Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

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.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

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...

HG
Scott Reil

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

:shock:

I had no idea... wow thanks that's a solid head's up.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

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!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

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:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

emijean
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:01 pm
Location: Parry Sound, ON

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 :)

Emily
http://www.HempTent.com - Environmentally & Socially Responsible, Fair Trade & Handmade, Global & Local

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

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?
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

scoobdoob808
Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:51 am
Location: Pocatello Idaho

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.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

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

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

HG
Scott Reil

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

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.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

Beverly Fornasiero
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 9:21 am
Location: Mt Julian

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.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

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...

HG
Scott Reil

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

I was just reading that a large proportion of weed seeds are consumed by ants.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

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!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

84pagirl
Full Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:07 pm
Location: SW PA

hmmm about ants hating mint...

do you think planting mint around the house would keep them away?
"Lifes a dance you learn as you go"

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

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.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27490
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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:

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

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!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

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...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

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?
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

kgall
Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:37 pm
Location: New Hampshire

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?
I have a toddler who thinks my garden is his sandbox! (I'm keeping him! :wink: )

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

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...

HG
Scott Reil

kgall
Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:37 pm
Location: New Hampshire

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.

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

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! :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Wow Kisal, I hadn't heard that one yet, but it does make sense...

Excellent!

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Builders often have a chalk box, of loose blue chalk, I wonder if that would work? It is already powdered.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
cherlynn
Cool Member
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:08 am
Location: SW Florida

Just loving this ant talk! Generally, if the ants aren't biting anyone or harming our home(carpenter ants) I would just let them be. I have found cinnamon to work well in these cases. I just put it near any openings that the ants come through into the house...no more ants...unless, of course, someone chooses to clean up the cinnamon :roll:

No problems in the veggie garden....and now, thanks to Scott, I know why!!! My soil is nice and moist and not depleted.

However, we may be having ant problems of a different nature soon. We'll be moving to Florida......depleted soils....with fire ants!!! We're planning to do raised beds, but I'll be doing some research...and trying some of the methods mentioned in this thread!!! I hear that they are difficult to get rid of. We didn't see any on our property....yet!!! However, our relatives have them....OUCH!!!!....the bites itched for weeks!!!

I had some miserable little itchy ants once in my flower garden. I used corn meal, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.....I never did figure out which of the three worked :lol: If I use cornmeal in the future it will be organic...no GMO's!
cherlynn

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27490
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Oh Cherlynn, you'll have to leave your sunflower house! :o
... but then, maybe you can grow even BIGGER sunflowers in Florida. :wink:

Good luck! We want a FULL REPORT on how you transform the new garden into your own. :D

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

We'll sure miss you at the Garden Club, Cheryl, but now you can garden YEAR ROUND!

And fingers crossed, no ants...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

The chalk should work or any other powdery substance that clogs up their spiracles.... baby powder, Comet type cleanser powder, the flour, etc.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
cherlynn
Cool Member
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:08 am
Location: SW Florida

applestar,

I'm already trying to plan what we'll be growing and when to plant in Florida!
I've only seen one garden in the neighborhood...a nice little raised bed :) My hubby and I would like to have more edibles than grass...we'll see!!! He is already planning to build some raised beds! The closing is coming up in less than a week, but we won't move until late summer. I haven't seen any sunflowers growing in our neighborhood in Florida...we may be the first!!!

Scott,

We'll be back in CT every summer...if plans work out!!! I'll be helping in my daughter's garden! Although, I must say that the fairies seem to be doing a great job there! Thanks for the "fingers crossed, no ants..."!

rainbowgardener,

Using flour sounds like a good idea!!! Organic, of course!
I don't think that I'd want cleanser or even baby powder near edibles....


There are some terrific ideas in this thread!
cherlynn

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

There is one cleanser I would trust...Bon Ami...organic since always, calcium carbonate is completely safe, and I love it for anything greasy grimy (we no longer use the brillo pads; just add a little Bon Ami and ZING!).

Safer stuff is always out there...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
cherlynn
Cool Member
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:08 am
Location: SW Florida

Thank you, Scott....I didn't think of Bon Ami....the one I actually buy, when I need to. Baking soda is what I usually use...hmmm, that might work on the fire ants! You are right Scott..."safer stuff is always out there..."

We just spoke with my mother-in-law. She had an allergic reaction to some fire ant bites. I started to do more research. Here is a link, if anyone is interested: http://www.fireant.net/Control/

I like the idea of planting spearmint...just containing it. The urine was an interesting :lol: method!
cherlynn

wolfie
Senior Member
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:45 pm
Location: Chester, VA

I don't have any ants in the house, but i do have them in the garden, are they bad to have there?
Shan -
Who is learning to garden and loving every minute of it!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Not particularly... ants don't eat plants and the tunnels do help aerate the soil.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

kgall
Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:37 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Well...I can tell you that the ants here did not fall for the baking soda and powdered sugar or the cornmeal. Though the cornmeal seems to have rid me of my cutworm problem.
Back to the drawing board!

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

My husband was talking to an older (than us!) lady and she gave him her recipe for getting rid of ants.

3 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
4 tsp of boric acid
cotton balls
screw top jars
Loosely pack several small screwtop jars half full with the cotton balls saturate these with the mixture. Pierce the jar lids with 2-3 small holes, and replace the lids. Place in areas where ants are active. Keep out of reach of children.

Interesting. She says that it works really well. Since they ARE in my house, I am going to try it. The Terro only worked for a couple weeks and the next generation grew up and is back bothering me.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

Dixana
Greener Thumb
Posts: 727
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:58 am
Location: zone 4

We put baby powder in the window sills and never have ants in the house, or any bug really.
They ARE taking over my yard though!!!!! Ant hills EVERYWHERE!!!!!
I'm assuming all my neighbors use some form of bug killer and the rotten biting little buggers are taking refuge in my yard :roll:
I don't mind ants outside but this is getting a little ridiculous!

Return to “Organic Insect and Plant Disease Control”