My garden is a huge ant house!

socalgirl-10June 27, 2008

I can hardly even water my plants there are so many ants, it freaks me out they are crawling all over the boxes, all over the plants, and all over me. I have two dogs that are often in my garden area and I just do not know what to do. Any ideas?

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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Socalgirl - I have many ants, as well - but they are actually beneficial to me. They seem to really go after the aphids on the okra leaves. So far, they have caused no problems at all. Of course, I may have a different outlook as the season progresses.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 4:57PM
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ohiobill

this is my first year sfging. i too have ants like crazy. i'm not too worried though because i know ants tunnel a lot and should help keep the soil loose like the worms do. i'm not sure what you can do if they really bother you. i have heard of one thing you can try. they say if you sprinke corn meal on the area with the ants they will take them "home" and they try to eat them, but can't digest it and die. at least your not adding poison to the soil. hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 6:37PM
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mirindas

engineeredgarden,
Ant 'farm' aphids. They probably brought the aphids to the garden. The ants feed of the goo the aphids make. If you get rid of the aphids you may get rid of the ants.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 10:44PM
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Melissa Houser

Just because of this thread, I paid attention to how many ants were on my raised bed today. I counted about 20 crawling along the rails and dirt, but it didn't seem excessive to me. That may be because I'm in South Florida, where the state animals are mosquito and ants! :)

Are the ants eating your plants? Or are they just milling around? If they are affecting food production, you might want to try to get rid of them. If not, I'd let them help pollinate things.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 11:14AM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

My garden is loaded with them too and I once posted a question very much like yours and fortunately someone here at GW told me what good things they would do for my garden...This year I had a large infestation of aphids and the ants took care of them posthaste. I just try to avoid coming in contact with them and let them do their thing..the only ones I worry about are the really bad ones that we have in our area..fire ants....they can chew your leg off below the knee before you can get them off of you.......j/k of course but they are nasty mean.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 11:35AM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

We have fire ants and I use Diatomaceous Earth to run them out of my garden. Have also poured boiling water on their nests. Their bites are nasty, for some it leaves a blister that becomes an infected sore and leaves a scar.

Peggy

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 2:05PM
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socalgirl-10

Well for now I am leaving them, but I probably have 1000's of them. No aphids but tons of ants.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 4:13AM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

yeah, well, I went out there today and was looking at my 8 ball zucchini plant. It took a while to come up, but, it finally did. But, the leaves were practically totally eaten. Guess what was all over them? You got it...ants. And, they are not fire ants. I will put some DE on them, but, I would be caution about any advice suggesting that ants dont harm gardensand that its okay to have them around. They eat green things, and sweet things, including lettuce, radishes, berries. I am hoping my plant will be okay, but, I wish I knew how to put pictures up on this site..I could show you what they did to my garden.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 8:47PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Mirindas - that's good information. I guess i'll let them stay for now, but will definitely keep my eye out on things.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:30AM
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mrswaz(Z5A NE WI)

Get rid of them! I read so many times here on GW to "leave the ants, they're beneficial", beneficial my foot. They've been eating my lettuces, spinach, bean sprouts, herbs, chard...you name it, it has ant holes in the leaves. I tried an organic, all-natural oil and soap spray...nothing.

Although I've been attempting an all organic garden, I'd had enough and sent DH to the hardware store. He came back with some OrthoMax product that you put on your garden hose- works on ants AND mosquitos, among a few others. Worked beautifully, and I'm ant free. The bonus is that I'm mosquito free as well, while all the neighbors are busy slapping away and spraying spray. But don't let anyone fool you into thinking ants are your friends.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 7:29PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

mrswaz...finally someone who gets it! There have been so many on here telling everyone that ants are beneficial.."they herd aphids!"....uh huh...they also eat everything in sight. "Live and let live" was another brilliant post a while ago...yeah, too many do their own thing on here and then they wonder why they have all the problems that they do....and they have a lot of them-all you have to do is look at the thread topics..

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 7:13PM
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aijiko

Does it occur to anyone that there are many types of ants that eat many kinds of things. Some may be beneficial because they eat damaging insects and others may protect the aphids you're trying to get rid of or eat the plants you're trying to grow. It depends on the species, and there are different species in different areas. Only you can decide whether they are working with or against you by close observation. It may be beneficial to take a few in a jar to a university or some other institution where they could identify them and possibly tell you the most effective way to control that particular species. Just a thought. ;)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 9:04PM
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jeremyjs

If they're not hurting anything I'd just leave them be. They're probably eating your pests. If they're harming something and you want to get rid of them you can make a bait with a little 20 mule team borax and jam. The nice thing about the borax is it's less toxic to people as table salt.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 1:01AM
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