turtleguy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:48 pm
Location: Mississippi zone 7a

Ants in my pots!!!

Hi everyone. I have a Blood Banana in a large clay pot that I will have to move inside this winter. I've discovered that there are ants building there home in the soil. It normally wouldn't be a problem, but since I have to bring this plant in the house, I don't want to be invaded by the ants as well. I tried putting cayenne pepper in the pot to hopefully make them move on to somewhere else. Too early to tell. Any other suggestions other than poison?

femlow
Senior Member
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:37 am
Location: 5a - Maine

I'm not sure what the root system is like on a blood banana, but you should be able to replace the soil. Take the plant out of the pot, carefully loosen the dirt and take off as much as you can (you may even be able to rinse the roots to get the dirt off), wash out the pot with water, and carefully put it in new, ant free soil. Depending ont he size of the pot, its kind of hard to do sometimes, so you might need to get someone to help you if you can. I have this problem with the pots on my deck pretty often (though its not always ants setting up home) and changing the dirt normally seems to help. The plants like it too.

fem

Scented Nectar
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:08 pm
Location: Toronto

As long as you kill or remove the queen ant, you should have no problem. A few years back, I ordered some live plants and one arrived with an ant colony. Even though it wasn't organic, I poured a soil insecticide into it, and later after the ants were dead, I watered the plant with lots of clean water to rinse out the poison. If changing the soil, you have to make sure the queen is removed too, and then leave that soil outside. The ants will go there and try to repair their nest wherever the queen is.

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Turtleguy,

From this site that might help you to id your ants so you know what bait to use:
https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2064.html
Depending on the kinds of ants, certain commercial baits can be ingested by workers, taken back to the nest for consumption or regurgitated to feed and kill others in the colony. Commercial bait syrups such as borax (Terro) will kill ants that feed on sweets. Toxic fast-acting baits kill foraging workers quickly, but are less effective as those that are slow-acting, which are taken back to the nest for consumption. Place baits directly on the ant trails away from children and pets. Other baits include boric acid plus mint apple jelly (Drax), hydramethylnon (Maxforce), methroprene (Pharorid), bendiocarb (Ficam), propoxur (Baygon) and sulfluramid (Pro-Control).
I prefer the boric acid type of bait as it's less toxic to the environment.

Newt

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Cinnamon seems to be the consensus treatment for Ants. I'm going to warn against using any commercial pesticides as Ants are a necessary part of functioning ecosystems and most ant species are beneficial to plants, eating or just killing any pests.

Anyway, cinnamon powder seems to do the trick.

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Op, I do remember reading that somewhere. Good idea.

Newt

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Yes, this method was suggested by one of our esteemed members several months ago.

turtleguy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:48 pm
Location: Mississippi zone 7a

cinnamon worked!!!

Hello everyone, and thank you for all the info! I tried taking the mulch out of the pot and spreading cinnamon powder on the soil surface. I watered it in and it seemed to get rid of the ants (smells good too). Thank you all again for the helpful information. Happy Gardening!!!

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I'm glad that everything worked out for you! This gardening community works great, doesn't it!?!

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