Ants - Natural solutions

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Ants - Natural solutions
2
Fri, 05-03-2013 - 4:12pm

I really want to do a garden this year, we are in Texas.  I did a small raised bed garden last year, I didn't start it until late August and just did green beans as a trial run for this year.  Boy am I glad I did.  We have/had fire ants, but we've had a lawn service for the past few years to try and get rid of them as I am allergic to them and we have small kids.  The lawn service was good and got rid of them for the first 3 years, but last year, the fire ants were replaced by acrobat ants.  So my beans ended up covered in ants.  I would love to do a garden again this year and have been researching natural ways to get rid of them, or at least keep them off the plants.  The biggest things were cinnamon, diatomaceous earth, and mint.  I am thinking I will plant mint plants around the edging of the garden inside the box and then mix cinnamon with the diatomaceous earth and surround the outside of the box with it.  My brother said mint plants can overwhelm the space, so I need to do more research but I am wondering if as long as I make sure to prune to keep them under control.

Has any one else had any problems or good results with getting rid of ants or at least keeping them off your garden plants?

Photobucket
Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 05-06-2013 - 9:38am

Yes, the acrobat ants seem to be primarily around our patio area, we have several water damaged, rotted wood beams and we are in the process of getting quotes to have the structure taken down and rebuilt in anticipation of selling the house.  They are also in all the trees in the yard, which are all thriving trees, so I am a little perplexed at why they are there.  And then the fire ants, yes, the dreaded fire ants.  I thought they were contained to the back yard, but they seem to have come back in full force.  I hate using too harsh of products with the two little girls running around yard so much, but I hate them not being able to run around the yard because of the ants.  Texas has definitely been frustrating..  So glad we are moving back north!! 

Thanks for the info on the mint, I had no idea it did underground roots like that.  I may just have to stick with container gardening this summer and start fresh with a big garden up north next summer.

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Sat, 05-04-2013 - 12:08pm

Luckily we don't have fire ants in NW Ohio (but I do remember them from our yard in Houston and I hope they don't move north, thank you very much!); I've never heard of acrobat ants but I feel for you as ant bites make me swell up and itch for days!

Can't say much about how to fend them off except that mint IS invasive and it spreads by underground runners so pruning won't help much. You really need to put down a root barrier to contain it. We planted it in Calfiornia and it took over! Eradicating it is a lot like eradicating ants so I'd be very careful with planting mint...

Have you tried the bait that they use on fire ants --- that the ants take back to their nests and it kills them in situ? DH says he thinks it was called "amdro" or somthing like that... DOn't know if it is safe to use around food, through... and I found this site on how to get rid of acrobat ants: http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/acrobat-ants-c-1_204.html It would seem they are relatives of carpenter ants and have their nests in rottong logs adn the like so first I would try to clear the area of any possible wood piles that would be attractive to them! Then try the honey and peanut butter bait system this site recommends tro find their trails.  But it sounds like poisons are your only solution there...