Garden ant infestation

seattlesuzeMay 14, 2005

Anybody else facing massive ant infestations this year? I've discovered huge colonies all over the garden. While I generally take a live-and-let-live approach to critters and insects, I'm concerned about being overrun.

Are these good guys, bad guys, or does it depend? If it's not a good thing, what's the best way to treat? My garden is organic unless my plants are seriously under threat and then the gloves come off...well, actually the gloves go on and out comes the mean chemical solution.

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I'd be alarmed if I found massive ants in my garden as well. (I saw 'Them').

Are these coming out of holes in the ground or thatch piles? You said 'huge colonies', as though you were talking about thatch ant mounds.

Carpenter ants gnaw wood, including structures, so these have an obvious pest characteristic. Otherwise, the main problem with an abundance of ants in the garden would probably be aphid farming. Don't know if they all do this or not.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 12:53AM
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Ron, you made me guffaw! 'Them' indeed!

The ants come from holes in the ground, under rocks, in the asphalt cracks of the driveway, beneath the black pine, blue spruce, coral bark maples, and cherry trees. I know they were aphid farming on the cherry (we removed the leucaneum scales by hand a couple of weeks ago). Do you have any recommendations for what to use to diminish the population? We're very fond of sitting on the lawn in the warm weather, but our insect frustation hits the limit with mosquitoes. Not wanting ant bites on bare skin, no,not me.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 1:31AM
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nightnurse1968 (Suzy)

I have seen some ants that I was suspicious about too. Being new to gardening in the area I am not so sure of all the little pests. I do know something is eating my plants and I don't think I can blame it all on the slugs. Someone mowed several of my cucumbers to the ground. Would that be a slug? Seems more like a bug would be doing it and I have seen some largish looking ants carrying things around the garden. "Things" more than likely being my plants! :-) Advice on how to rid my garden of such pests would be appreciated as well. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 12:06PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

I have them too -- ant hills, ant colonies and the worst: carpenter ants! They were aphid farming on my artichokes, chewing the side of my house and trying to take up residence in my greenhouse. I have a couple of ant hills up in our fields which don't bother me, but there's way too many close to the house. Chemical warfare is on here!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 3:52PM
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Mearth(z8PNW B'ham)

The grounds around my office have been infested this year. Applied at midday when many ants were busy (dense traffic), a 1:1 solution of Dawn to water has done the trick with just 2 applications per nest. The ants keeled over almost immediately. The next day, when the new crew was forging a new path (they didn't seem to want to cross the grisly trail of cousin carcasses)I sprayed 'em again. That did the trick. That was 2 weeks ago and we're still ant-free.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 4:02PM
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Bet there's a movie called 'Dawn of Death', too.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 6:28PM
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'The Last March.' The ants go marching one by one...

Thanks all. I poisoned 'em.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 4:27AM
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shellbell3252(z7 AL)

Im haveing a night mare with ants in my strawberrys they were there last year and ruined most of my strawberries!well I dont want to share antmore!!! HELP SOMEONE ANYONE!! Itryed the soap thing well see if that many parts of soap to parts of water?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 9:17PM
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Helen_vancouver(z8 BC)

My friend has the same problem. She thinks her house is built on ant hills! They are everywhere: in the greenhouse, the yard, in the house. She has been using boiling water and pour it into the hills. Another method might be Diatomaceous Earth. It's organic and safe to humand and pets. Only thing is, I'm not sure if it will kill ladybugs too?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 10:56AM
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sampanther(z8 WA)

I noticed lots of ants in my garden yesterday. I have a book full of garden tips called "Trowel and Error" by Sharon Lovejoy (no, not Ann Lovejoy) She suggests putting a mound of dry cornmeal near an active mound. When they eat it, it expands inside, killing them. She also mentioned diatomaceous as others here have. It might still be a bit too wet outside for either of these to work.

There is also a recipe for an ant hotel:

"Mix 10 teaspoons corn or maple syrup with 1 teaspoon borax. Pour a dab of the mixture into small, lidded plastic containers. Poke holes in the lid large enough for the ants to enter and set the covered containers in areas frequented by ants."

Sharon notes that ants are good soil aerators and food for birds and lizards.

I am still going to do something about the ones in my garden because they have been crawling all over me when I work in the garden. They don't really bite like fire ants do but it is still a pain.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 4:42PM
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i have had the same problem over the last several years. I have moved them from the front door to the driveway and now to the sidewalk with cayenne pepper. it does not seem to harm them just makes them move out. also I plant herbs where they used to be that keeps them from moving back,especially aromatic herbs

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 9:38PM
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Maybe try telling some of your birds to eat them, too.

>Im haveing a night mare<. that must have been really painful esp. the hooves.>Hopefully nobody from the PNW will be posting questions here about how to deal with fire ants anytime soon.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 10:35PM
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OMG!!! I am speechless to the ENORMOUS infestation of ants I have here at the new house in southwest Ontario! No one warned us of course. Black ants, teeny tiny redish brown ants called farel ants (so I am told) and flying ants by the billions. Every step is a hole literally, as well as the strangest thing I have ever seen! Bigger holes not far from the several small ones which have debris such as leaves, maple keys,tiny sticks or rocks pulled down into the hole to protect the hole (I guess.) They are hard workers and fast! AS WELL AS strange looking stuff that looks like tiny excrement pellets or maybe pellets of dirt, but looks like excrement around some holes with the debris pulled in to close the hole underneath it. Thousands of these entries / exits all over and they are hard when walked on - like stepping on a rock. I have HUGE patches of dirt where there are thousands of ant holes and these strange entrance / exits. The entire patch of dirt also has sand that they dug up on top and GRASS WILL NOT GROW ON THESE PATCHES. I have spent over $2000 on attempts to grow grass, insecticides, boiling water, digging spots up, and pulling out the debris to open the holes and then watering. The flying ants hatch at different times and at dusk. Monday in the back yard. Wednesday in the side yard, etc. I have sprayed as many as I can see as they attempt to fly out, but there are thousands of holes, as I said. PLEASE HELP ME SOMEONE...PLEASE!!!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:45PM
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