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Ants In The Bed

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Donna Rawlins
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Post  mramsey 11/6/2011, 2:04 am

Hello all, newbie here from GA.

I am just getting my first SFG up and running. I am planning on trying my hand with carrots, lettuce and radishes. I had been wondering about ants and other unwanted homesteaders that might invade my beds.

Along with the netting i was thinking about, thanks for the vail idea sounds great, i was going to spread bug killer around the outside of the raised beds. I am thinking that no matter what i use it will not get into the food. Nothing but net to handle the flying visiters but if it crawles i figure i got'um stopped.

I found this on the web along with other tips for keeping bugs out of your beds. Before you plant give it a try.

Pepper Spray

This works great for ants and other small pests.


  • Boil 2 or 3 cups of water.
  • Add about ½ to 2/3 cup of chopped hot pepper. Let marinate for a few minutes.
  • Run the mixture thru a sieve to remove the peppers.
  • Put the liquid in a squirt bottle and use when necessary.
  • Be careful not to spray directly on foliage.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 11/6/2011, 11:34 am

Ants in the garden aren't a bad thing. There are plenty of pests we don't want, but ants are welcome in mine. The more "life" I have in my garden, the closer it becomes to a balanced ecosystem.
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Post  southern gardener 11/6/2011, 11:58 am

Thank you for the recipe. Ants in my garden = aphids! they "farm" aphids. I'm hoping that my cabbage family plants make it this time. We've had to throw out most of our cabbage family plants due to aphid infestation. We tried organic measures, soap spray etc, it wasn't enough. So frustrating!!
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Post  sherryeo 11/6/2011, 12:26 pm

I'm growing cabbage family plants for the first time this fall. I've covered them with extra light insect row cover. So far, so good! I haven't had a single problem with bugs.

I do miss getting to see my plants easier, without having to pull the row cover up to peek under, but if I'm able to harvest what I plant, instead of losing my harvest to bugs, it's worth it to me! And just the fact that I don't have bugs crawling on my food is great, too.

I don't know that the covers would keep ants out, but I haven't had a problem so far. I think if the aphids are kept out, the ants won't want to get in the beds so badly. BBG, I don't know that you guys have fire ants, do you? Believe me, you wouldn't want fire ants in your sfgs. Their bites are extremely painful!!!
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Post  southern gardener 11/6/2011, 12:56 pm

here's a part of an article on what the ants/aphids do. It seems like the ants bring the aphids IN to the garden. Mad Mad
Aphid-herding ants make sure their "cattle" stay well-fed and safe. When the host plant is depleted of nutrients, the ants carry their aphids to a new food source. If predatory insects or parasites attempt to harm their wards, the ants will defend them aggressively. Some honey ants even go so far as to destroy the eggs of known aphid predators like lady beetles.

Some species of honey ants continue to care for their aphids during winter. The ants carry the aphid eggs home, and tuck them away in their nests for the winter months. They store the precious aphids where temperatures and humidity are optimal, and move them as needed when conditions in the nest change. In spring, when the aphids hatch, the ants carry them to a host plant to feed.

While it appears the ants are generous caretakers of their aphid charges, they've really got their own interests in mind. Aphids are almost always wingless, but certain environmental conditions will trigger them to develop wings. If the aphid population becomes too dense, or food sources decline, the winged aphids can fly to a new location. Not wanting to lose their food source, honey ants may prevent aphids from dispersing. affraid affraid
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Post  PNG_Grandma 11/6/2011, 1:39 pm

southern gardener wrote:Ants in my garden = aphids! they "farm" aphids. So frustrating!!
I totally agree, southern gardener! We had some beautiful watermelon plants growing, lots of little watermelon babies ... and then the ants moved in with their aphids! One day there were no aphids, next day tons of ants and aphids! The plants died, so did the not fully grown melons. VERY frustrating! Ants In The Bed 950477
We're on the lookout for ants now and will get rid of them as soon as we see any...last year they destroyed our cabbage too...we just didn't realize how destructive the ant/aphid combination could be!
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Post  southern gardener 11/6/2011, 2:32 pm

I know PNG_Grandma!! I didn't know how the whole thing worked either! I was focusing on the aphids, and losing the battle big time. Evil or Very Mad They were all over our corn too, the silk was black with them! ewwwwwwwwww. I did some research and found out how their little eco-system worked. I went out and looked closer at them, and sure enough, that's what was going on! When we got the ants under control, the aphid problem was much less. We still had some, but not near the amount as before. I'm really going to try and keep the ants out this year Twisted Evil , and see if we have better results. If not, not even going to bother with cabbage family crops... Sad
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Post  PNG_Grandma 11/6/2011, 3:30 pm

We had corn in our backyard last year with the same ant/aphid problem. We had been spraying for other insects...we weren't completely into being as organic as possible yet...and we had unknowingly killed off the food for our healthy population of little lizards!! This year, very few ants in the back yard, and other than the ants in the watermelon box, we didn't see many ants in the Apollo Garden. We DID see a lot of little lizards that would run out of the boxes when anyone started watering. Some of the gardeners were squeamish about the lizards, but the rest of us welcome the little guys! With them making a home in our garden boxes, or just stopping by for lunch and dinner every day...the ants are under control, and so are the aphids...we hope!
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Post  mramsey 11/7/2011, 12:33 am

Sherryeo, Yea we have Fire ants. affraid I try to keep a head of them with fire ant killer but sometimes you miss them. Was cleaning out in front of the house to plant some new items and ran up on a nest! Mad Grabbed the SevenDust and did major damage to them. The next day i was off to the local "HD" for fire ant killer. Spread that in the yard front and back.
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Post  CaptainKidney 11/7/2011, 8:17 am

I live in an area where we have problems with fire ants. I used a product called "Over and Out". One application to the whole yard and I didn't have any fire ants for two years. Sounds like you could use some of that.

Mike
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 11/7/2011, 9:27 am

Fire ants are a whole different ballgame. I didn't mention them because they aren't an issue up here....yet.
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Post  mramsey 11/7/2011, 10:37 am

Thanks i will be on the look out. I use Andros. It kills some and pushes the rest to the neighbors lawn. That is what we do here in GA, we share lol!



Mike
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 11/7/2011, 9:27 pm

"Lookin' like a fool with those ants on the ground!"
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Post  PNG_Grandma 11/7/2011, 10:28 pm

You can't just say those words...ya gotta do the dance too!! rock on
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 11/7/2011, 11:05 pm

LMAO....after posting that I wasn't sure if anybody would get the joke. Ants In The Bed 656620
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Post  sherryeo 11/7/2011, 11:23 pm

Maybe this will enlighten those who don't have a clue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMwhl4IrPNc
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Post  PNG_Grandma 11/8/2011, 12:04 am

Maybe just the two of us got the joke! Everyone else is VERY quiet! I LOVE that song!!! Now it's stuck in my head for the rest of the night...and every time I see this little guy from now on I'll think of those darned ants, lookin' like fools on the floor!!!
rock on rock on rock on
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Post  boffer 11/8/2011, 12:08 am

I don't have audio on this computer.

Is it the 'Ants In My Pants' dance? yahoo
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 11/8/2011, 6:34 am

It's a song called "Pants on the Ground"

Hey Boffer, you just reminded me of a game I had as a kid called "Ants in the Pants" Ants In The Bed 262465 Ants In The Bed 262465 Ants In The Bed 262465
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Post  HillbillyBob 1/6/2012, 9:48 pm

try getting a toad or two they eat 10,000 bugs each per year I have a couple that stay in my garden as long as I'm watering Very Happy Very Happy
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Post  middlemamma 1/6/2012, 10:30 pm

A very wonderful way to get ants out of your bed if you don't want them there is to plant sunflowers near your SFG somewhere. The ant herd the aphids up the stalk and stay away from everything else.

Ask me how I know. Rolling Eyes

My first year I planted 2 sunflowers in every bed. 2nd year I made a sunflower fence. No ants in the beds. Smile
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Post  PNG_Grandma 1/6/2012, 11:34 pm

Sunflowers! What a great idea!! The birds loved our sunflowers this year...we had flocks of the tiny little guys on the flowers. They'd hold on and lean upside down to get the seeds...the bigger birds had to either get what fell or risk leaning too far and have to leave in a flurry! Ahhhh...back to the ants...I'd say this is a great, and beautiful way to solve the problem. I'm gonna try it this year, thanks middlemamma!!
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Post  newstart 1/7/2012, 10:09 am

I am worried about this, we have fire ants sometimes really bad. so bad that the kids do not play outside. But funny thing we i planted our small tomatoes plants and okra planted I started to see less of the fire ants and more of the garden ants. really strange for the most part did not have a problem with them.

they wanted to come in the house i put a layer of baby powder where I did not want them. It stopped them from coming in the house or into a area I did not want them in. ALso I did not have to worry about the kids getting into the posion of a spray or something else.
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Post  HillbillyBob 1/7/2012, 11:06 am

it was so dry last year most of the fire ants moved on Shocked Shocked Shocked I treated the lots a couple years ago with a product called tell-star or north star?? one treatment,it's s:shock: Shocked spread like grass seeds,looks like sand then after a rain or even heavy dew no more ants or any bugs for that matter,Wink Wink so we had a few ants in the beans I moved two toads to a spot under one of my boards I put between my rows(so my wheelchair doesn't sink in)Rolling Eyes no more problem;)
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Post  Wag 1/28/2012, 8:58 pm

An idea I have gotten from a raising fishing worms forum about ANT problem in worm beds ---- was to keep the soil a little wetter than normal (ANTS don't like to wet of an area) until they are gone. Then go back to normal watering schedule. This has worked for me in my SFG in the past. Now granted I had ant problems but I didn't consider it major but the heavy watering got rid of the ANTS or made them move on.
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