jesse624
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Ants in the compost bin

I've recently found a very large nest of fire ants taking up residense in my compost bin. Does anyone have a tried and proven method of getting rid of them without doing harm to the worms and other buggy creatures that promote the composting process of the composter? Any advice would be appreciated as I'm wanting to remove some of the composted matter within a few weeks. Will ant poison bait do harm to the compost eco? Thanks for any input.

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hendi_alex
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Most bug poisons would not hurt earthworms, but I wouldn't want to put poison in my compost. One of the best ways to get the fire ants is to pour a pot of scalding water on the center of the bed. That will likely also take out some earthworms, but probably not as many as the fire ants will eventually kill if not eliminated. A low impact method that I found out about here at the forum is cinnamon. Sprinkle it all over the mound and the ants will likely leave.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

toxcrusadr
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Ouch, fire ants bad.

I agree with the boiling water approach. The survivors will begin to rebuild, so wait a couple of days, find out where they've concentrated their rebuilding efforts, and hit them again. Repeated bombardments should eventually decimate the colony.
Tox

Jinxed1
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ants

Hot water or marigolds (calendula oil).

rot
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Maybe some uncles

..
Gumbo in New Orleans got termites in his (her?) pile. He used a big cooking pot of boiling water. I think he had successfully chased off some ants there previously which is unfortunate since ants hate termites and visa versa.

Fire ants however means you can't even turn your pile to chase them off as I have chased off ants (I think they were Argentine ants).

A couple of doses of really hot water ought to do the trick. Like tox indicated, I'd expect to have to do it a couple of times. The compost will absorb the heat pretty rapidly just like I use a tea kettle to kill off the dandelion tap root without harming the nearby surrounding grass.

If you use large pots of boiling water, please be careful. A large pot of boiling water can be harmful to your health.

to sense
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gumbo2176
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Re: Maybe some uncles

rot wrote:..
Gumbo in New Orleans got termites in his (her?) pile. He used a big cooking pot of boiling water. I think he had successfully chased off some ants there previously which is unfortunate since ants hate termites and visa versa...

Gumbo is a he. If I were a she, I'd likely be Gumbette. :P :P

And yes, I did manage to rid my pile of ants first, then termites second with my 80 qt. pot of boiling water. And I thought those things were only good for boiling crawfish, crabs and shrimp. :o :o

rot
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too hot to handle

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80 qts of boiling water is more than I want to handle. With or without crawfish, shrimp or crab.

If I remember correctly, you had some kind of rig or something to do it.
..

toxcrusadr
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20 gal is a lot of boiling water. What do they say down there - Ayeee!!
Tox

gumbo2176
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toxcrusadr wrote:20 gal is a lot of boiling water. What do they say down there - Ayeee!!
Well, when you are boiling a 40 lb. sack of crawfish or a hamper of crabs, you only fill the pot halfway with water, add your seasonings and other vegetables for the boil, then add the seafood. For termites and fire ants, 20 gallons is a good start.

And yes, A-EEEE is the call of the locals. Kinda like Minnie Pearl and "Howdy". :lol: :lol:

gumbo2176
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Re: too hot to handle

rot wrote:..
80 qts of boiling water is more than I want to handle. With or without crawfish, shrimp or crab.

If I remember correctly, you had some kind of rig or something to do it.
..
My seafood boiling pot holds 80 qts. Fitting inside that pot is a very large and heavy duty strainer. The pot sits atop a heavily built steel burner that elevates the pot about 1 ft. off the ground and supplies the flame via propane fuel to get 10 gallons of water to a rolling boil in about 10 minutes. The seasonings, vegetables and seafood are dumped into the strainer while it is boiling and once they are done, you simply remove the strainer with all the contents inside to transport to the pigs at the table waiting to devour all that hard work in record time.

Our annual family crawfish boil the Saturday before Easter usually finds me boiling between 250-300 lbs. of crawfish.

barnhardt9999
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Mix 70/30 powdered sugar and borax. Add enough water to keep it moist (you can add more later if it drys out). Place in a small dish a few feet from the colony and/or compost. Borax is non-toxic. The particals are very small and sharp and it will kill the ants as it passes through their digestive system. They also bring it home to the queen so you don't play whack-a-mole like you would with boiling water.

The most common brand is 20 mule team borax. You can get a 5 pound box at Wal Mart for less than $5.

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