The Q&A Archives: indian herbs

Question: How do I get rid of old Indian herbs? I dug up the flower bed in my back yard and the soil is infested with ants and bugs I have never seen before. The flower bed is by my back door and the ants started to come into the house. We had an exterminator come out for approximately six months to get rid of them and I just found it easier to leave the flower bed alone. It looks so shabby and I want it pretty. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to kill the old herbs, control the ants & bugs, and what kind of seeds would be nice to plant?

Answer: Your objective is to kill the queen and change the ant's environment into one that is less hospitable. Since it's just one flower bed, it shouldn't be too difficult to either get rid of the queen, or convince the colony to relocate. Boiling water can be effective in some cases, but ants can tunnel deep, so if the water doesn't come into direct contact with the queen the ants you kill will simply be replaced with new ones. To make a bait fit for a queen, mix 1 cup of sugar, 4 teaspoons of boric acid and 24 ounces of water in a glass jar. Shake the mixture thoroughly until all the crystals dissolve. Pour 1 cup of this mixture into a smaller jar filled half way up with cotton balls. Screw the lid back on, seal around the band with weatherproof tape and punch a few small holes in the center of the lid. Draw a skull and cross bones on the jar and keep pets a children away from the jars!

Put one of these in the flower bed near where you see ant activity. The ants will enter the jar, eat the sugar and return to the nest and pass it on to the rest of the colony-including the queen. A less toxic recipe includes mixing 2 parts molasses, with 1 part sugar and 1 part dry yeast. Use this to bait the jars in the same way.

If you want to try a different kind of physical treatment, spread diatomaceous earth around the mound. To ants, these tiny ground up bones are sharp and deadly to cross. It may eventually convince them to pack up and move to a new location, and it will work its way into your soil and help with aeration at the same time. You can also try mixing up a slurry of orange juice and orange peels. Pour this directly into any ant hills you see. A chemical in citrus fruit is supposedly toxic to ants.

Good luck!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by mcash70 and is called "Moss on a log"