Leaf cutter ants

jeff_12422December 18, 2013

Is there a safe way to get rid of leaf cutter ants in the veggie garden? All the research I've done says that Amdro is the only remotely effective (and that's only 30% of the time) solution, but it is NOT to be used on anything other than grass and ornamentals, not near livestock and not near food production gardens. So what do I do to keep my veggies safe??

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V8Vega(9)

Have you tried Diatomaceous Earth?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 3:58PM
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jeff_12422

I haven't yet. That was on my list of things to try, but I have read that it also harms beneficials like earthworms... I guess that's the price I'll have to pay, but I'm wondering if there isn't another way.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 6:09PM
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lazy_gardens

Trace them back to their nest are and apply the amdro there - very carefully, following the application instructions exactly.

Have you tried distracting them with other plants?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 9:51PM
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V8Vega(9)

I use Amdro on my land, but I don't like to. It works great though. I wiped out 12.5 acres of ants with a couple of cups.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 10:13PM
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jeff_12422

LazyGardens, do you have any recommendations for plants to sacrifice that would distract them from the edibles? Is it enough to just plant flowers or herbs around the perimeter?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:01PM
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lazy_gardens

It would depend on what they are eating. They tend to cut flat leaves like roses and other shrubs or trees.

I don't have them - or at least not enough of them to notice.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 1:07PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Are you certain the leaves are being cut by ants? I have never had such a problem and the only leaf cutters around my house are wasps who cut rose leaves. I would try the DE; your worms are underground and are not likely to slither through the DE.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 2:25PM
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jeff_12422

TM, yes, I'm certain. I can see the trail of them coming up from the water drain in the patio (not sure where they're coming from to get in there) and traipsing right up the side of my raised bed. There are always 3-4 on the plants, munching away when I go out there. I shake them off, and I put down a mix of borax and sugar which only slows them down for a day or two.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 3:15PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

If you interrupt the ants trail, they may go elsewhere to search for food. This article - and most I found - focus on keeping them out of your house, but stopping the trail is key anywhere.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eliminating ant trails

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 6:46PM
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jeff_12422

That is helpful -- thank you! In all the reading I've done, I never saw that they leave a scent trail to follow.

I'll be giving several of these a try! Hopefully something will work -- my raised bed is my "proving ground" to DH that I can grow stuff in our yard. If I can't make this work, we don't get a "real" garden. I found what I think is the actual mound so I'll be treating that, too.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 6:51PM
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toucan(9)

Baby powder works great

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 5:18PM
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