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geonuc
2008-Aug-16, 09:52 PM
We have fire ants in our vegetable garden. How do I kill the little beasts without harming the plants (or us)?

There's one huge mound that is centered right around my best producing serrano pepper plant. :mad:

cope
2008-Aug-16, 10:08 PM
Any home improvement place will have a specific insecticide for fire ants. I can't remember any of their names. Also, the "do it yourself" pest control places sell a number of products.

Most of these products are baits that the ants take back into the colony and, hopefully, are eaten by the queen. When she dies, the colony moves to new digs (often not far away).

Remember that the entrance/exit of the colony is not at the top of the mound. Treatment chemicals need to be spread around the edges of the mound.

geonuc
2008-Aug-16, 10:15 PM
Any home improvement place will have a specific insecticide for fire ants. I can't remember any of their names. Also, the "do it yourself" pest control places sell a number of products.

Most of these products are baits that the ants take back into the colony and, hopefully, are eaten by the queen. When she dies, the colony moves to new digs (often not far away).

Remember that the entrance/exit of the colony is not at the top of the mound. Treatment chemicals need to be spread around the edges of the mound.
Yes, but I'm real wary of putting insecticide in my vegetable garden.

chrissy
2008-Aug-16, 10:18 PM
I found THIS (http://www.kill-fireants.com/fire_ant_control.htm) interesting, it might help, we don't have fireants here. :)

geonuc
2008-Aug-16, 10:29 PM
I found THIS (http://www.kill-fireants.com/fire_ant_control.htm) interesting, it might help, we don't have fireants here. :)
Thanks!

Be glad you don't. Nasty critters.

mugaliens
2008-Aug-16, 10:48 PM
We have fire ants in our vegetable garden. How do I kill the little beasts without harming the plants (or us)?

There's one huge mound that is centered right around my best producing serrano pepper plant. :mad:

and


Yes, but I'm real wary of putting insecticide in my vegetable garden.

Buy a non-serrano pepper plant-eating anteater.

chrissy
2008-Aug-16, 11:54 PM
and



Buy a non-serrano pepper plant-eating anteater.

Wouldn't it be just an anteater then?:doh:
Unless the anteater likes its ant hot and spicy! :think:

TrAI
2008-Aug-17, 07:43 PM
Wouldn't it be just an anteater then?:doh:
Unless the anteater likes its ant hot and spicy! :think:

Perhaps the ants get a spicy taste and smell from eating the peppers, and you want the anteater to know the difference, so that it doesn't eat the plants too...

billslugg
2008-Aug-17, 08:39 PM
I have been dealing with the nasties for 26 years. Any product that you use will take 1 to 2 months to kill a nest. In every case I have found that a remnant of the colony simply relocates to another spot in the yard and within a few weeks is back to strength. They are very wary and will spook easily and simply pull up and move 50 feet away.

The only truly effective way to kill them is with volatile hydrocarbons. They are extraordinarily sensitive to such. For a large mound, I will put one cup of solvent mix on the mound, cover with a 5' by 5' plastic sheet, weight the edges with boards and rocks to seal tightly. The fumes are heavier than air and will penetrate down to the queen's chamber overnight and kill everything.

By the next day, the returning workers will have fled the mound and reestablished one about 5-10 feet away. That one takes a tablespoon to kill. A third tiny one will form the third day and must be dealt with.

Solvent mix comes from a jug I keep in my flammables cabinet. It takes all remnants of mineral spirits from parts cleaning, paint thinner from cleaning brushes, whatever.

I don't mind this small contamination of the environment. I have a 6 year old who rides his bike outside my shop. If you have ever seen a young 'un covered with ants, screaming his head off, and covered with itchy pustules the next day, you would not mind either.

geonuc
2008-Aug-17, 08:43 PM
I don't think my pepper plants will take kindly to that sort of chemical warfare.

chrissy
2008-Aug-17, 09:04 PM
And nothing will probably grow there for a while either, I wouldn't want to plant vegetables there after that or eat them . :(

billslugg
2008-Aug-17, 09:34 PM
Agreed, I would not put miscellaneous shop chemicals in a garden.

If you are working around edibles, then you might use acetone. It is lethal to the ants, and has no harmful effects on plants or humans. It occurs naturally in the human body and is broken down in the liver to produce sugars.

Boiling water will kill maybe half the ants in a colony, but I think it might kill the roots of the plant.

Actually, if the only concern you have is proximity to a plant, then just do nothing. It is not going to hurt the plant, and ants are easy to avoid if you know where they are and do not step in the nest.