sarahq03
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Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

Hello,

I'm new to this forum. This evening I found an ant hill/trail running the length of my mixed succulent container. How to I eliminate the ant hill without killing the ants and my succulents? Is there a non-chemical solution to this problem?

Thank you so much for your help & advice!
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applestar
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

Wait, you DON'T want to kill the ANTS? I don't think you can have it both ways.

If you want the ant hill/colony to be gone, the ants will most likely have to die. For that, I suppose I would use some boric acid bait.

They are not the biting kind that you need them eliminated? Do you just want the mounded ant hill to be gone because of appearance? Are you concerned that the ants might expose too much of the succulents roots to air?

If you just need the ants to NOT mound up at the base of the plants, I'm thinking you might just water down the mounds. The ants might find it too uncomfortable and move the entrance away. Doing this will also settle the soil back around the roots. I don't think you would need to use so much water that you would drown the succulents.
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catgrass
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

If that is Fire ants, I'd definitely want to kill them. Where are you located?
zone 9 Southwest La.

sarahq03
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

Thank you both for your responses.
I want the ants gone bc I'm worried about the overall health of the succulents, the root exposure, the mound getting to large and interfering with growth. So, yes Applestar I do want them dead. I didn't even think about root exposure until you mentioned it. If pouring water on the mound doesn't work, what can I put on the mound that will kill the ants but won't harm the plants?
Catgrass I'm located in San Antonio, TX. I don't think the ants are fire ants, they're pretty small.

catgrass
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

If you have messed with the container at all and red ants haven't come swarming out and bit you, they're not fire ants. IF they are fire ants, use a bait like Amdro lightly in your pot and around the bottom. I don't know if amdro works on other ants, but I would think that it would.
zone 9 Southwest La.

Mr green
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

Succulents usually handle moist soil alot better than most cacti, increasing on watering or organic matter in the soil to make it more moist may have the ants move out, since they don't want to live in too wet conditions.
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imafan26
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

Boric acid probably is not good for the plants in the container. Boron is a trace element, but can be toxic in quantity. I would use outdoor terro ant bait. The bait stays in the container so it should not harm your plants.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

I have ants all over the place. Mostly sugar ants. I can't imagine my life without them. They are persistent and hard to get rid of. I don't know what I would do in your situation. If you are nice to them, they will stick around. They love warm and moist conditions. I found a nest full of ant eggs under my gas stove. The spot was warm and moist. I don't like killing anything, including ants. But I think you have to kill them to get rid of them. I haven't had any lick with the ant products at the hardware store. They don't seem to work, at least not for me.
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ButterflyLady29
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

Can you dump the container then refill and replant? That's the easiest way to get rid of the ants.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

That's what I was thinking. But the planter looks to be big and heavy. Evenso, new dirt might be the best way to get rid of the ants.
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Mr green
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

Yes and use a different soild blend/mixture than the one you have now, or is likely they move in again.
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sarahq03
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

I re-potted everything in that particular container but that just made everything die. What kind of soil blend/mixture should I be using?
I'm still having a real issue with the ants invaded the drainage holes of all my succulent & cactus containers. It's been raining all week and there are ant piles beginning to form underneath all the containers. I've moved the containers around but the ants just follow. I've tried setting some of the containers on surfaces that are not completely solid and that seems to help a little. But these determined little ants will still make the climb, it's ridiculous. I have nosey bulldogs who stick there snout in everything so I won't be able to use ant bait until the weather clears up. They definitely like moist & warm spots.

imafan26
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

You should identify your ants first. Some ants are sweet others are grease eating ants. If you are not sure use a grease ant bait as it usually also contains some sugar. If you have fire ants they need a grease bait. Sugar baits will not work.

https://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources ... 003-97.pdf

How to Make and Use Homemade Ant Bait

Sugar Ant Bait Recipe

Mix 2 tablespoons of mint jelly with about ¼ teaspoon of boric acid powder. Research suggests that mint jelly is the best sugar ant lure, but you can also try another jelly flavor if you don't have mint jelly in your fridge already.

Grease Ant Bait Recipe

Mix 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of honey, and about ½ teaspoon of boric acid powder. Protein-loving ants respond best to a bait made of both protein and sugar.

Using the Ant Bait

Caution: Keep children and pets away from the ant bait mixture. Although boric acid is considered to have low toxicity, you don't want your dog or cat licking up the bait, nor should you allow children to come in contact with it. It's always better to be safe! Store the boric acid and any extra bait mixture where children and pets cannot access it.

Place your ant bait in an area where you see ants the most. You want the bait to be somewhere along their regular travel path. Use masking tape to secure a square of waxed paper or cardboard, and place the ant bait mixture on it. If you chose a good location and prepared the right kind of bait, you'll probably find ants swarming around the bait within a few hours. If you don't, try moving the bait to a different location.

You will need to replace the bait regularly with a fresh batch, as the ants won't be interested in jelly or peanut butter once it dries up. Continue putting out bait until you no longer see ants.
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applestar
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

I don't like this method too much because it will trap everything, not just ants, but....

If you are able to put the containers on top of a riser or a pedestal, you might be able to use tanglefoot that other members are discussing for using against svb.

To save yourself from a sticky mess. Use it as it was originally intended for catching climbing pests on tree trunk -- put some removable tape around the object, then coat with tanglefoot. You will want to keep your pups away.

I believe tanglefoot can be cleaned off with orange oil solvent if necessary.

I remember a member posting about using a double-sided tape on his containers to trap aphids. Not sure if that would be sufficiently sticky for trapping ants.

Ants might also be excluded by placing your containers on a riser in a shallow tray or tub filled with water -- a moat.
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enigmaticcurses1977
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

sarahq03 wrote:Hello,

I'm new to this forum. This evening I found an ant hill/trail running the length of my mixed succulent container. How to I eliminate the ant hill without killing the ants and my succulents? Is there a non-chemical solution to this problem?

Thank you so much for your help & advice!
leave em! they will kill any bugs. they don't like to eat plants anyway :)

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help! Ant hill running through succulent container.

I agree that the ants are harmless to your plants. But if you don't want them invading your containers, when you dump the soil out, put fine mesh screen or some layers of cheesecloth over the drain holes and the then fill with fresh potting mix.
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