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One of my planter boxes is infested with ants.

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Suich Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-18-11 03:03 PM
Original message
One of my planter boxes is infested with ants.
Any suggestions on how to get rid of them?

TIA!
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Denninmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-18-11 08:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. Ants. I hate them in the garden like Indian Jones hated snakes.
Edited on Sat Jun-18-11 08:19 PM by Denninmi
I don't dislike them in general, I just don't like them in the garden. I know they can be beneficial, but we have a couple of tiny species here, one red, one black, that are very aggressive and do sting quite nicely when accidentally disturbed. I can only imagine what people in the South go through with fire ants. Ours are nothing compared to those.

Oh, yeah, maybe I should actually answer your question instead of ramble.

Conventional control -- any good granular insecticide for soil based insects should take care of them.

Organic control -- try putting about an inch of diatomaceous earth on top of the planter. As they track through it, they'll get coated and take it into the nest.

Manual control -- if you can do it without too much damage to the plants, you can try to dig into the nest, disturb it, and as they come to the top to see what is happening, cook them with a propane torch. Keep stirring and cooking until there aren't any survivors. This works in the garden, but in a planter may be too tight of quarters to do this safely. Pouring boiling water into the nest works, too, but will also kill plants in a planter box most likely.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-19-11 05:56 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I destroyed an ant nest with diatomaceous earth
No muss, no fuss, no pesticides!
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-19-11 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. That is an excellent suggestion.
I had forgotten about diatomaceous earth, and have never used it myself, but this is reputed to work for all insects.

Good call.
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trud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 03:40 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. about diatomaceous earth
Wasn't there some thought that that is a respiratory hazard to humans?
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I have not heard that, but I have no doubt that it would not be safe
to breathe it in. Come to think of it, diatoms are silica, and they get rid of insects by tearing into them, so yes, that would damage the lungs too. Thanks for saying that.

For anyone wanting health information, here is the Material Safety Data Sheet that does indeed caution against breathing it in or getting it in eyes:

http://www.hasaindustrial.com/msds/114.pdf
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-18-11 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. Although I don't have an easy answer, it is important to know what kind
of ants. Or at least are they black ants or brown/red ants. For the most part, black ants are attracted to sweet and brown/red are attracted to oily. The only way I know that you could get rid of the ants would be to use a poison unless you dump the whole planter and start over. Any home remedies that I know about will kill the plants as well. Bait poisons have to be for the right kind of ant, since sweet will not attract oil-liking ants and vice versa.
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trud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-19-11 05:30 AM
Response to Original message
3. I would dump the contents of the planter box far away and
wash the heck out of the planter box. Also wash off the area well around it since ants follow trails, is my understanding.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-19-11 10:22 PM
Response to Original message
6. Cayenne Pepper repels ants. I have used it and it worked for me. nt
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
8. in my experience
it is impossible to control ants. i have them in my house, and they have actually done a lot of damage. my kitchen is in my basement, and the little bastards just wont give up. gives me a reason to love winter, when the little bastards are hibernating.
i will try the remedies here. i like the propane torch thing. satisfying, i think.
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. If they are the black ants that like sweet, I control them
Edited on Mon Jun-20-11 06:35 PM by Curmudgeoness
with a product called Terro liquid ant bait. This has not worked for me on ants I once got in my Crisco that were brown ants. But it works wonders every time with black ants. Really rather disgusting for a day or two---you put it out where you see ants and let them take it. They will go get all their friends and really gross you out, but after a day or two, no ants. I have used this for about 40 years, and although the formula is not the same as then (it was arsenic), it still does work.

So, if you find ants "impossible to control", this is worth it.

Editted to add: http://www.terro.com/
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. i haven't used that. thank you for reminding me.
i recall way back when that it did a good job, and had a good reputation.
i have a great hardware store near me that i bet money will have it. they sort of cater to building owners and maintenance guys. every single thing they sell is the best, and is what the customers ask for. great service, too.
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I have one of those hardware stores in town too.
Locally owned, and it has survived for years with Lowes and Home Depot up the road a few miles. I go no place else.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. if only they had building supplies.
but- light bulbs? they have a zillion. locks? only the best. bulk janitor supplies. TTOOOLLSS. good ones, not the pared down crap they sell at the home despot.
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