Ask a Question forum→Ant hill in my vegetable garden

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Calgary, Canada
michers5
May 15, 2020 2:44 PM CST
Hello all!

I have 5 separate wooden planters in my garden. This spring we noticed a massive ant hill in one of them. We tried everything to get rid of them (we tried dumping pales and pales of boiling water and then ultimately used a little gasoline to burn them out).

We thought we got rid of them but it looks like they just moved into a different planter (I hadn't noticed till recently as it was my last planter to weed). So now all my other planters are full of vegetables and seeds and I'm worried if I do something to these ants they'll move into one of my other planters with all the vegetables and create an ant hill there.

Any thoughts/tips? I'm at a loss here!

Thanks!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
May 15, 2020 3:14 PM CST
Down south, Amdro is a popular bait.
Here, I use Terro brand ant bait products.
I think both are said to be carried to the colony and eventually kill it.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: sumire
Reno, Nevada (Zone 6a)
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sumire
May 15, 2020 3:39 PM CST
I usually mix a couple of gallons of insecticidal soap and just pour them down the ant's nest. (I have pets and worry about the bait blocks....)
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Calgary, Canada
michers5
May 15, 2020 4:03 PM CST
I guess I should mention too I would eventually like to use the soil so nothing that is going to render the soil incapable of use! Do you know if your solutions would be safe to plant vegetables afterwards?
Name: sumire
Reno, Nevada (Zone 6a)
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sumire
May 15, 2020 4:12 PM CST
Insecticidal soap is safe for your garden. It contains potassium salts and fatty acids (rendered plant oils). I use it on my vegetable garden, container plants and orchids as needed to kill bugs. The nice thing about it is that it only kills insects because it softens the shell of the insects hit by it so that they desiccate, you can get it all over your hands without any particularly dangerous effects. (You still shouldn't intentionally eat or drink it....)
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
May 15, 2020 5:12 PM CST
I agree with Sally. Terro is the way to go. If you get the bait that is contained in the little stakes that push in the ground, it's usually safe for pets to be around. I've used this for years. For me, nothing works better than this. It kills all kinds of ants. Using this does not damage the soil because it isn't placed in the soil.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
May 16, 2020 7:40 AM CST
You dumped gasoline in your raised bed?

I have fire ants... and... for the most part, they do more good than harm.

so... I just work around them.

seems to be concensus among the people that study these things... that the more you fight them... the more you are going to end up with...

whereas... when we accept the inevitable... the populations level off.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 16, 2020 10:23 AM CST
michers5 said:I guess I should mention too I would eventually like to use the soil so nothing that is going to render the soil incapable of use! Do you know if your solutions would be safe to plant vegetables afterwards?


You poured gasoline on your soil and you are worried about Insecticidal Soap? I'm not sure its usable now.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
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sallyg
May 16, 2020 11:01 AM CST
Excuse me, fellow responders, but this new member asked for help going forward.
If I were new, I would be pretty sensitive to criticism.
"A little gasoline" could be a tablespoon, we don't know.

Educating someone is all well and good but won't be well received if it is framed in criticism.

Please be gentle. I know from past that I have unintentionally offended someone on these forums. Brief written comments can be easily misinterpreted in tone. Smiling I hope MY comments here are not misinterpreted in tone. I just want us to stay 'welcoming' Smiling
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Bryan, TX
WAMcCormick
May 16, 2020 1:33 PM CST
I have never seen those fire ant populations level off. They have been thick everywhere I have been for many years. In my yard I use bifenthrin granules. In my garden and around fig trees I have used laundry soap with good results. Several years ago I experimented with soaking mounds with water till the dirt was mushy, then patting and stomping it down to a slush, then repeating that twice more within 4-6 hours. That worked every time, and they did not move.
If it takes a long time to grow, remember that if nobody plants it, nobody has it.
Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
May 16, 2020 2:37 PM CST
We are getting fire ants here, now. I don't have any myself, but we have them in some of our Master Gardener projects, and they're all over the lake front where I fish. I stepped in a couple of nests fishing one summer and my feet were bitten so bad I had to call in to work the next day. Evil little boogers!
I've never tried to get rid of them anywhere.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
May 16, 2020 8:55 PM CST
I doubt that michers is fighting fire ants in Calgary Canada...
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
May 17, 2020 2:21 PM CST
gardenfish said: I stepped in a couple of nests fishing one summer and my feet were bitten so bad I had to call in to work the next day.


Thumb of 2020-05-17/stone/8107d8

Here's what I got from gardening barefoot a few years back... didn't stop me...

One time partying next to my garden pool, I fell out of my chair... and as my senses were a bit out of my control... it took a while to get out of the fire ant bed... I had bites on top of bites! My leg felt like a carpet!

I'm still not taking the ants seriously...

[Last edited by stone - May 17, 2020 2:25 PM (+)]
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Name: sumire
Reno, Nevada (Zone 6a)
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sumire
May 17, 2020 3:06 PM CST
I was visualizing the ants they had where I lived in Idaho. The workers were about 1/4 inch long and the ant hills about 2 feet tall and 3 wide.... I always worried about camping out there: I could imagine being dragged off in the night.
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
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gardenfish
May 18, 2020 12:47 AM CST
Stone, that's exactly what my feet looked like. Problem was when I tried to put shoes on.... if I could have worn flip flops to work I would have, but I worked in a deli and health regulations wouldn't let me. Now when I'm fishing I'm very careful about where I put my feet! I guess their just a way of life here now, like chiggers, mosquitos and ticks. I still don't like it when I'm working a garden bed ( not my own, but an MG project) and they start swarming up my arms, biting as they go. The little buggers move fast!
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
Name: Bea
(Zone 8b)
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bumplbea
May 18, 2020 12:57 AM CST
To get rid of yellow jackets I pour a little gasoline into their hole at night. Gasoline is heavier than air and stays down toward the bottom and kills the yellow jackets. Never had a residual effects from it.

Also for ants the traps by taro are great if no animals around. Outside i have to many animals. I use horticulture vinegar with olive oil and dish soap. If all else fails I'll get out the torch and burn the nest at night. Be safe, only if it's a safe area away for flammable objects. I burn a lot of weeds with the torch works great. It takes practice and a skill I learned from my grandmother.

I’m so busy... “I don’t know if I found a rope or lost a horse.”
Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
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gardenfish
May 18, 2020 1:11 AM CST
Flaming weeds works well. So does vinegar for weed removal. I tend to go for fixes like these. I wouldn't use gasoline, that's a personal opinion, but I can understand about using it for yellow jackets, especially if you have a problem having a lot of them. To me, next to paper wasps, yellow jackets are the most horrific of the stinging group, and they attack all together. I've run over a ground nest at times with the lawnmower when I lived elsewhere, and received many stings despite running away as quickly as I could. I don't have them here. I do have paper wasps, and I knock the nests down with a large stick and then spray with a wasp spray. I'm allergic to paper wasps, I have to be very careful.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
May 18, 2020 6:44 AM CST
gardenfish said:I've run over a ground nest at times with the lawnmower when I lived elsewhere, and received many stings despite running away as quickly as I could.


This is a very good reason for retiring the lawn mower and opting for a natural look!

I used to run into the occasional yellow jacket nest while operating a string trimmer... such an ugly look... trimmed plants...

I used to get the occasional yellow jacket nest in one of my garden beds... and for a while, when I wanted to turn the soil and re-plant... I'd pile brush on top of the bed and light a fire in the evening...

Broke my heart, though... killing those poor things... eventually, I figured out how to share the space with them...

With an acre of raised beds... I could make room for a nest... what space requirement did the bees have? maybe a foot and a half?

I've never found them to be aggressive, unless I was doing something stupid like running noisy equipment over their living quarters....

Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Container Gardener Lilies Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Zinnias
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gardenfish
May 18, 2020 8:59 AM CST
I agree with that. Glad I don't have any in this yard. I do have a lot of different pollinator wasps, but they are not aggressive.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa

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