Ants! In my aggregate!

kea2October 4, 2007

A month ago I converted a basil plant from potting soil to clay pellet passive hydroculture. Today, I noticed that some ant-like insects were crawling in and out of the clay aggregate. I took the entire pot and submerged it, with the plant still in it, in a bucket of water. Sure enough, dozens and dozens of ants floated to the top. Carrying their little white eggs. And their queen! My boyfriend squished the queen.

I uprooted the poor basil, soaked the roots in a bucket of water to drown/remove the remaining ants, hosed off the pellets in a strainer, put them in a basin, and then poured boiling water over them. I let them soak in the hot water for a couple of minutes before re-potting the basil. Should that be good enough to kill the remaining eggs?

I hope that wasn't too much stress on the plant. It did have a good number of healthy-looking water roots, so I'm not too worried.

Has anyone ever had a problem like this before? An ant nest! How did you solve it?

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greystoke(South Africa(11))


Probably came in with the soil. My yard is alive with ants. But they're not too much of a pest if you know where NOT to go. They sometimes get into the containers, but I leave them alone untill the slow season. Then I do the same as you.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 4:22AM
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convert the basil from a passive to an Ebb & flow system, that will almost certainly solve your problem and prevent its recurrance.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 11:20AM
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I think I'll go with the cheaper option - a moat. I haven't seen any more ants in the aggregate so far. Are ants harmful to the roots?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 3:47AM
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greystoke(South Africa(11))

Ants are carnivorous kea. The times they get into my containers, I've never seen any problems to the plants. They also don't seem to bother the plants in the garden.

They're harmless as long as you know where they are. Never harass them, but if you want to kill them . . . kill them all.
Never rock the boat! Not unless you can sink it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 5:11AM
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