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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Sep 4, 2015 7:55 AM CST
I never had a problem with ant colonies under my plants (in my regular garden 'soil' aka evil clay) until I started creating perfect ant habitats with raised areas, sheltering rocks, and sandy/gravely soil for precious little plants.
Of course, it makes sense that the ants, previously relegated to places like cracks in the driveway, would find these garden areas quite suitable.

Anybody else have ants in their rock gardens?
Tips or suggestions?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Sep 4, 2015 8:15 AM CST
Yes, they love the same soil as the plants.
I sprinkle cinnamon where I want to weed.
It does not kill them , but makes them move to another area of the garden.
I find them in some of the containers too.
They sometimes carry off small seeds, so I add a sprinkle of cinnamon to seeds.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Sep 4, 2015 8:22 AM CST
I saw some small ant bait stakes that I thought I'd try, but I never got around to purchasing any. I do have cinnamon on hand, so I'll give that a try. Thanks Caroline. Thumbs up
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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Sep 4, 2015 8:25 AM CST
I have a horrible problem with ants. Almost all my beds are raised and quite amended. I have hundreds of colonies, not kidding! I actually would not mind them too much if they just did not bite!

My mom was visiting last week and put coffee grounds in an area I really wanted to plant with some sedum. Like cinnamon it does not kill them. But it got them to move along.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Sep 4, 2015 9:18 AM CST
Ants have ruined a few plants here,especially the low growing ones like heucheras and some geraniums. I like the cinnamon tip.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Sep 4, 2015 1:29 PM CST
No help for in the ground gardens, but I do tend a lot of troughs: the only ones ever infested with ants are those that actually sat in direct contact with the ground for long periods.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Sep 4, 2015 5:41 PM CST
Thanks all,
Ah yes--all of my gardens are in the ground, or above ground, but on the ground--
It is the ruination of little plants that I am mostly worried about--discovered an extensive nest system under some saxis, with their excavations burying some plants. One gentian disappeared.
More of a nuisance than a threat in the big rock garden in association with the bigger plants, but the little ones...
I'm thinking it's probably not so good to have their roots all disrupted and their crowns buried as we head into winter.

Why can't the ants set up under the creeping thyme or some other indestructible plant that I have too much of?
Name: Jeanie
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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foraygardengirl
Sep 9, 2015 1:28 PM CST
You are all so kind to the ants. I, on the other hand, pour boiling water into the mounds if they are in a place I don't want them. If they aren't hurting things in my garden, I leave them alone.
I use a funnel to direct the boiling water specifically into the ant colony so that I don't cook my plants in the process. Occasionally I dig up a plant or two, treat the colony, then replant after.
:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:
Old gardeners never die. They are just pruned and repotted.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Nov 11, 2015 9:06 AM CST
@foraygardengirl You are a gal after my own heart. No ant problems here just mice. We 'harvest' them all year long in reuseable traps. Yuk but they can be horribly destructive. I haven't built my rock garden yet but it is in the works for next summer/spring. Will keep an eye out for the smaller beasties and keep the hot water and funnel available. Hmmmm. If I found mouse holes wonder if that would work.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Jeanie
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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foraygardengirl
Nov 11, 2015 10:20 AM CST
Mary Stella,
I might be kind to certain anthills, but on the other hand I have voles in my yard and have no reservations about slaughtering them..if I only could. Unfortunately they are smart and generally avoid traps and baits, but I keep trying.
:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:
Old gardeners never die. They are just pruned and repotted.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Nov 11, 2015 11:12 AM CST
Hilarious!
Well my ants were living directly under the crown of my saxis so not really an option for boiling water.
I did feed them poison; seems to have worked. Hoping the plants will be able to recover and survive winter
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Nov 11, 2015 11:17 AM CST
The traps we use are little white plastic sort of half round things. You bait one end and set the trap so when the mouse walks in it smooshes him flat against the opposite side. Works better than conventional traps, not dangerous to plants or pets (unless you have mice for pets). A little spendy but we wash them in hot hot water and rebait. We average about three mice every day or so using about four or five traps.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Jan 26, 2016 6:21 PM CST
Oberon46 said:The traps we use are little white plastic sort of half round things. You bait one end and set the trap so when the mouse walks in it smooshes him flat against the opposite side. Works better than conventional traps, not dangerous to plants or pets (unless you have mice for pets). A little spendy but we wash them in hot hot water and rebait. We average about three mice every day or so using about four or five traps.


These traps sound interesting, Mary! Do you have a brand name or website that sells them? We have a rural place, and mice get into all of the outbuildings, our travel trailer, and now we have them in the greenhouse. I have been using conventional traps, but need something better.

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Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Mar 8, 2016 3:06 AM CST
BTW while I was lifting up rocks in the steppe, the other day, I was surprised to find that each had a ant nest( not hill, since there were holes flat under the rocks). They are black leaf cutter ants ( beyond that... perfect NOIDs). The barren steppe dry as a pile of bones could be.. somehow managed to keep these critters happily provided in an environment VERY different from my garden just a few miles away!. I wonder on what they thrive since each one of the 9 rocks had a nest! Instead in my garden, red Argentine fire ants have taken over the same ecological niche. And I've got millions of them everywhere, in the borders, in the lawn, inside my house if... I let them in. They are gently reminded with spray over my doorstep and for some months decide for better. They are a nuissance in our organic greenhouses because they herd black aphids here thither... there they can not be sprayed directly so, if we find a hole near then they get some liquid straight into it. In my flower beds I very seldom spray stalks and stems when they are literally covered in black aphids. With the rest I pretend that I've not spotted them. Then the red army lieutenant switches to a different flower group and the sprayed plants are left alone for about two weeks. This is how we play the ecological/chemical war game in our farm...
wondering, that if ants thrive also because of the heat pump that is a sun-warmed rock that radiates heat later, would rock plants also benefit of thermal radiation by growing next to these rocks? Has any rock gardener discovered something along the thermal line ( I know I've been told not to deviate from the original content of the thread but.... Rolling my eyes. Hilarious! )
Name: Char Mowatt
Stockbridge, GA (Zone 7b)
"Let the earth bring forth..." Gene
Cateyes856
May 10, 2016 8:06 PM CST
foraygardengirl said:You are all so kind to the ants. I, on the other hand, pour boiling water into the mounds if they are in a place I don't want them. If they aren't hurting things in my garden, I leave them alone.
I use a funnel to direct the boiling water specifically into the ant colony so that I don't cook my plants in the process. Occasionally I dig up a plant or two, treat the colony, then replant after.


Sometimes I feel like I have an ant farm!!! We are trying this trick!! Hurray!
Char...retired and loving it!
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
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pardalinum
May 10, 2016 10:19 PM CST
I did the boiling water thing on an anthill a few days ago. After things cooled down I checked and noticed the survivors removing dead ant bodies from the nest. OK, I can see them wanting to clean house a bit after that, right?

Then the next morning I went out and noticed all these black specks on a white office chair mat (repurposed to prevent weeds) about three feet or so from the hill. The survivors had set the bodies on this mat! Was this their graveyard?? Watching closely I saw ants picking up bodies, carry them around on the mat, then set them down again only pick up another body and repeat. I must have sat watching this for 10 or 15 minutes, it was weird! They were moving the bodies around on the mat!

The next day all of the bodies were gone! Maybe birds ate them or maybe the ants moved them again. Shrug!
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
May 11, 2016 3:16 AM CST
Sounds like the mat was just a staging area...?
Name: Jeanie
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Replace your lawn with a garden!
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foraygardengirl
May 11, 2016 7:03 AM CST
Sheesh, that sounds like a Twilight Zone episode. Kinda creepy. Maybe they are actually tiny aliens...
:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:
Old gardeners never die. They are just pruned and repotted.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
May 11, 2016 7:51 AM CST
Twilight Zone... Yes!!!
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
May 11, 2016 11:41 AM CST
A google search turned up lots of links, here are just two that I read.

http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/on-the-death-rituals-of-a...

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140708-corps...

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