations, ants, cutworms, etc. He suspects that it is because of the moisture content and consistency of the soil upsets them enough not to try to nest in it. It seems that I'm going to test that theory.

He did tell me that a single (fire) ant mound can cover an extensive area in ones yard, so I did buy some granules this year and spread it around the whole yard before this gardening season. Well today I had my first bout with aphids, and still no sight of ants. Hopefully I have it pegged down. We'll see.

Then I'll just need a cure for those sugar ants.
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Post  Shoda on 4/16/2010, 12:56 pm

I guess I should be grateful we don't have fire ants here.

At least you had some hopeful news -- that the ants may not like the Mels as well as the native soil.

-- Lisa
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Post  Bayou Life on 4/18/2010, 2:02 pm

Well, I should have known, as soon as I boast about not seeing any ants, they arrive. They waited until I mulched to dig in. I followed a trail of new mounds right up to my first box. So far it's only one, and they apparently are just deciding to create a home there. I just treated my yard again and hopefully it nips it in the bud.

I did see a product at Lowe's earlier that is supposed to create a barrier to keep sugar ants out, I may give that a shot when they start to show.
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Post  Toastie on 4/18/2010, 9:57 pm

I am hoping that stuff I put down from HD works. It was suppose to kill 100 different bugs with ants included
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Post  Ole Joe Clark on 4/18/2010, 10:16 pm

Try Amdro for fire ants, Lowes, WalMart and Sam's Club carries it.
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Post  Toastie on 4/19/2010, 10:14 pm

How do you apply it, I am seeing the buggers run along the top of the wood I am using
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Post  Paydirt on 4/21/2010, 10:01 pm

I strongly discourage using any of the affore mentioned products (sevin, amdro, etc.). If you are wanting to keep your garden organic, try diatomaceous earth or another product called Come and Get It. The first is purely natural and the second is approved for organic use. I've had success with both. Come and Get it is especially effective on fire ants. I had a HUGE colony in my compost pile. I applied Come & Get It twice 2 weeks apart, and it was like they were never there.

http://www.fertilome.com/ProductFiles/Come%20and%20Get%20it!%20Fire%20Ant%20Killer%2010300.pdf
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Post  Ole Joe Clark on 4/22/2010, 7:56 am

Just follow the instructions on the container. I keep Amdro handy by the back door so I can use it when the mounds are small. I sprinkle it on the top of the mound, the fire ants are very agressive and will swarm to see what's going on. They will carry it inside the nest and feed the queen, end of nest.
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Post  Paydirt on 4/22/2010, 9:13 am

Check out my blog to see some info on the dangers of pesticides. lawnsbydaniel.blogspot.com
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Post  Marisa on 4/23/2010, 11:06 pm

I just found this on the web....cut and pasted
First, walk the lawn or area where you are having an ant problem and flag every ant dirt mound that are found using either flags, paint or sticks. Last, Pour generous portion of instant grits around each ant dirt mound and do not disturb the area. It is that simple.

Do not dampen or wet the instant grits before or after the application. Use this technique only on clear sunny days, because it is very important to keep the instant grits dry before and after use or application.

Ant Expansion
The ants die from the inside out, because the grit when eaten mixes with the ant’s digestive juices and expands inside the ant’s stomach that eventually kills the ant.

Warning:
Do not feed to ducks, because it can cause death. Ducks and geese are unable to let gas (fart) and during the swelling of the grit gases are produced inside the stomach, which ducks and geese are unable to release the gases and can die instead.



Read more: http://gomestic.com/do-it-yourself/diy-amazing-non-toxic-organic-ant-killer/#ixzz0lz1QPC7X
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Post  Shoda on 4/23/2010, 11:22 pm

When I started this topic, I was worried about the number of ants in the area of my new SFG. Today I was working filling one of the garden beds and was overcome with a mating swarm of TERMITES that were coming from the area of the ant infestation.

So I looked around the internet and discovered that the most constant and widespread enemy of termites is ants. Looks like the ants have been primarily feeding on a colony of termites. So, needless to say I am going to let nature deal with the balance of insects for a while and I am going to leave the ants alone until they bother my vegetables.

And for those of you who have not had the pleasure of standing in a swarm of mating termites, well what can I say -- you are really missing something!
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Ants in my Plants... Bugs in my Beds? Empty Shoda, thanks for mentioning the termites

Post  Marisa on 4/24/2010, 10:25 pm

After I read your post it made me start thinking. Since I am gardening in half wine barrels, wood, maybe there were termites and thats why I have ants in them.... Thanks for the info, I will look further into it.
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Post  Toastie on 4/24/2010, 11:52 pm

Just hope your house has had its termite spraying
I think I know where mine are coming from, I just can not kill that nest. I tried several different poisons, they are in a big concrete fence post piling and I am not sure if the poisons are making it deep enough
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Post  nancy on 4/25/2010, 8:14 am

Shoda - we had swarming termites at work a week ago. Very interesting to watch them! And the Robins had a feast! Keep us posted on how it all works.
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Post  Shoda on 4/25/2010, 10:57 am

Toastie - In our area of California the houses are frequently inspected for termites. We have had them in the past and had to circle the house with plugs of termite killer. However, we haven't had an inspection for about 4 years so it may be time again.

When our house was treated the termite company said that the average lot in our area had 5-6 termite colonies on it. In general, we are just happy if they take up residence away from the edge of our houses.

It was interesting to watch the swarm because in addition to thousands of termites breaking free from the ground and flying off, there were an almost equal number of ants in the area. I didn't notice any direct fighting but I suspect the ants were having lunch.
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Post  Toastie on 4/26/2010, 10:30 pm

Is there any good stuff to use when you do not know where the mound is. I am hoping it is not in the compose heap
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