Aggressive ants!!

socksJune 18, 2014

Anyone else have ants? They have not come in the house, but they are nesting under decorative rocks and climbing the camellia. I sat a potted plant in the shade, and when I came back to rework it a few hours later, the small black ants were circling the rim and collecting under. As I brushed them off and moved the pot, they attacked my legs, climbing up and biting. Anytime I'm working in the garden, they find me and get on my legs and higher and bite.

Are these the regular black ants we have sometimes, often in the kitchen? I had no idea they were so aggressive. I'm thinking of looking at some brand of spray like Safer (is it really "safer?"). Have a dog, so no "devices" he could get to like those metal traps.

Anyone else having this issue?

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There is an Ortho Home Defense product that is safe for pets and children after it dries.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:12PM
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I'll check for that. I've been spraying with a vinegar solution, but it it just seems to make them madder. I got one on a piece of tape and looked at it through the hand lens. It could be the Velvety Tree Ant.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:51PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Usually it is Argentine Ants.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 3:16PM
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The Argentines are a uniform color, I learned, and the Velvety Tree has a reddish thorax. They are mean little devils. If they don't bite you going up your leg, they crawl inside your clothing until they find a good biting spot.

Here is a link that might be useful: ant

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 3:33PM
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I got to looking at the trail going up my post. Some of them have a clear abdomen with stripes.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 4:31PM
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Here's a link to where I found the Velvety Tree Ant. He kinda has stripes. It's amazing how sensitive they are to any disturbance and how fast they move to stop it. They are brainless insects, but they know what to do.

Here is a link that might be useful: ant id

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 6:00PM
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CA Kate

Brainless? I hardly think so.
They (mine are tiny ants) check out a project ( quarter-sized piece of bread);
Decide how many workers they need;
All gather, get under and around, lift as one unit;
Move it to target location;
Where another organized group cuts it up into teeny-tiny pieces;
And another organized group takes each piece back to their storage room.

I know humans who couldn't pull this off.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:15PM
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I have the teeny tiney little brown ones have trails all over outside. I spray them when they become 3+ freeway lanes. A few decided my steam iron inside near a window had a couple drops of water in it was better. Sprayed the window sill and cleaned it up, they were back overnight.
Put the iron outside they left it...without turning it on.
Brought it back inside, they returned.

This post was edited by gobluedjm on Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 20:25

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 7:58PM
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Westelle, what a good observer you are! Humans could do it, but there would be lots of arguing and it would take 3 weeks, include a change of leadership, a workers' strike and end up over budget.

Oddly, I haven't seen "my" ants in a couple days. Maybe the vinegar didn't appeal to them.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 1:08PM
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CA Kate

Actually, the ways of insects and animals has long fascinated me. Everyone thinks they're not smart just because they don't speak the way we do or because their brains are so much smaller than ours. I think their brains are just as big as they need to be for their size.

Q. Does your pet understand what you say to them?

Q. When was the last time you understood what they said to you?

(Well, there was the Blue Jay that was quite angry with me when I ate the last cherry off the tree. I'm pretty sure I understood every screech it sent my way. ;-D )

As to agressive ants: I do have a can of Torro Ant Spray on the top-most cupboard shelf that I will use if absolutely needed.

goblue: I'm sure they had a perfectly good reason for deciding your indoor iron made a good mineral/food source. Maybe they couldn't find it outside... given their relative size.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 1:59PM
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I haven't sprayed for Argentine ants,but I have eliminated aphids on Oleander- cut it down- and other plant hosts..that dropped the ant population way down. And - remove old boards and the like on the ground they like to nest under...the boards or rocks warm the larvae.
Removing food and shelter works forever...sprays? Not so long.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 2:40PM
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I've disturbed several nests of ants while gardening this season. They erupt like lava from under the soil and up my pant leg as I do the shaky kicky dance drawing strange looks from the neighbor. I put Grants Ants stakes out where I see them and they fade. I have seen far less than I had prior and they have not come in the house here as they have next door.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 3:03AM
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I have had serious ant issues outside since moving into this house in October, but lately it seems to be worse. After being out of town for about 2 weeks, I returned to find our closet full of the Argentine ants! YUCK! There had to be thousands of them trailing across shoes and clothes. I removed everything that was on the floor of the closet and immediately numbers dropped. By the next day I had someone out to spray (don't judge) and most of them seem to have left the area. We did discover that the Japanese maple next to the house had become their method of getting onto the eave and roof and where, I suspect, they were getting inside. We have now cut all branches back so none are touching the house. Seems to be helping. But they are still everywhere in the yard and flowerbeds.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 11:29AM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

Ours are Argentine ants, not super-aggressive except for the "soldiers" which can and do nip. However, I live in coastal CA and we are one of THREE ant "mega-colonies" in the world.

The CA megacolony extends the entire length of CA - 560 miles!

I invest every year in a quart of ant bait. I have two 'super stations', one front and one back. Terro works great for small colonies but I had to buy so many little bottles, it was getting expensive.

I switched to "Gourmet Liquid Ant Bait" from Innovative Pest Control Products in Boca Raton, FL. Supposedly works for sweet-eating ants, except for fire and harvester ants. You fill a dispenser (the refillable ANTOPIA 6 Bait Station is the specific model I have, I think the "6" is just a version #).

I set this (new purchase) up about two months ago. The ants around this station and for at least 20 ft around are greatly reduced so far. The only things you have to be careful of is 1) making sure the small foam "float" is on top of the liquid bait before you cover the top, and 2) remember to open the top and clean it out every once in a while, and check how much liquid bait is left.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 7:45PM
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Ants dislike coffee grounds if they are coming in and you don't want to spay.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 11:00AM
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coastalcamper(CA--Sunset 14)

Terro also makes a product that's granular with Borax. Be sure to get the Terro in the plastic jug that says "Contains Orthoboric Acid." They make other granular products with other (and unpronounceable) ingredients.

I've watched the ants carry the granules back to the nest. In a day or so, they're all gone. It's worked best when I've poured a small pile in the middle of their trail. When I've tried sprinkling it, the ants seemed to have a hard time funding it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 10:01PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

I've used the Terro liquid and granular products. Both work very well, but I switched to the bait stations because they're protected from washing away by either rain or hose spray.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 12:42PM
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slowjane CA/ Sunset 21

for what it's worth cinammon sprinkled in a thick line around the base of the kitchen door worked for me. they were all over the kitchen, at least the vanguard was - and i'm pretty sure we are on the mega-colony described - more little mounds than i want to think about in the back yard. but - the cinnamon defense line is holding.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:19AM
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