Southeast Gardening forum: A poll: ants or mosquitoes

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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
May 31, 2018 3:00 PM CST
There's no doubt that these are the 2 most major cons regarding gardening in my location, excessive heat & humidity notwithstanding. And it's equally obvious that ants are the more loathsome pest. Mosquitoes don't... "infest" pots, march into the house when it rains, dictate where I can stand or which weeds I can pull and when, kill potted plants if left to their own devices, or put & farm pests on plants.

I can put on mosquito spray if I need to, and it works, but there's nothing to stop ants from biting my feet, that I know of.

Which do you loathe more?
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
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Deebie
Jun 1, 2018 1:52 PM CST
I'm with you for all of the above reasons. Fire ants are my most loathsome pest. I'm allergic to them on top of all else. As far as I know, only the female mosquitoes bite for breeding purposes.

Tiffany, do you all have those giant Asian mosquitos yet? I've seen them in a couple of different counties here in SC. They came in with the hurricane last year. Just seeing them flying around gives me the jitters. Thumbs down
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jun 1, 2018 2:01 PM CST
Ants seem to be a bigger pest to me. I was in the work shop yesterday and looked down and saw a trail of them. I had an empty breath mint tin with the lid closed on the work bench and they were finding someway to get in and it was full inside with ants.
Fire ants are normally bad but not so much the past few years. I have seen the crazy ants move in and wonder if that is why the fire ants are not so bad anymore. Not sure that is going to be a good or a bad thing.
Mosquitoes could be a danger, but they normally don't cause us much of a problem here, even with the lakes nearby the stream at the edge of the property and the fountains in the yard.
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
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Deebie
Jun 3, 2018 9:02 AM CST
What are 'the crazy ants', Larry?
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jun 3, 2018 9:33 AM CST
@Deebie
http://www.terro.com/crazy-ant...
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Jun 3, 2018 3:55 PM CST
Think it depends where you live, for me in MN, it's our state bird, the mosquito.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
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Deebie
Jun 3, 2018 5:37 PM CST
Wow, thanks for the eyeopening link, Larry. I think I've seen them a time or two, but never knew of their mode of operation or the damage they cause. I've been so focused on keeping an eye out for fire ants. Blinking
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jun 3, 2018 5:48 PM CST
I'm not bothered by either.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 4, 2018 8:05 AM CST
When I lived in OH, mosquitoes were only an evening/night thing. I was never bitten during the day, and was rarely inside at all during daylight hours. AL mosquitoes will bite any time of day or night.

In 38 years of gardening, hiking, "wildflower hunting (pics only, I've never disturbed a wild plant,)" all kinds of outdoor activities, I never got bit by an ant in OH, or had them swarm onto my body. I was never afraid to sit on the ground in OH. AL ants of all kinds will bite, and will swarm up your feet and legs to do so. Fire ants leave a worse and longer-lasting welt, but all of the bites hurt & itch. I would never sit on the ground anywhere in AL, and never stand still anywhere without checking the ant situation, unless it's at the beach.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jun 5, 2018 3:59 AM CST
I say ants also, although mosquitoes are carrying all sorts of diseases now. Fire ants are not as big a problem to me as carpenter ants are. They live in the mulch and in my compost bin and they swarm and bite like crazy. Now I wonder if they aren't those crazy ants. I am going to have to take a closer look - which won't be hard, they are everywhere. I know of people who have died from fire ant bites, few die from mosquitoes so ants are the bad guys!
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Will Currie
Hoke co NC (Zone 8a)
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UncleWill
Jun 7, 2018 10:10 PM CST
Day or night? By day I have ant mounds everywhere, must be careful where I stand and can't weed to long around them. By night the blood suckers drive you inside as soon as the sun sets. I live in a swamp and no chemical counter measures will stop them. I don't garden in the dark (normally) so no ants would be nice, but I can work around the ants whereas there's no escaping the mosquitoes. Tough call.
Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jun 8, 2018 6:00 AM CST
This morning I have to change my opinion. We had some heavy rain a few days ago and all of a sudden there are swarms of skeeters. I live on the salt marsh and mosquitoes are a given but for the past 2 days it has been impossible to go outside. I don't have to worry about the ants if I am housebound by the others. LOL
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
Jun 9, 2018 6:51 PM CST
I don't have fire ants so I can tolerate the regular kind. I spray mosquito repellant as soon as I get to the bottom of the stairs. I would be slapping and getting nothing else done in the yard otherwise.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 10, 2018 5:00 AM CST
I'm not talking about fire ants, either, just the regular little brown swarming kind. When I woke up this morning, they had swarmed into the bathroom. Someone had left an empty soda can next to the sink & there was a solid line of ants coming through the window, down the wall, across the floor & up to the sink. It is these ants that dictate where I can stand, which weeds I can pull & when, fill pots with their egg nurseries. They're relentless.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jun 10, 2018 6:23 AM CST
@ardesia,
Carpenter ants are large wood eating ants, Crazy ants are very small.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jun 10, 2018 7:44 AM CST
It sounds like she has the same kind as here. They are also the reason I gave up on composting in a dedicated pile and now compost in place in beds. Moving any compost from the former pile meant automatically getting covered in ants, and moving more ants to beds, like I was cultivating ants on purpose. But they are just everywhere anyway, nothing I do seems to make any difference to them.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Aquaponics Hibiscus
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ardesia
Jun 10, 2018 9:03 AM CST
Thanks, good to know. My ants are very large and they love compost, bark mulch, even the orchid bark in pots. I sprinkled some diatomaceous earth in the compost bin and that does help. I stuck some Terro ant bait stakes into the orchid pots. The ants have to go into the trap where the bait is contained so I am not worried about it getting into the soil.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Virginia
Charleston, SC (Zone 8b)
Kรถppen climate classification Cfa
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scvirginia
Jun 12, 2018 4:03 PM CST
This year I've seen a surge in the number of ants in the yard. I have no idea why it's so much worse, but I am very grateful that I haven't seen fire ants recently. (Hope I did not just jinx myself there.) They are the pits.

Some ant species are repelled by cinnamon. Cinnamon also supposedly encourages root growth, so I wonder if adding some cinnmon to your potting mix might discourage ants from colonizing your pots?

I haven't really experimented much with cinnamon outdoors, but when I once had an ant problem indoors, I found that sprinkling cinnamon strategically around the outlets where they were coming in was effective. It was messy, and needed repeat applications, but I wonder if cinnamon oil might be longer-lasting and not as unsightly. There are probably other oils/spices that would work as well or better...

Mosquitos tend to bother me more, but it's a close call in terms of nuisance ratings. When I come inside, I do have to wash off the remains of the mosquitos I've slapped, so that's kinda yuck.

Thanks for the info on crazy ants. We probably have them, but I haven't noticed them. Will have to keep a look-out.

Virginia



East-Central Mississippi (Zone 8a)
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RadlyRootbound
Jun 12, 2018 4:18 PM CST
I have noticed that the fireant problem has seemed to decline as well. I remember when, if you had one fireant hill in your yard, you probably had at least half a dozen or more, but there only a couple of small mounds on my 1 acre lot now, and I haven't bothered to treat them. Lately I have had an infestation of little black ants that have tried to take over my house since the A/C went out a few weeks ago. They found my sugar stash in the bottom cabinet, so I bought some liquid ant bait and that has reduced their population, but I'm almost out of it. I have heard that you can make your own ant bait/poison with sugar water and borax, so I bought a large box of borax and will try it. I just got my A/C fixed today (thank goodness!) so I'm hoping the cooler temperature and reduced humidity will not be so attractive to them as well, but right now, I'd vote for ants being my greater pest.

However, my daughter would likely disagree with me, because mosquitoes will be biting her incessantly when I don't even notice any. She says that they are more attracted to people with her blood type (O neg), but I don't know. I do notice that I will get bitten occasionally when I'm out at night by myself, but I think they all go to her if she's nearby, which works for me! Rolling on the floor laughing (In my defense, she's 18, constantly argumentative and thinks she knows everything, and not a child anymore, so I'm not as protective of her as I once was.)

Radly
"He who says his plants are always bigger & better than anyone else's and his grass, greener, is likely feeding them manure, like he's feeding you." ~Radly
East-Central Mississippi (Zone 8a)
Any silver lining could have clouds
Region: Mississippi Native Plants and Wildflowers Cactus and Succulents Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
RadlyRootbound
Jun 12, 2018 4:44 PM CST
scvirginia said:...Some ant species are repelled by cinnamon. Cinnamon also supposedly encourages root growth, so I wonder if adding some cinnmon to your potting mix might discourage ants from colonizing your pots?

I haven't really experimented much with cinnamon outdoors, but when I once had an ant problem indoors, I found that sprinkling cinnamon strategically around the outlets where they were coming in was effective. It was messy, and needed repeat applications, but I wonder if cinnamon oil might be longer-lasting and not as unsightly. There are probably other oils/spices that would work as well or better...

Virginia


Many of the oils and compounds that certain plants are noted for serve those plants as deterrents to predation by insects or other animals, so using them to battle pests would be preferable to resorting to chemical poisons that hang around in the environment, causing damage indiscriminately for long periods of time before they break down. I have heard of people making insect repellent for their plants by combining the juice from very hot peppers with a tiny bit of dish detergent (to break the surface tension so it clings better) in a water solution, which is sprayed onto the plants. I can see this as being much more preferable than man-made poisons, especially with vegetables and fruits you plan to eat.

Radly
"He who says his plants are always bigger & better than anyone else's and his grass, greener, is likely feeding them manure, like he's feeding you." ~Radly

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