Has anyone actually been able to eliminate them? Some years they’ve been worse than others for me. From the looks of it so far, this is going to be one of those worse years.
You pretty much have to learn to live with them and just keep them under control.
That is not the answer I hoped to hear. Anyone have a way to either keep them out of gardens or to safely get them out of at least those areas? I get tired of being bitten up and having them harm what I work to grow. I get especially frustrated when they go after the young kids.
Does the Terro borax based poison work on them? It wipes out colonies of our local ants.
If you can work with your neighbors and poison at the same time it will help keep them at bay longer. If you poison this month and your neighbor next month they will just move back and forth. Also, the baits work well but once you open the container they become less effective. We have them bad here and they are bad about getting into containers. I believe Once and Done can be spread on the lawn and kills them for 3 or six months but is not approved for veg. gardens. This is by memory so I could be wrong on the brand name.
Yeah, Gary, it’s Over 'n Out. I call it Once and Done half the time, too. Between repeatedly buying that and Amdro bait, I feel like I should own a little piece of the industry. I do treat all of the area that we actually use, but not the entire property because the rest is brushy woods. Even when the ground is treated, they get under the pool apron and beneath the asphalt. I try to treat right before rain because it’s around an acre that we use and that’s more than can be properly watered in with a hose.
Often, after I do mound treatment, new and bigger ones pop up nearby in areas that I know I spreader treated at the same time as the doing the mounds. I know time flies, but this stuff is supposed to be effective for 6 months, and 48 hrs does not = 6 months. Maybe it’s less effective in heavy clay soils.
@Tylt33 Thank you for the suggestion. I haven’t heard of that for this type of ant. These critters have colonies that go yards beneath the surface and stretch out ridiculous distance beneath. I have used the borax based bait for common nuisance household ants before. It worked just fine on that type.
Have you tried the Twenty Mule Team laundry booster Muddy. It is said to be toxic to ants in extremely small quantities. I think the Terro stuff is just boric acid mixed with a sugary syrup. It also kills termites. I cannot say what difference in effectiveness there is between the boric acid formulation and the regular borax, but they look identical other than the Terro stuff is ground to a fine powder. You can get it at less than a dollar a pound at wallyworld.
It is not however safe around all plants, but neither is the Terro stuff. The USDA found it to be an effective herbicide for Creeping Charlie.
Apple’s logic sounds good. Just make sure if you use the borax, don’t overdo it. 20 mule borax is the same thing as the old agricultural borax used as a trace mineral.
Borax is a necessary trace mineral for fruit trees but as they say, “a little dab will do ya”. 1ppm in soil is about right, 3ppm is toxic. A foot acre of heavy soil weighs about 4 million pounds, so adding 4 lbs. of boron will add 1 ppm if your soil is heavy. For a 1/2 acre it would take only 2 lbs. of boron to increase the boron content in soil by 1ppm. As I recall, 20 mule borax is 13% boron.
It would take about three 5 lb boxes of 20 mule to increase the boron content of a 1/2 acre by 1 ppm. That sounds like a lot of 20 mule borax, but know that boron is inorganic and doesn’t break down. It will leach a little, but for the most part it will build up from year to year if you use lots of it to kill fire ants.
Just want to emphasize what Appleseed mentioned, “toxic to ants in extremely small quantities”
Thank you to all of you for taking the time to reply and offer your insight. That means you, too @insteng. Just because I don’t want to hear that I can’t totally eradicate them, doesn’t mean it’s not true. I “liked” each of your posts to show my thanks.
I think I’ll test out the borax on the blacktop, driveway cracks, and maybe on the landscape timbers in a poison ivy thicket. It’s a long U shaped driveway through the woods, with lots of cracks where they come up. I can’t really effectively treat the ground beneath these things with the products I’ve been using, anyway. I might have some borax on hand from science demos. If not, I’ll buy some.
I guess I’ll also give in and do one more round of Over 'n Out and Amdro, at least around the pool, playgrounds, and perimeters of the veggie gardens. This would probably be much easier if I had a “normal” manicured lawn instead of what I have.
Olpea…the company claims it is 99.5% pure with the remaining 1/2% being naturally occurring trace minerals. Now whether that is 99.5% actual boron, I cannot say, maybe it’s just 99.5% pure “run of mine”. I don’t think that’s the case though…I think it is actually nearly pure boron. Seems to me I remember reading where this was tested and the companies claims were found accurate.
Boron is a very interesting material and is used for a mind boggling number of things. The Welsh impregnate their framing lumber with it as it is a pesticide/termiticide as well as fungicide and fire retarder. I think cellulose insulation is treated with boron if I’m not mistaken. It’s only drawbacks in this regard is it is very water soluble.
I’m sure you are right, however I was referring to boron content. Borax isn’t the same a pure boron. It’s been a while since I looked at the formula for agricultural borax (same chemical formula as 20 mule) but as I recall the actual content of boron was 13%.
Oh…ok, I see. A few years ago I read the story of the guy that started mining it here in the USA. Very interesting and interesting how the product got the name “20 Mule Team”. I think I remember that the US has the largest deposit of it in the world. There are a few other places with large deposits also, but they must be somewhat rare.
There is one good thing about fire ants. They reduce the amount of ticks in an area. We seldom get ticks on us even though we have woods all around.
And there is a way to eradicate them. The tawny crazy ants were found to have been imported to Houston about a decade ago. Where they get established they out compete the fire ants and the fire ants leave. The problem is the people that now have the crazy ants wish they had the fire ants back. Turns out the crazy ants like electricity and short out compressors and also like to inhabit buildings. They were imported by accident and now are another invasive to worry about.