Getting rid of ants

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Andy Hamilton
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Getting rid of ants

Post: # 748Post Andy Hamilton »

Ok so we have come up with quite a few ingenious ways of getting rid of slugs between us, what about ants and should we be getting rid of them?

I have heard that ants harvest aphids has anyone else heard of this? I had a few last year on my allotment they did not seem to cause much damage. But I was on a mission to rid myself of them.

I grew lavender and this seem to repel them a bit, I also put down Cayenne pepper and this detered them. In the end I took one of Daves suggestions and put down some semolina powder. This seemed to make to work, the idea behind this is that the ants will feed the queen the semolina and she will expand and die. No queen = no ants. It did take a few times until she actually ate some though.
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Post: # 755Post Wombat »

I haven't heard the semolina bit before, must give it a try.

We always used a mixture of icing sugar and borax powder, which I suppose is not very organic but does the job. :oops:

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Post: # 784Post Emma »

I had loads in my kitchen last summer. Gave them the hot water treatment :shock: What's Borax wombat?

:geek:

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Post: # 791Post Wombat »

G'Day Emma,

Borax (sodium tetraborate) is a fine powder that you get from the Chemist, the boron that it contains is toxic to the ants, they take it back to the nest along with the sugar, eat it and die. Borax is also used where soils have a boron deficiency, which can affect crop plants in various ways (none of them good). :(

Borax used to be used in eye wash solutions as an antiseptic.
:shock:
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Ants

Post: # 808Post FluffyMuppet »

Hi Andy,

Apparently ants like the sticky honeydew that aphids produce as a waste product, which is why they 'farm' them. They will defend them from predators and also move them from plant to plant to increase their numbers. Ants can also be a problem if they set up nests in plant pots, but generally they can be left alone. According to my RHS Pests and Diseases book it is counter-productive to try and erradicate them from the garden as the existing colonies will kill some of the new queen ants who try and set up new colonies - so without them you get more new colonies.

I've also read that they don't like disturbed soil, which is why they're not normally a problem in vegetable beds.

According to John Yeoman, cucumber skins on their nests will kill them and placed at strategic points will stop them coming into the house. I've never tried it. If we get a nest which is causing a problem I generally douse it with boiling water.

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Post: # 817Post Andy Hamilton »

Cheers muppet for clarifying the harvest issue. I did also notice that new colonies formed when I got rid of each one so sounds like the RHS are correct (you would hope so :lol:) The big trouble I found with ants was getting bitten whilst weeding, I think this is why I wanted rid. Mind you they did dissaper from the heavily weeded areas eventually so I think I will learn to live with them if they return this spring.

My girlfriends aunty in portugal has real trouble with ants, she is not a huge vegetable gardener but found she could not sow a lawn. Every time she sowed a few seeds the ants would eat them. She will not be trying again for a while and I suggested sowing the seeds with cayenne pepper. This is a guess rather than tried and tested but I assume it will work.
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Post: # 8050Post flowers-v-spuds »

Curry powder and, apparantly, ants can't cross a chalk line, but not much good unless on hard ground and you keep doing it after it's rained.

Must say I havn't seen an ant in years - they are like a childhood memory to me.

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Post: # 8060Post Millymollymandy »

Lucky you - we have red ants and I discovered last year that I am allergic to their bites. I get not only a nasty bite similar to but not quite as bad as a wasp sting (I'm obviously very sensitive to them too), but I then erupt in a million horrendously itchy lumps all over my body.

At least now I am wise to the fact and have antihistamine tablets to take immediately!

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Post: # 8075Post ina »

flowers-v-spuds wrote: Must say I havn't seen an ant in years - they are like a childhood memory to me.
I can't remember seeing any recently, either. There are ants in Scotland, though! I only know because some folks from the institute I work for have just written a paper with the wonderful title: "Foraging behaviour and ant competition in narrow headed ants". The work for this was carried out in Abernethy Forest Reserve and Glenmore Forest, Speyside.
Yes. Sometimes you wonder what scientists spend their time on... :bom:

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Post: # 8095Post flowers-v-spuds »

yow, those red ants sound particularly nasty! I've only been stung by a wasp once but i remember the pain, so if it's like that then ouch!!

We had a good david attenborough show on lately about ants, i couldn't believe what i was seeing! I knew they were inteligent but the way this ant carried a pregnant one was amazing!

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Post: # 10886Post Libby »

Sorry to be coming in on this conversation so late in the day, but I have a hint or two :wink:
The borax and icing sugar mix is given in my hints and tips book as recommended for organic gardening, so I don,t think you have a problem there Wombat :wink:
Apparantly, borax is a natural salt which will poisen ants, but is harmless to humans and animals. So as long as your sugar is organic.... :flower:
Mint, chilli powder and pepper, sprinkled, also get a mention.
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Post: # 10913Post Andy Hamilton »

Noticed a few on my new allotment, I think I will let them be this year though. I heard that if you get rid of them they will only conalise somewhere else and I found this on my last allotment. Will just have to plant stuff that won't get too damaged by their presence.
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Post: # 11161Post The Chili Monster »

Ants are not fond of citrus (allegedly). It has been suggested that a mixture of citrus peel and water, concocted in a blender, applied around the base of the plant will deter them. :dontknow:
I confess that I have not tried this, and anyways I need all the peels I can get for my recently inaugurated compost.
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Post: # 11164Post Shirley »

we were inundated with them in Herefordshire. Our old rented house had several colonies that we appeared to wake up - at one stage I moved my computer to the dining room and put the base station on a wooden plinth that ran all along the bottom of the outside wall... I decided I wanted to move it to another place and when David picked it up (thank GOODNESS it was HIM and not me) millions of the blighters attacked him.... all up his legs (wearing shorts and no shoes - David that is, and not the ants). They had obviously found my computer to be a warm and cosy place to live.

Just before we left there were hundreds of flying ants in the house - they were awful.
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Post: # 11879Post Shelle »

i have heaps of little ants ... tried boiling water (did not really seems to deter them for long) ... every time i dig into my garden i disturb a nest carrying heaps of little white things ... everywhere i walk i end up getting attacked ... and the times i forget and sit on the grass - ouch!

I am just about to try a hot pepper dust from my natural remedy book:
65g powdered cayenne pepper
60g powdered garlic
60g powdered dill
mix them together and sprinkle liberally around affected plant in a wide margin.

will let you know how it goes...

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