View Full Version : What do you do to control field ants?

2011-Oct-10, 09:03 PM
Field ants aren't exactly "pests", but they bring slight annoyances when they are too numerous.
We don't want to wipe them out; we just like to control them.

2011-Oct-11, 01:52 AM
When I owned my house, well, see here (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/73044-My-summer-aspirations...?p=1222314#post1222314) for the background, I wound up concluding that the time-honored tactical thermonuclear strike was the only way to be sure.

2011-Oct-11, 02:24 AM
Honestly, we tried quite a few things, such as buying the powder from the store, pouring "camp fuel" (naphtha) or lubricants on the nest, killing the workers with window cleaners, etc, none of them work at all.
Without any workable methods, we quit.

2011-Oct-11, 03:07 AM
Here in south Georgia we have red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta. They are extremely resistant to insecticides, the ones that work take months. The slightest disturbance will send them to a new nest 50 feet away rather than kill them, they dig 8 feet down to make a queen chamber, many nests have multiple queens, are interconnected and span acres.

There is one sure way to kill them, although they will move back in unless you treat a large area, say an acre, then you will have a few months of solitude.

Place a cup or two of spirits around, but not on, the mound. Gasoline works very well as does paint thinner and lacquer thinner. Any petroleum distillate will work. Gasoline has many nasties in it and is not environmentally a good idea. Low odor paint thinner is fairly pure and less damaging to the environment. The key is to place a piece of plastic over the mound. It should be about 3 feet by 3 feet. The edges should be sealed to the ground with dirt, sand or weights. The sun will evaporate the liquid. The vapors are heavier than air and will migrate down into the queen's chamber, killing her.

We get one or two human deaths in the south every year, usually bedridden, comatose folk. The ants will come into the house looking for water and food. Their bite is quite painful, itches like mad, forms a pustule that will scar if picked.

By the next day, there will be 5 or 10 percent of the colony having returned from foraging wondering what the hell happened. Repeat the treatment again and then a third time to get the last few stragglers.

2011-Oct-11, 03:24 AM
Sorry, even acetone doesn't work here.

2011-Oct-11, 05:16 AM
Lets see. My best way to solve the problem is to say:'Stop whining. They arent fire ants' :)

That probably isnt all that helpful tho. I have the same ants as billslugg: Fire ants. Fighting them is a rearguard action at best. Diazinon kills them dead, but they come back. Like bill said, they just move shop.

Diazinon is nasty stuff tho, and nerve gassing any other kind of ant is probably overkill. Illegal here in the states, too. May not be a problem in Canada.

2011-Oct-11, 11:41 AM
"Sorry even acetone doesn't work here."

Acetone is not a petroleum distillate. ALL ants are exquisitely sensitive to petroleum distillates. Secondly, you MUST cover with plastic and seal the edges or the vapors will not settle down into the colony far enough to get the queen.

2011-Oct-12, 02:39 PM
I, myself, swear by terro liquid ant bait. The ants eat it and feed it to each other and the queens. The active ingrediant, boric acid, has the same LD50 as table salt and kills insects by dehydrating them. Plus because of the mechanism by which it kills them, ants can't develope a resistance to it.

If you provide enough feeding areas it will kill a large nest of argentine ants in three days. Dead and gone.

2011-Oct-12, 02:47 PM
I, myself, swear by terro liquid ant bait.We live in the woods, so we aren't worried about the ones outside, but we don't like the ones that invade the house. Periodically some nest will decide that foraging inside is easier than foraging outside. Like BigDon, we've had great success with Terro. It has the additionally useful feature that they'll swarm the bait (which can be right near an entry point to the house), and then head back to the colony, rather than pushing further in and finding the pantry. So it kills them long term, and sequesters them short term.

2011-Oct-12, 03:01 PM
Since we are on the subject, and I don't have any nearby fire ants, I was wondering if somebody could test the effectiveness of Terro liquid baits on them and report on it?

Argentine ants kill them, but are considered invasive themselves though they don't bite or sting people. It might be time to decide which invasive species of ant you want. The bitey, stingy, eat people in the nursing home kind or the kind who can cover a four year until she's black and they just make her giggle. (Beside's home invasion, the main fault of Argentine ants is they wipe out all the local kinds of ants in an area.)

2011-Oct-12, 04:27 PM
I agree on Terro vs. argentine ants -- 2-3 days tops. The odorous house ants, however, will eat the stuff for weeks on end before they finally succumb. During the last invasion, I got to see the effects of the end game. It wasn't a pretty sight.

2011-Oct-12, 05:54 PM
"Odorous house ants"?

I'm not familiar with that one ABe.

I guess you're outside of the Bay Area Supercolony?

( For the folks at home: There's only two other argentine ant supercolonies in the world. The New Orleans Supercolony and one on the European coast of the Med who's name escapes me. Somewhere in France I think. In Argentina they don't make supercolonies. They are too genectically diverse at home so each individual colony smells different enough to elicite an attack response from their neighbors. Thus, they keep themselves in check.)

2011-Oct-12, 06:37 PM
Since moving out of the Central Valley, I haven't had to deal with the argentine ants at all. The odorous house ants, Tapinoma sessile (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapinoma_sessile), are the main pest here although we get the occasional carpenter ant wandering through. I first learned about the odorous house ants in an on-line pest control identification key (sorry, I can't seem to find the link right now). It was the only key I've seen where you have to crush the specimen between your fingers and determine the odor before proceeding to the next couplet. Pretty cool.

2011-Oct-13, 05:23 AM
terro liquid bait?!

2011-Oct-13, 05:29 AM
terro liquid bait?!

That's the stuff. I don't know how well it would work on your ant problem, but it may be worth a try (assuming the ants are coming into your house, that is). Also, I should point out that, as far as I know, none of us here are trained, professional exterminators.

2011-Oct-13, 05:54 AM
I was certified to spray critters, mites and fungal pests under greenhouse conditions.

But considering some of the other boneheads who also had a certificate I can't really boast about the fact.

"Wait! You can't do fractions, yet they let you mix up 200 gallon vats of diluted nerve gas?"

So I'd pump about 1600 gallons a month on average.

That makes me the resident exterminator by default!