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Recently, about 1 week ago, I recieved an eBay purchus of a Bonsai Schefflera (?sp). It was literally overflowing with itty-bitty brown ants! I'm getting the creepy-crawly's just thinking about it! I took it out of the pot...with much effort, washed the pot with soap and H2O, sprinkled some systemic plant control on both the pot and the root ball, repotted it in the origional dish, watered it, sprayed the heck out of it with every plant pest control spray available to me in the house, and put it in "Plant Jail" so as not to infect others. It still looks healthy as could be. My question is, how long should it be in jail? This happened on friday and I haven't seen an ant since. Is it safe? I hate to seem like an idiot, but do ant's lay eggs and should I ve worried about a new infestation in a couple weeks popping up?
Today I picked up one of my small citrus and found ant colony in the tray underneath! Eek! I have a plastic tray with four plants in about five inch pots, and on a table near a window, that off and on has ant problems around it. But to set up shop in my plant tray? They've gone too far. I took the tray outside and dumped them and sprayed it with household bug spray. Now the plants are soaking in soapy water to hopefully drown any ants that might be hiding in there. I hope the soaking doesn't overwet the plants themselves! It 'seems' like the ants were just under the pots and not in them but...
My two cents...TERRO ant killer is in most hardware stores and garden centers. Put out a few drops on a one inch piece of foil. The critters pick it up and take it home to the nest where ever that might be. In a few to ten days the whole nest will die. I can not give you all the facts and details because those are on the back of the label in very small print that I never have been able to read. This product works or has worked for me for years.
It is so good I no longer spray the ugly chemicals around the house foundation.
We used to have ant problems in our orchids at the botanical gardens where I worked. One of the volunteers swore by mixing sugar, water and epsom salts and drenching the pot. Apparently, the magnesium in the epsom salt is toxic to ants, but they are attracted by the sugar.
I don't know whether there is any established research on this, and I don't know what the proportions were, but he did it and it worked like a charm.
(BTW, plants utilize magnesium, but it can be toxic in high quantities. Orchid growers do use epsom to supplement magnesium for good growth, maybe do some research and see what that ratio is should you wish to try it.)
Neat tips. I do agree the Magnesium might not be something to overdo, but maybe one drench to clean them up once in awhile is ok.
I'm going to get Bounce today for my kids faces! I'd rather use that than spray any bug stuff near their eyes. I bet they're kind of pretty with white bows on their halters.
I didn't find TERRO at Lowe's and bought a Combat bait in a small syringe, out of haste. It may be working.