Orchids forum: Carpenter ants

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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Feb 25, 2018 11:04 AM CST
Grumbling I recently moved the orchids outdoors as our weather has been warm. I put them on a seedling heat mat to maintain the temp until the weather stabilizes. Nights are in the 60's now but are forecast to be in the 40's toward the end of next week.

This morning I went to water and found the bark in several pots infested with carpenter ants. They are a common problem here in mulch and leaf litter but the pots are on the deck, 6' above the soil. I have had infestations in my compost bin and cleared them up with diatomaceous earth. Do you think that would harm the orchid roots if I sprinkle it on the surface and around the pots? I have found these ants difficult to control, your usual ant sprays do not bother them at all. I know they are eating the bark and probably not the roots but they bite and I want them gone.

Any ideas?

Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Feb 25, 2018 6:39 PM CST

Moderator

I would think it is alright to use. That bit of CaO present isn't enough to change the pH and if you grow some Phrags, they might even like it.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Feb 25, 2018 7:14 PM CST
Yikes, I had not even thought of the pH, I was more afraid of the razor sharp diatoms irritating the roots.
Maybe I am over thinking this, I hate these ants.

This afternoon I found carpenter bees trying to bore into the platform for our HVAC units (they have to be up off the ground here.) I seem to be fighting an all out war on carpenter insects! Grumbling
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 25, 2018 9:42 PM CST
I think DE is what I would use for carpenter ants in orchid bark, Alice. Just wash it off the plants once the ants are gone. Put it on the deck all around the plant, too so when they go out to forage they'll have to walk through it.

Bait is the preferred method, though. From what I read a while ago about them, they change their diet during their active season. So a sweet Boric acid bait like Terro might also work sometimes, then suddenly they want the fatty bait like Aamdro. Try putting out both kinds of baits, as well to see which one they take. You can literally stand there and watch them walk by one bait and stop to pick up the other if you place it in their path.

I'm with you, seeing pests and weeds like I've never seen before, this season! Was it the hurricanes or what??
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Feb 26, 2018 6:48 AM CST
The sudden summer-like weather certainly didn't help.

Thanks, I'll order some DE and Terro and hope that takes care of the evil ants without harming the plants.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.

StellaPhelps
Apr 14, 2018 4:28 AM CST
As you said that you have found these ants difficult to control, and ant sprays do not bother them at all. So, why don't you call up exterminators?

Because total extermination of an entire carpenter ant population can affect areas of your house and that can be a seemingly impossible task. If you choose to ignore the importance of preventive behaviour, it may invade your home, plants and cause damage to it. If you had found out a larger nest, then it is a sign that the nest has been building for a while and you may have to seek experts help. There are many exterminators that you can find out in Internet like City Pest Control, www.positivepest.net, Insects control, etc., where they will use the best method to eliminate the problem.
[Last edited by StellaPhelps - Apr 14, 2018 4:29 AM (+)]
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers Greenhouse
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Ursula
Apr 14, 2018 7:09 AM CST

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Stella, welcome.
Just a question, are you by any chance related to the exterminator?

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