Friday, April 8, 2011

Grrr . . . Ants!

Sorry, folks.  This is going to be a grumpy post.  Stupid, stinky fire ants have taken over my beautiful raised garden bed. I've been fighting them off for about a week now.  The peppermint oil spray helped with the aphids, but the ants don't seem to mind it at all.  I even tried pulling leaves from the lavender and mint plants and placing them on and around where the ants were congregating.  Nothing.  This morning I found a large mound in that corner of the box, right around one of my tomato plants (which has little baby Romas on it . .. . YAY!).  I'm not concerned for the plants (the ants don't seem to do anything but eat other bugs in the area, but I can't let my kids freely dig up our radishes, and even I don't want to dig around in there even with gloves.  A friend suggested oatmeal or grits, which I've heard either kills them or does nothing but provide more food for them.  Since I'm already feeding them, I figured it was worth a shot, so I have oatmeal back there and a backup box of grits ready to go.  Anyone have suggestions in case those don't work either?


  1. We have a lot of fire ant mounds around here. Last year we had one moving around the solution wasn't the best but it worked. Basically I just went after them with a stick and dug up their home. They would move and I would do it again. Eventually they moved out of the garden. My husbands solution was gasoline but can't pour that in the garden.

  2. Uggh, I feel for you... We had fire ants in GA. Here it's snails. I can't keep on top of them, and they eat everything in my garden. Sigh.

  3. Sadie, I think if nothing else works, I'm going to start an ant relocation program. I dug up a pile out front and that seemed to work, but They just end up someplace else. And these particular ants seem to be all over the box.

    Fire ants are awful little creatures. Do they actually do any GOOD for the ecosystem???

    Oh, Kim, I wouldn't know what to do with snails either. Luckily my oldest likes them, so she just picks them up and plays with them elsewhere. We don't have many though.

  4. Oh, no!

    Thankfully, we don't have fire ants here, but I remember them from my TX childhood! It seems like my mom used to use orange peels, but I don't remember exactly what she did.

    You can always pour boiling water on the mound, but that might damage your plants.

    Have you ever used Bugs R Done? We use it here for the occasional critter that gets in the house when Dad isn't available to catch and release! It claims to be totally natural and non-toxic.

    It's not fair to have a garden that your girls can't explore! Good luck--I hope you find something that works!

  5. I have heard that if you take a shovel full of ants from one colony and dump it on another colony, they will fight and destroy each other.
    Never tried it, but would be curious to know!
    :) Good luck. They are hateful little beasts.

  6. I read this chemical-free way to get rid of ants in the April issue "First" magazine:

    "In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of molasses, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of active dry yeast. Pour 1/8 inch of the mixture into shallow jars or bowls... The molasses and sugar will attract the pests, but since they can't digest the yeast, they'll die after eating the mixture."

    I've also heard that grits work.

    I've never tried either, but I wish you luck at getting rid of them!

  7. Thanks, Sara! That sounds promising. I think I just fed my ants with the grits, though. I'm beginning to think my fire ants are like roaches and could survive an apocalypse.


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