Ask: why are they where they are doing what they are doing?
Then figure out how to make it not worth their while.
So, if you have ants searching for water (because your faucet is the only source) then try sprinkling salt all around the area. They will no longer be able to quench their thirst or take water from that area.
And so on...
Does not work with a large leaf cutter hill though, unless back up with a water truck... lol
Most things I am on a live and let live basis, but bite me and it is war!!!
Isaac Hill wrote:I believe that good ol' Sepp has called ants the regulators of the soil... I believe that. They perform some very important functions and I would be wary of destroying their homes. Better to give them what they want and let them be in my book.
Good ole Sepp doesn't live in the jungle. What the ants want, is ME!
Imagine not being able to put your hands in the soil because they will swarm up you and bite you, without controlling them, it is what you get. I tend to be pretty much live and let live, the birds enjoy my figs, bananas, plantains, etc. But if you come for me, it is WAR!!!
But, purely organic. Boiling them alive just seems appropriate after having 30 bites that itch like crazy...
Nick Garbarino wrote:Ants aerate & fertilize the soil. I generally leave them alone but if I need them to vacate an area I make a solution of compost tea, citrus oil, and molasses. It kills them without hurting plants or degrading the soil. If interested, I'll send the recipe.
Could you post the recipe in this thread?
Here are some of my favorite aerobic compost tea recipes:
For trees and shrubs, I make a fungi-dominated tea using 1 liter of finished black cow manure compost (Black Kow works fine), placed in a 5 gallon bucket and filled with unchlorinated water. Add 2 tablespoons of molasses (syrup, sugar, brown sugar will all do in a pinch), a half teaspoon of epsom salt, and 1000 mg of vitamin C foor good luck. Aerate with an aquarium pump and tubing with no air stone for 24-72 hours depending on temperature until a foamy head is formed. That's the fungi. Air stones make tiny bubbles that break apart the fungi. Remove the air tubing and let stand for a minute, then decant the liquid into another 5 gallon bucket, leaving the dense solids behind in the bottom of the first bucket. You can put that on your compost pile or sheet mulch. Strain the decanted liquid with a fish net, then pour it into a 30 gallon trash can and fill it up with unchlorinated water. It is now ready for you to foliar feed using a watering can. The aerated solution is safe to get on your hands, etc. The trick to using tubing with no air stone is to put a tee on the end of the tubing and slip a nut, washer, or something heavy down the tubing until it stops on the tee. Steel nuts probably corrode a tiny bit and add a small amount of iron which is good to have. Don't use a copper nut as too much copper is toxic. Anyway, this is how you can keep the tubing on the bottom of the bucket. Any compost will do, but cow manure compost has more fungi than most others. If I want to make a really low pH solution for acid lovers, I use leaf mold instead of compost, and reduce the molasses to 1 table spoon.
For annuals, I use the recipe above but I add 1 lb of fish puree, which I produce with my bass-o-matic (that's my "special" blender that my wife says I can have all to myself). I also up the epsom salt to 2 full tablespoons to aid in the breakdown of the fish. This recipe is a bit stinky, so you may need to warn your neighbors ahead of time, if they're close. This is a really good, high nitrogen recipe for growing veggies. It will turn crappy soil into pretty good instantly. I try a little harder not to splash this recipe on myself, not because it's unsafe, it's just stinky.
I started out surfing the web for recipes, where you can find many, and I have refined my technique over time. In Austin, TX you can purchase aerobic tea starter solution that is just fungi, but I think a diverse microherd is better. Aerobic compost tea is a thousand times better than old-fashioned anaerobic compost tea. I never make anaerobic tea, and it is not nearly as safe to handle as aerobic tea.
So, let microbiology be your friend! Have fun with it!
For big ants, it works for less than a day, and by then they've spread it so thin, they can walk right over it. It does slow the big ants down a bit if you can do a ring of DE around their nest, but again, this works about a day or 2.
In my area, the ant beds are devoid of life. Big barren wastelands. I am sure they serve a role somewhere, but not up my pant leg...
Fire ants like to bite me, so they get the Diatomaceous Earth treatment, usually dispensed when I'm cutting grass. I carry a container of it on the lawnmower. Take a stick to stir up the hill a bit and expose the egg chambers just under the surface. Then BAM! Dump on the DE and be generous! Ants will feel compelled to save the eggs and end up getting sliced up by the DE. It doesn't kill them all, but it makes a pretty good dent and disrupts their life cycle.
If I get into an ant nest as I'm gardening I move to another area quickly. They swarm right up arms and legs and bite like crazy.
In the soil ants one of the things ants do is to move soil bits around as they make their tunnels, aerating it as they go.