The ants are taking over! Help!

Westland, MI

Instant grits. Does this really work to kill the ants or is this just an old wives tale?

NemAttack and NemaSeek. Are these safe to spray on a veggie garden? Do you take care not to get them on the plants? Application is by hose end sprayer. What happens if I get them on the plants?

Thank you for any advice. My veggie garden is overrun by ants. Gazillions of them. I looks like the soil is moving.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Since the nematodes aren't cheap and they won't do you any good if they're on the plants instead of in the soil I'd try to spray as much as possible onto the soil instead of onto the plants, but if some get on the plants it's not going to hurt anything (they won't survive for long on the plants, they need to be in soil).

Houston, TX

I found this article about stuff you can try to control ants in the garden, organically. I knew about the coffee grounds and cinnamon, but there are a bunch of things in there that might be helpful.

Corpus Christi, TX(Zone 10a)

A friend just told me about this and it sounds good--I'm going to try it for fire ants and any other nasty critters:

(Zone 7a)

Hi, I haven't been to this site in a while. I hope everyone is well. I was hoping someone might have an answer to a similar ant problem, but it looks like everyone is still struggling! I have harvester ants that have a really nasty bite and are multiplying like crazy in my yard (probably due to the bird feeders) Most of what I read on the web talks about the benefits of harvester ants to the soil ecology, which is great, but I need to be able to garden without getting hurt!

I have tried diatomaceous earth--every day for WEEKS without any effect. I tried drowning the site with water (dribbling water out of the hose daily for 10 days). I tried mixing peanut butter and boric acid together and leaving it by their lair. (under a rock so birds, etc. would not get at it.). I even have tried digging up the nest to get at the queen--forget it! They have an underground city--well over 3 feet deep and wide.

I just read today on a site that Nutra Sweet left on a fire ant mound will kill them--sounds too easy, like an urban legend. Anyone try it? Not really organic, but at this point I'm willing to cheat with something that the FDA claims is safe for human consumption.

Thanks in advance!

Merkel, TX

I use DE mixed with cinnamon and if really bad i will drizzle honey into Borax and put DE on the outer edges so they will walk thru it to get to the aforementioned. i have heard, dont laugh, that human urine will make them leave and not come back. This was a discussion on another list I am on and lots of older gentlemen said they have been doing it for years and it does work. I have not tried it yet but the next litter of baby pigs i have that get swarmed with ants I will send hubby out to pee. i have not discussed that with him yet. We do live way out and have no neighbors within a mile or so. Will email results to anyone or post them here if i can get him to do it. Dont know about using that method around food for humans, but Urine is also, according to them, a great fertilizer. I will look for a link that explained it all. Kathy

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Bairie: A friend just told me about this and it sounds good--I'm going to try it for fire ants and any other nasty critters:

Bump - My yard and garden are becoming a painful place to be due to fire ants. Has anyone tried this Anti Fuego product with fire ants? If so, what results did you have?


This message was edited Sep 9, 2009 7:47 PM

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

Yes, we used to live in SW Fort worth, and Fire Ants LOVED us. We started using the Howard Garrett recipe making the Fire Ant Drench long before they bottled it for sale. This drove the fire ants away. We were most concerned about keeping them away from our house and yard area... mostly driving them to neighbors yards!

This worked very well.

We only have "sugar ants" where we live now, and DE works VERY well controlling them!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I recently tried Spinosad (which is OMRI listed) to treat Argentine ants in pots on my deck and it definitely knocked the population down. It has some directions on the label for how to use it to combat fire ants so that might be worth looking into as well. Mine was Green Light brand but there may be other brands too.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Dry molasses (I use a folgers coffee can full), 8 oz orange oil, 5 gallons of hot water. Mix together, pour a couple of gallons onto the fire ant nest and they die. It takes a couple of days for them to be completely gone, but this works.
I saw a product at the nursery the other day that was for fire ants and the active ingredient was spinosad (conserve).

I accidentally stepped into a harvester ant nest while walking the dog, their bite was very very painful but didn't last too long. At least it didn't blister like a fire ant bite.

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

With the orange oil in this recipe, will it harm plants? My big compost ring has gotten overcome with ants since our last week-long rain. Don't want to use chemicals in that nor anything that will ruin the compost.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

8 oz did sound like alot of orange oil.... hubby always uses howard garretts recipe:

Fire Ant Drench Formula

Homemade Fire Ant Mound Drench - mix one part compost tea, one part molasses, and one part citrus oil concentrate. Mix at 4-6 ounces per gallon of water for treating fire ant mounds.

if you want to read more about it...


Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks, Melanie, for that link. I'm a Dirt Doctor fan but had not read all of that explanation. What it said about "stabilized ecosystem" cleared up some things for me. Lived here 29 years and have been puzzled as to why we've been hit so hard with fire ants the last two years. I mean, it is like a plague of biblical proportions!!! Due to water drainage problems, over the last few years we had to do major excavation and rebuild of entire landscape, and the fire ants hit at about the same time. Once so much was torn up, we stopped using the Dirt Doctor organic mixture on the lawn, of course. So our ecosystem has definitely been destroyed and the fire ants took advantage. I used more chemical ant poison this year than all the other years put together and they just multiplied. Probably the chemicals just damaged the ecosystem more.

Just having that understanding encourages me to get back on an organic program because I know it worked before.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

That's a great realization!!! Glad the info worked for you! Howard has some great ideas and recipes!

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

8oz might seem like a lot but it's mixed in 5 gallons of water. That's enough for at least three large mounds.
I use 2 oz orange oil in my compost tea (that is made in a 10 gallon container and contains alfalfa, compost, dry molasses and one cup Espoma root tone). I mix the tea with water and use it on new transplants. Hasn't hurt anything yet.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

I guess if equal parts are 8 oz ea, the Garrett recipe would make 6 gallons of mixture... so it's about the same... I just know that orange oil isnt cheap... but what isnt...

Whatever works right????!!!

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Maybe I missed it but didn't see on the DD site whether the molasses was dry or liquid ???

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

I have been lurking and I am curious about where do you find orange oil and molasses powder. I would love to find a natural way to control fire ants. We spend hours daily useing chemical ant killers to control them then we get a rain and they are back I really am intrested in this I hope someone will tell me where can I get these ?

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Dry molasses I get at Tractor Supply. Orange oil I have to purchase at a local organic nursery.

I was having trouble with leaf footed bugs on my tomato fruit. I mixed a few drops of orange oil and a little colloidal soap in a quart of water. I sprayed it right on the bugs and they died almost instantly. This is the first thing I've found that kills stink bugs.

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

Thank you I know tractor supply but I don't know about a organic nursery I did look it up online and found some but it said it wasn't soluable in water is that normal. Does it mix in or sit on top? I live on a lake and I hate using chemcals for fire ants they are terrible and hard to get rid of. Just when I think I have them under control it rains and they are back determined little buggers. I do appreciate the info I want to try this soon.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Rucky, I add either colloidal soap or safer's soap so the oil mixes better.

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

Thank you .....look out ants I'm rearming!!!!!

Kurten, TX(Zone 8b)

I have some information regarding fire ant bites that I have been wanting to share for a while. Plain white toothpaste rubbed on a fresh fire ant bite will keep it from blistering the next day. I keep a tube with me outside all summer, sometimes my feet look white around the ankles and toes in the evening, but no blisters the next day. This is one of those "good things" :)

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