So, We don't really want ants in our gardens, right?

woohoomanNovember 21, 2012

Let me get this right -- Ants are neither a beneficial nor a "undesireable." But, they DO usher in aphids and whiteflies(undesirables).

So, NO ants, right?

If I am correct, can somebody please list some ORGANIC forms of ant control besides DE. I plan on using DE anyhow since I just got a 50lb bag of the stuff. But, I'd like to nip it in the bud possibly combine techniques.

Also, is there an efficient way of spreading DE? I've used a kitchen strainer to lightly dust areas, but it's kind of a pain in the a**. I was hoping to find a better way without having to invest in a power duster.

Next, Let's say I finally break down and invest in a power duster. Any recommendations?



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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You are wrong about "no ants ". In most instances, they are benign and probably beneficial. It does depend on the type of ant and the population.

I never recommend the broadcasting of DE as an appropriate control of ants or anything else. As a matter of fact, you may very well end up with more ants than you started with. Indiscriminate use of DE can harm the natural populations of predator arthropods and other beneficial creatures that inhabit the soil. That's the last thing you want to do.

Is your product a horticultural/food grade or something sold for pool filtering? Pool filter stuff is useless for controlling pests and can be dangerous to broadcast in your garden.

I am curious, where did you get the idea that no ants should be allowed in the yard? Ants may take advantage of honeydew-producing insects, but few species move them around or increase their numbers. They are attracted to the sugary excrement, but so what?

If you seem to have an abundance of ants, I suggest that you concentrate on pest control (aphid, whitefly) by strongish sprays of water, insecticidal soap. If you have a problem with fire ants, there are organic bait products available. Trying to eliminate every ant will almost certainly result in an imbalance in the the advantage of pests.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:55AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no .. no.. no.. no ...

just about everything you said is wrong ...

mostly because.. we REACT to an actual problem..

we do NOT willy nilly start eradicating things.. on the face of mother earth.. for no good reason ... besides the fact that you heard or read it somewhere .... [probably from the power duster seller.. lol]

when you do such.. basically .. you are a polluter .. because you are introducing things to the ecosystem that are NOT necessary ...

please research IPM .. aka integrated pest management .. and start there ... google it

the basic premise is:

ID the problem

treat the problem..

in the least invasive manor ...

sorry.. but if you really want a power duster.. you are going to have to come up with some other reason to buy one.. like applying baby powder to yourself every morning ... lol ...

thank God you asked ... good luck.. with your ants and all ...


Here is a link that might be useful: this is all the power you need for the baby powder ...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Rhizo1. I never said that ants were BAD.

Here's where my reasoning comes from -- I hardly ever notice beneficials in my garden. Spiders sure, but hardly ever do I see ladybugs or a preying mantis and definitely not any lacewings.

I do, however, see tons of ants. I also see lots of earwigs, aphids and whiteflies.

I've bought ladybugs 3 times just to see them head off somewhere else after a few days.

Then I did some research. I read that whiteflies and aphids(while not causing a whole lot of foliar or fruit damage), carry pathogens which can cause plant disease. I also read that ants harbor them and protect them from ladybugs.

It could be partially my fault because(with my limited space) I tend to not plant too many "beneficial-attractive" plants.

So, when I research which pests are beneficials and I see no mention of ants, I conclude that they are neither beneficial nor pest. But, if they PROTECT pests and chase away TRUE beneficials, then exactly how BENIGN are they?

By the way, Food grade DE.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Keep in mind, Kevin, that most all of the information about insects out there is aimed at the "conventional" gardeners who are led to believe that almost any insect is bad and must be destroyed.
Ants are part of Ma Natures recycling machine helping to clean up this planet after us so we don't bury ourselves in our junk.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 6:52AM
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I have certain areas in my garden with lots of ants, I've noticed that they seem to like "nesting" (for lack of a better word) in my moss rose which turns brown & spindly (Is that a word?!) after the ants move in... Even though I really don't like them, (yes, they sting!)I dislike the stuff needed to eliminate them even more so I just let 'em take over. Just wondering if they're the reason the moss rose is going ugly on me. Any suggestions are welcome!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:08PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I see from another thread that you are in Texas...which makes me suspect that your ants are fire ants. If so, they are quite capable of
killing plants. There is no way that I would let fire ants take over any portion of my yard.

I suggest that you look into Amdro Fire Ant Bait for application in the spring.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:35PM
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