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ANTS ants everywhere ants  RSS feed

 
Megan Renee
Posts: 2
Location: South East USA
books cat urban
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There are so many ants in my yard already. I don't want to kill them (all), I believe they have value and are an important part of my yard's ecosystem... But is there like, a way to attract them to just one part of my yard? Like, what do ants really want and what could I offer them to keep them from taking over the entire yard? How can I wrangle and corral these little critters into their own 'ant safe space'.

I have a two year old and I'd like to keep him as ant bite free as possible, this being my reasoning for looking to scoot the ants out of the way. Does anyone have any suggestions for my totally weird idea of ant control?

Thanks
 
James Freyr
Posts: 297
Location: Middle Tennessee
32
books cat chicken food preservation toxin-ectomy
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Chickens. They'll control the ants with the added bonus of providing you eggs
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Pouring boiling water on ant nests can make them eventually move out of an area.  One needs to be persistent.

 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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I still swear by applying beneficial nematodes, but I am trying to keep fire ants away from my allergic niece.  Spreading them at the right season keeps them manageable.  If we miss that season they become a major problem by the end of the year.  The nematodes also reduce most of our agricultural grubs (think cut worms and lawn grubs) and fleas.  When we time it before our rainy season we do a full year without having any new problems.  If we miss and have dry soil while they try to get established, our animals come in with fleas and our garden fills up with opportunistic ants. I think introducing natural predators is an ecologically sound response.  Outside of desert regions, I think other creatures fill the ecological niche just as well. On top of that, there are so many introduced species of ants now running rampant in our country, it's likely that any in your yard are an invader.  Fire ants certainly fall into that category.  I remember other species that were common here when I was a child that are never seen anymore. 
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I think to an extent the attempt to do away with the fire ants has killed off a lot of native ants.  We have many species of native ants on our place, as well as fire ants.

 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 354
Location: Western Kenya
29
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A little off topic, but kinda related:  do you think an over abundance of ants is a sign of poor soil health?  I have noticed where my dirt is bad, there  are ants galore, but almost no other life. I mean SO many ants!  Where the soil is healthier, there are still ants, but not such an overwhelming number, and there are lots of other creepy crawlies to kind of balance it out.

I haven't tried it myself but I heard that you can use vinegar to "herd" ants, and move them slowly in the direction you want.  (I probably heard that here on permies, but I can't remember.)
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
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The invasive Fire Ants here seem to love the heat, so they tend to infest places that are relatively barren, such as overgrazed pastures.  I wonder if some other ants have similar preferences.
 
Andreas Schäfer
Posts: 21
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I also have a lot of ants on my property. My impression is they indeed prefer poor sandy soil. My chickens are not interested in eating them. But the ants take away almost all seeds I put into the soil, so direct seeding is not really an option for me. So I hope someone has an idea about how to keep the ants from taking over everything.
 
Virginia Ratliff
Posts: 43
Location: Bartow County GA
2
chicken duck rabbit
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Cinnamon...I have moved many a mound with a couple of cheap Dollar store bottles of cinnamon.
 
wayne fajkus
Posts: 722
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I second the boiling water. Instant gratification.

As far as chickens, i don't think they help. If an egg breaks in the coop, ants are there immediately
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 354
Location: Western Kenya
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I have also noticed that if I unearth an earthworm while I am digging, the ants are on it immediately.  Maybe the ants are part of the reason I don't have a good worm population in my garden.

How are you using the cinnamon?  Do you dump it in the nest, or you create a barrier? 

Here we also use wood ash, which works for some and not for others.  And there is a local tree that folks will cut branches out of and spread in their homes if they get an invasion of safari ants... Obviously that's not going to be helpful to you in the USA!

Here we have about 50 varieties of biting ants.  Locals used one huge variety of biting ant to stitch wounds closed!  It bites and doesn't let go.  Safari ants will kill a small animal, like a chicken, if it gets in their path. 

We also have s huge ant that doesn't bite, but if you squish it, it makes a god aweful stench.  I always seem to squish at least one a day, unintentionally.  Ugh.

I hate ants.  But I don't think there is enough cinnamons in all of Africa to clear them out of my garden!
 
Virginia Ratliff
Posts: 43
Location: Bartow County GA
2
chicken duck rabbit
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I start with a "boundary" barrier of the ground cinnamon and then work my way toward the nest. I do not have a large garden plot...just several raised beds and hugels. Every year they invade a lot of my containers(and I have many)...I have noticed that they do not come back to the same spot for several years. I haven't had ants in the house for many years now...anytime I had an "ant line" I would interrupt it at entry point both inside and out with the cinnamon.
 
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