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ack! our county was just put on quarantine.....  RSS feed

 
Leah Sattler
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for fire ants!!! can't move hay, dirt or plants with soil out of the county without inspection! apparantly these are some nasty critters that will kill small livestock.  experimentation on introducing a species of parasitic fly is underway in an attempt to control them. not sure how I feel about that. introducing one non native species to control another non native species. supposedly...so far....the parasitic fly is only interested in this particularly nasty species of ant but.....

so my eyes are out for fire ants and although it may not be the most earth freindly thing to do...if I find 'em i wanna kill 'em. now I need a to have a plan of action for how to best do that with the least amount of danger to other species.......
 
Susan Monroe
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I have killed off thatch ants (supposedly a relative of the fire ant) with diatomaceous earth (DE).  Try to find out if there is any certain time of day that the colony is in its nest (or whatever), then cover the whole area with about half an inch of DE.  You want it deep enough so they have to literally wade through it to get out.

Be sure to get the CODEX FOOD GRADE kind, cheapest at a farm store.  You don't want anything mixed in it, no bug killer or anything.

I bought a 50# bag about three years ago for $15.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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some sites have said de is of questionable effectiveness so I am glad to know your personal experience shows it works. that is probaly the least damaging way to get the job done. hopefully none will show up on our property.
 
Susan Monroe
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A dusting of DE just doesn't work.  Neither will boiling water, a gallon of white vinegar, a gallon of BOILING white vinegar, boric acid mixed with sugar water, commercial ant bait (boric acid mixed with sugar water), or setting the nest on fire.

And the chickens think they're icky.

Half an inch thick, all over.

Sue
 
                              
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Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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DE works best when it is really dry and there is little moisture for the ants to find.  Ants are really tough and if it is wet, the DE is far less effective.
 
Susan Monroe
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When it's wet, DE is totally INEFFECTIVE.

If you lay the DE down over and around the nest, and there is a light rain, let it dry, then gently break up the thin top crust that has formed, loosening the DE to a powder again.  They will just walk across the crust and thumb their noses at you. 

Sue
 
Gwen Lynn
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For what it's worth, I found this at a website:

Killing the queen ants are the best way to break up a hive of fire ants, and potentially kill the hive. One way is to drill deep into the hive and pour gasoline in the hole and light it on fire. Needless to say I wasn't fond of the act, besides being dangerous it really left ugly spots in the lawn. I tried many different chemicals only to be left with a yard that was dangerous to my pets. After some research I decided to try a new technique.

Wait for a dry spell.

You will need to plan carefully for this to work. Pick a dry spell, several days of no rain and little humidity. This is difficult in most areas, but those days do come. Mark all of the hives you have in your yard with flags so you will know where to find them. This is easier right after you mow.


Mow your grass very short around the hive
Mow a 2 foot diameter very short around these areas. This helps to dry out the area.

Leave the hive alone to settle down.
Leave the hives alone for a couple of days so the ants settle back down.

Keep the Wheat dry

Take a box of Cream of Wheat cereal and create a heaping circle around the mound - close to the mound. Do it around 10am in the morning - this allows the morning dew to dry. It is important that the Cream of Wheat stays dry. The worker ants will take the food to the queens right away. Cream of Wheat grows 8 times it's normal size when wet. When eaten the queens will explode. No queens, No hive.

Kill the queens

The hives will disperse to other more conducive territory looking for a new queen. Hopefully out of your yard. I was able to keep my population of ants out of my yard for years using this method. And kept my animals safe from harmful chemicals.
 
Leah Sattler
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my gut reaction is that the cream of wheat/grits thing is a myth.

"Larvae are fed by workers, usually on predigested, regurgitated food. Most larvae are fed liquids, although some older larvae are able to chew and digest solids."

this indicates that they both chew and have the capabiltiy of regurgitating so it seems unlikely that they would just explode.

the birds and rice thing is a myth too.
http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/birdrice.asp
 
Gwen Lynn
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Oh well. Thought it would be worth a try. I guess sometimes ya just have to resort to those danged ol' chemicals. Fire ants are badass! I've used DE outdoors to try & deal with fleas. As Susan pointed out, if it rains...it's worthless!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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the safest way to kill off any ants is with boiling water..have to get the exploreres when they come back too though..and it will kill the plants closeby so use a small stream down the hole.

i saw something on FLA on the news where they are bringing in 3 different kinds of non native bugs to kill off melaluca and some other things..what are they thinking ??
 
Susan Monroe
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"... what are they thinking?"

They aren't.  Bureaucrats come to decisions based on two things: payoffs and knee-jerk reactions.  Planning, forethought, etc are outside their interest or experience.

Sue
 
Jeremy Bunag
gardener
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Location: Central IL
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I've often wondered:  If hot water works well to kill <whatever>, would steam work better?

Is the point to drown and scald?  Or is it the heat?  If it's the heat, then the 11 times more heat might work better, and if you get one of those "steam buggy" deals then it might even be more directable to the work area...

 
Gwen Lynn
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I've killed ordinary ants on my kitchen counter by smothering them with plain ol' soapy water. Of course, they were only those teeny, tiny brown ants that always seem to come in the spring. I'm expecting them any day now! Soapy water didn't work as well on carpenter ants or ticks. I've seen ants crawl/swim across my pond from one water lily pad to another. I don't think they drown real easy.

I sure don't use chemicals in the yard & I was sorta kidding about them in my other post. Although, if i had invested in livestock, or had a young child running around (or in my case, a 79 yr old mother tottering around)...well... those fire ants would have to go in the fastest, easiest way possible. 

Fire ants aren't just any ant either. They are venomous, aggressive swarmers that fiercely defend their mounds by repeatedly stinging the invader.

http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PLANT/IPPM/profile_rifa.shtml

Hauling buckets of boiling water around on a large, rocky area of land may be kinda awkward. Especially if the livestock thinks you have food! You'd really have to be careful & quick about getting out of the way of the ants you didn't hit with the water. Do steam buggies need to be plugged in with an extension cord? 
 
Leah Sattler
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oh my . now I can see me carrying a steaming hot bucket of water through the pasture when 20 goats spy me. aaahhhhhh

my buck found a hole in the fence and managed to get onto my neighbors. I thought it was a one time deal but later we talked to her and she said he had been out a few times but it was only a problem once when she was carrying a bucket and she couldn't get away from him till she finally proved to him there was nothing in it. they stay in the hot wire until they see me with a bucket. so I must carry a bucket........... and a stick. next to pigs they are the most food driven animal I have ever dealt with and....... actually.......my pigs would have never ventured the hot wire for food. so.....maybe they are tops.
 
Jeremy Bunag
gardener
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Location: Central IL
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Gwen Lynn wrote:
Hauling buckets of boiling water around on a large, rocky area of land may be kinda awkward. Especially if the livestock thinks you have food! You'd really have to be careful & quick about getting out of the way of the ants you didn't hit with the water. Do steam buggies need to be plugged in with an extension cord? 


I think it has an extension cord, so perhaps not practical for a larger yard.  Plus upon googling "steam buggy" many of the first hits were complaints about it.  http://www.infomercialscams.com/scams/steam_buggy .  Maybe not such a good idea.  But there are other brands/types.  I still wonder if the result of using a "steam cleaner" (not for carpets!  :lol would be useful for ants...

 
Gwen Lynn
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It might be fun to try steaming the ants. Kinda reminds me of childhood when my brother burnt them with a magnifying glass...
 
Leah Sattler
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I spent hours at my grandmothers with syringes she would give me make little circles of water around the ants on her porch and trapping them.  I guess it is proof that empathy must be taught and kids dont' naturally have it. 
 
Jeremy Bunag
gardener
Posts: 231
Location: Central IL
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