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Can I be Ethical and Hate Fire Ants?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I believe in permaculture, and the refusal to use pesticides or anything else that ends in "cide", but I am swarmed by fire ants. They are everywhere. I get about six to twenty bites every day. They bite in the rain and they bite in the sun. The bite in the hot and they bite in the cold. They deflate compost thrown on the ground overnight.

I am ethical and tired. What to do?

No natural enemies. You can't bother them with dynamite. Eat absolutely anything.
 
gardener
Posts: 1445
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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A local organic farmer told about his trick: Each colony has it's own queen. Each queen has it's own scent, or pheromones. So....
Take a shovel full of ants in one nest, transfer it to a different nest, and vise versa. The ants will fight to the death to repel the invaders. Hopefully, killing both colonies.
 
pollinator
Posts: 356
Location: San Diego, California
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I recall another thread where someone claimed pouring boiling water down the hole was effective?

No major damage to your soil if it doesn't work...
 
pollinator
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I have mentioned boiling water.  It works but probably won't kill the mound in one application.  This is evidenced by the thousands of dead ants that surround the mound, obviously carried by the hundreds of ants that didn't die.

Another method i have used is water drenching.  This works in raised beds. You literally flood the bed. They may leave for drier soil.

John Dromgoole (natural gardener in austin) claims molasses will chase them off.

B-dahl bluestem is something rarely talked about. Something you'd plant as pasture grass. Someone walked several acres of bermuda and b-dahl and the ratio of ant mounds per acre was very different.  Like 30 in bermuda compared to 1.5 in b-dahl. The reference indicated the seeds may be the reason, as the field can almost smell like death when it is seeding. It may be similar to paw paws, where flies do the pollinating vs bees cause the smell it puts out.

Some times you have to cry uncle and buy something.  Some products are biological, hitting only the ants. A little research should point you to something acceptable when other options fail.

 
pioneer
Posts: 2133
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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molten aluminium.

Pour it in, let it cool, then dig it up to reuse for next time.
 
Michael Sohocki
pollinator
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neat ideas, thank you. I will try them all, except I don't think I have the technological wherewithal to liquify aluminum. crucible and cuisinart?
 
Posts: 108
Location: The Ocala National Forest. Florida, USA
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Yea... Same problem here. So much rain lately that they aren't making mounds, just little groups of them tucked into tree roots, my firewood pile, the rotting logs, leaf piles, etc... Everywhere. I use amdro. It's pretty species specific, I don't see any other ants eating it. It takes time, it's a bait, they take it to the nest and dine on it in time. And an entomologist friend told me best to put it out when it is humid and they are actively feeding and just sprinkle around without disturbing established nests... I buy a pound a year and it reduces my fire ant population by about 80%
 
Posts: 251
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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I place cucumber peelings on their hills and they either die or move away. Save your peelings and soak them in water then soak the nest with the water and the peelings. I don't know why, but this works.
 
master steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Here are a couple of thread about dealing with ants with coffee ground or DE:


https://permies.com/t/85160/critters/Army-Ants-Bees


https://permies.com/t/9645/critters/dealing-fire-ants
 
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