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I Hate Ants!

Sure I realise that they play a key role around the place and what not but when I spend a week painstakingly clearing my ‘patch’ of aphids only to find a line of ants crawling up three stories of wall all carrying aphids to re-stock it a week later it really $%#@ me right the &%@# off. What’s really annoying is there’s not a thing I can do about it……… :evil:

Do we have a "Garden Gripes" Thread?
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Is there ivy touching the sides of your building? How about overhanging trees? Those are the usual pathways for ants to travel from building to building. Leaves and debris can also provide inviting pathways for ants to travel.

It's difficult to eradicate when the ants are coming from someone else's property. This was happening in our building. But we convinced the next door neighbor to allow our gardener to whack his ivy that was crawling up the side of our building, and took other related steps wrt overhanging trees. I then sprayed a half a dozen bottles of a citrus based organic anti-pest spray directly on the anthills around our property and along walls. They tried to stage a comeback a few months after I declared WW III on them but I came down hard on them and whacked a couple new anthills out in the front of the building. I was persistent and it took awhile of watching for ants and dealing out punishment. Eventually the ant problem went away. It's been about two or three years now that our building has been ant-free.

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webmaster wrote:Is there ivy touching the sides of your building? How about overhanging trees? Those are the usual pathways for ants to travel from building to building. Leaves and debris can also provide inviting pathways for ants to travel.
No they just climb straight up the wall from their homes which I assume are somewhere in the large gardens that surround the bottom of the building……

[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a360/SamhainP8/Wall.jpg[/img]

The only thing I can think of doing is to spray a barrier of surface spray insecticide around all the edges of my balcony but this would get washed away quickly with rain and might kill a bunch of the good guys.
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ant control

All kinds of things will act as a barrier to ants:

One category is powdery things that clog up their spiracles (breathing pores), if they try to walk over them. This includes chalk line, baby powder, cleanser powder (like comet), bone meal. Make a ring of powder around what you want to keep them away from and they won't cross it. Vaseline (petroleum jelly) also works as long as it's not cold enough to harden it up so they can walk over it.

Another category is strong smelling things, including vinegar, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, peppermint oil or other mints, cloves, garlic. Sprinkle your strong smelling stuff on and around what you want to protect from the ants. (Be careful with the vinegar, don't put it on your plants, it can burn or even kill them, if directly on the plant)

Then there are ways to kill the ants if you are feeling more aggressive (they defintely don't like that): pouring boiling water down into the ant hill, diatomaceous earth around what you are protecting, boric acid powder, and theoretically, put a dish of raw cream of wheat out. Supposedly they eat it and it swells up inside them and they explode. For all I know this this one is an old wives tale, but it might be interesting to try... exploding ants!

None of these is particularly harmful to the environment.

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Re: ant control

rainbowgardener wrote:Vaseline (petroleum jelly) also works as long as it's not cold enough to harden it up so they can walk over it.
This is something I could work with by putting a layer around the edge of my containers. It sounds frightfully messy but I'll give it a go thanks.
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Oh! If you're going to try that, put a wide tape - like duct tape or shipping tape down first. Then you can just peel the tape off and dispose of it.

Be aware though, that if it's hot, then the grease will melt and drip down the side of whatever you put it on, losing the nice globby, ant-barrier/trap effect, though it may still remain too slippery for the little ant feet to climb. If it's out in the open, the thinner layer can get washed away by rain.

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applestar wrote:Oh! If you're going to try that, put a wide tape - like duct tape or shipping tape down first. Then you can just peel the tape off and dispose of it.

Be aware though, that if it's hot, then the grease will melt and drip down the side of whatever you put it on, losing the nice globby, ant-barrier/trap effect, though it may still remain too slippery for the little ant feet to climb. If it's out in the open, the thinner layer can get washed away by rain.
Thanks for the follow up. I guess our average temperature here on the Gold Coast of 25oC / 77oF could create a big greasy problem then.

I like the tape idea though, I might just try some double sided tape.
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The double-sided-tape is working a real treat! I haven't seen any ants caught up as of yet but HEAPS of aphids have met their doom on it :D

[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a360/SamhainP8/Aphids.jpg[/img]
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SP8, the cinnamon worked wonders for me...

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Woohoo, a Helpful Gardener member only a three hour flight away! G'Day. As I was reading the thread I was going to suggest planting some Tansy, but you seem to have the little bar-stewards nailed :D

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Rob_NZ wrote:Woohoo, a Helpful Gardener member only a three hour flight away! G'Day. As I was reading the thread I was going to suggest planting some Tansy, but you seem to have the little bar-stewards nailed :D
G-day little brother!

"Bar-Stewards" :?: :lol:

I like it!

p.s. I'll look into the Tansy.
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I have decided that I apparently built in the middle of an ant hill.
We have battled the monsters for all these years, and the nothing changes, we have tried... everything... the ants are gone a few days and back.

How bad are the ants here? I have a meter loop on a telephone pole, just a round glass thing, inside a metal box... and the ants set up housekeeping inside the meter loop. We had to take the meter loop down and clean ants to move it to another pole. The ants had nothing to do with the need to move it, but they sure made moving it more annoying.
What was so interesting to the ants, no food, no plants, no decaying matter it was glass and metal. Hot in summer, cold in winter... why, why, why?

I have also heard that ants won't cross lines of white flour, white sugar, or orange peels, not sure it is so. And not so sure that I want those on my window sills to keep ants out either.

I called an exterminator, and they said, it is a constant battle for everyone, new homes included. Due to my many aquariums we couldn't decide on a safe approach. So, I simply had to fight them with the fly swatter, and scrubbing their trails regularly with household cleaners in the hope of confusing them. I added diatomaceous earth all around the house inside and out, and it slowed them. But, we never totally win, just get a winter reprieve.
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This one works

There are plenty of recipes around for making a bait out of boric acid and honey or syrup. They take it back to the nest and it's over. If they are on aphids they want sweet, and if you have protein hungry ants use peanut butter.

You can soak cottonballs, or just leave a puddle on a piece of plastic. Then you can watch them crowd around and drink.

done and done.
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Re: This one works

Toil wrote:There are plenty of recipes around for making a bait out of boric acid and honey or syrup. They take it back to the nest and it's over. If they are on aphids they want sweet, and if you have protein hungry ants use peanut butter.
I have used this recipe for years and it works wonders. I mix 1 part borax to 2 parts sugar and then enough water to make a paste. I put it around wherever I see them trailing and voila...they're gone! It last's for about 2 weeks and then needs to be reapplied, but borax and sugar are pretty cheap and you can mix in larger quantities and keep it in a mason or baby food jar.
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Thanks!

We do need to mention that this needs to be away from where small children are present and hand to mouth activity could happen, but borax is naturally occuring (I did not say non-toxic) and mostly harmless except for smaller animals and children. Grown folk are pretty much not bothered...

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I would put borax under the mostly harmless category. I'm told you have to eat good amounts to get a stomach ache.

check that of course.
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But it is a residual build-up toxin, and children are far more vulnerable with the smaller body mass and more permable skin. So prolonged or chronic exposures can have consequence, especially for little ones...

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:shock:

I had no idea... wow thanks that's a solid head's up.
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Well, it is almost officially spring.

I have ants in the house already. I killed my first slug of the season today, and what is that crawling on me? A tick! Okay it is spring!

Funny, when we romanicized spring and longed for it, we kind of skipped over these subjects.

I need a safe ant control for in the house. Honest, I have to put my glass of tea in a bowl of water to keep ants off the glass. Here goes the sugar canister back into the fridge!

I hate ants, slugs and ticks!
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I use boric acid mixed with either sugar water or peanut butter, whichever they seem to go for at the time.

I tried sprinkling cinnamon, and -- I kid you not, folks -- watched the ants come en masse and carry it away with them! It was just grocery store cinnamon (McCormick's, I think), but I'll be darned if I'm gonna buy them the gourmet kind I see at the specialty store! :evil:
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Hmm.. anyone heard of spraying cold peppermint tea.. that's what I was told to try. I'll let you know how it works out :)

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I had ants actually build nests, and when I watered the trays, out would run ants carrying eggs and larvae, right here in the house!

I am so tired of this, I went the Terro route and simply put out poison.

I see less ants, but, I don't like using the poison. I tried the cinnamon, they did seem to avoid that one area, but I can't put cinnamon on every single shelf and table in the whole house!

Less ants is still not ant free, and I had a few of them bite me recently! The creeps, guess it was revenge.

I am about to try the caulk gun, and recaulk every single place that I see ant trails into the house! Surely sooner or later, I will be ant free?
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Probably a little late to post but to manage my ants I use corn meal it has worked wonders just sprinkle where the ants are and they take the cornmeal and store it or eat it and when they eat it they expand and die. Not to pleasing to think about but much better than using any nasty pesticides.

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Never too late with a good idea, Scooby...

If that works, it's a great one... I am experimenting now...

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Kisal wrote:I use boric acid mixed with either sugar water or peanut butter, whichever they seem to go for at the time.

I tried sprinkling cinnamon, and -- I kid you not, folks -- watched the ants come en masse and carry it away with them! It was just grocery store cinnamon (McCormick's, I think), but I'll be darned if I'm gonna buy them the gourmet kind I see at the specialty store! :evil:
I wonder if it was cassia, not cinnamon. They are sold under the same name.

Cinnamon sticks are crumbly, while cassia is hard.
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Ants

Ants can become pests in the garden but without them, think of all the unwanted bits and pieces that would be laying around un-necessary. Ants are the most strongest creatures on the planet. They are very vital on this planet and you would never kill out the species as they have inbuilt mechanisms for protection. They are such clever little critters. They work like humans at war all day everyday. They have a queen, that has to be nutured, soldiers for protection and workers doing never ending tasks. But there is a way that you can deter them from entrance to any place that you hate them being in. Peppermint oil. This is a good way of controlling them as they just hate the smell. Put drops at their place of entrance and they will just take off.
Good Luck - Remember all living things on this earth are put here for a reason.

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Paul Stamets has developed a non- sporulating strain of fungi that the ants consume, and then it consumes them. Remember that scene in Planet Earth where the fungus takes over the ant? Just like that... harmless to most other creatures, especially us.

Soil biology is not only the best way to raise plants, we may well find the answers to a lot of our biggest problems living there...

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I was just reading that a large proportion of weed seeds are consumed by ants.
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A very knowledgeable gardener and good friend of mine just told me her secret weapon against ants. She says it works great, so I am going to try it.

She mixes baking soda and powdered sugar 50/50 and sprinkles it.

Hey, that sounds alot better than all this Terro I have on little paper bits everywhere in the house. At least it sounds more harmless than the boric acid.

What if we mixed the cornmeal, and powdered sugar with the baking soda, and maybe a touch of cinnamon, with peppermint oil to hold it on an index card! That should get them!

I don't mind ants, as long as they stay out of my house!
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hmmm about ants hating mint...

do you think planting mint around the house would keep them away?
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I just looked up terro.

it's boric acid, just with an inflated price. way inflated! you can get a lifetime supply from the hardware store, you just have to mix your own bait.
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What if we mixed the cornmeal, and powdered sugar with the baking soda, and maybe a touch of cinnamon, with peppermint oil to hold it on an index card
Why don't you just bake them some cornmeal bread? Well, the pepperming oil doesn't fit, but the ingredients are pretty close! :lol:

Even the neighbor's boy who lives in a spotless house said they're having ant invasion in the house. I guess it's the time of the year. :roll:

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But what makes the cornmeal and baking soda work is moisture, and if it is bread, it has already reacted, so then it wouldn't work. The cornmeal wouldn't swell again, and the baking soda wouldn't cause a burp.

I tried mixing boric acid with corn syrup, the ants won't eat it! But, I may try a bit in the mix above with the powdered sugar, cornmeal, cinnamon, and baking soda. Oops I think leave the cinnamon and oil out, wasn't it to keep them away?

I know, I talked to a pesticide company and they have issues in brand new, really fancy houses. I am not alone in fighting these critters.
But, not everyone has trays of seedlings, that have ant nests in the bottom of the tray! I am happy to report, the terro did get rid of the nests in the trays!
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Maybe, but you soon wouldn't have anything else growing in the yard...

Friends don't let friends plant mint in the ground. It's wildly invasive and chokes out EVERYTHING else...

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My son was moving some tin, it was up on a trailer, just outside the garden fence, and under the tin was ant nests, and in the middle of the ant nests were 6-8 ringneck snakes!

I think they were dining on the ant nests. I love ringneck snakes, but don't want to touch one. So, no, I won't invite the snakes into the house to get the ants, but they are very welcome in my garden.

When I looked up ringneck snakes it says they eat worms and soft insects, doesn't mention ants, but why would so many ringnecks be in the middle of an ant nest if it wasn't a banquet? Snake of the year award?
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I have a 20x26 garden and I went out there today and it looked more like an ant farm than a garden! It's just horrible! I don't have many plants up yet but there are some aphids already on the radishes and lettuce! Ugh!
I could handle having some ants in the garden but it's a little ridiculous! And I have this incredible need to get rid of some of them anyway. I even found this huge red fuzzy and...ick! I killed him manually. They are all sizes shapes and colors!
So what do you think would work on this scale?
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Ants like depleted soils so I don't have much trouble with them in my organic garden; the extra humus in the soil keeps it moist and they hate that...

Aphids excrete a sugary honeydew that can attract ants; some species even farm the aphids like cows! Getting rid of the former may help get rid of the latter; try neem oil as a cheap and easy way to get rid of aphids...

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There aren't many aphids...And I added lots of compost and organic stuff in there. When you scratch the surface with a finger it is moist. We'll see.
I don't know how I feel about putting neem on lettuce leaves.

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Ozark Lady wrote:I have also heard that ants won't cross lines of white flour, white sugar, or orange peels, not sure it is so. And not so sure that I want those on my window sills to keep ants out either.
IMO, the ants would be drawn to those substances. What does work, though, is ordinary white chalk. (Actually, any color would work, but colored chalk often leaves stains.) My grandmother used to draw a chalk line around every window and along every exterior door sill in our house every spring. We had ants all over the place outdoors, but nary a one inside the house. (I used to laugh at her chalk lines, but I was a smart-alecky brat of a kid. :roll: :oops: )

The trick is that the line can't have any breaks in it, and it has to be wider than the ant is long. The reason it works is that they breathe through openings on their abdomen. Any kind of fine, dusty stuff can clog the openings and suffocate them.

So, in desperation, I used chalk myself one year, after Terro, Grant's, and my usual borax mixture didn't have any effect on the invaders. I used French White chalk, which I found in my dog grooming kit ... left over from my Koms. It's softer than blackboard chalk, and was easier for me to put down in a wide, unbroken line. It worked. I found that the ants were entering through a foundation vent under my kitchen window, crawling up through the wall, and exiting onto my kitchen counter from behind a piece of moulding. I drew the chalk line all around the foundation vent. No more ants! I was amazed! :)
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Wow Kisal, I hadn't heard that one yet, but it does make sense...

Excellent!

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