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Leaf Cutter Ant invasion!

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19 hours ago, snowyela said:

Does that also work on the "micro/mini" ants as well?

no.  Leaf cutters are farmers, they want the leaves to grow fungus.  The small ants are "sugar ants", they will eat almost anything but love sugary things.

Go buy a small bottle of pancake syrup and some boric acid (hardware store).  Pour the syrup into a glass container and warm it in the microwave.  Add 1 tablespoon of boric acid to the syrup and mix well.  Let cool and put back in the squeeze bottle.  Put a drop or two wherever you see the ants and wait.

The ants ingest it and take it back to the nest to feed the queen, who will die.  Then the whole colony will die.  Takes a few days, so be patient.

Boric acid in small quantities is safe, in fact, it is used as a preservative in some foods so there is no real danger to pets.

Windex works wonders to kill them on counters etc and is safe also.

The trick with the Boric acid is to not use too much.  The ants have to survive long enough to get back home or they will die on the way and the queen will not die.

 

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if you sprinkle ant dirt (look for the mounds of dirt not close to your house) on the stuff they are eating, they think it's another colony so they leave it alone.

it works for me and it's free and non toxic.  Give it a try.

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Also, for those tiny ants that invade your kitchen, sugar disolved with watar and boric acid works GREAT!  The boric acid is taken back to the nest and kills the colony.

Google this because I don't remember the amount of sugar and boric acid, but I mostly guess and it works every time - again, free and non toxic to animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, Yo1 said:

Ants don't eat rice so the rice trick is a gardener's fable.

No it isn't a fable.  I've tried it, and several people that I know have tried it.  And the plants that they've already chewed up will come back!

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12 hours ago, cedros said:

That is an old wives tale, nothing more. It doesn't work.

Sorry Cedros, but as you can see by my posts and others, many people have found that it works.

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9 hours ago, suegarn said:

Sorry Cedros, but as you can see by my posts and others, many people have found that it works.

The experts say it doesn't work. An old wives tale. I've been battling leaf cutting ants since 1987. Do a little research and you will find the same. Are you confusing rice with Rice university?  http://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/ants/leafcutting-ants/

http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/9/150257

http://bmcgenomics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2164-14-928

http://amcostaricaarchives.com/2015/10/new-weapon-found-in-fight-against-leaf-cutter-ants/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262010353_Leaf-Cutting_Ants_Biology_and_Control

http://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/landscape/ants/ent-1002/

https://books.google.com.mx/books?id=U5dezH9_eEMC&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=control+leaf+cutting+ants+with+rice&source=bl&ots=wP0khwwoGV&sig=JXKU_5jWCubsGvJ0l0IgcnZCnF4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXk528yPvRAhWI6iYKHSeUBsoQ6AEISTAJ#v=onepage&q=control leaf cutting ants with rice&f=false

One thing that does stop them is a sticky barrier like Tree Tanglefoot but it is only practical to use if your plant has a single or just a few main stems. Maybe anteaters would work. Over the years I've read about (and tried some) schemes.

 

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On 2/4/2017 at 8:56 PM, Ferret said:

Don't trash your gardenia. It WILL come back in a few weeks. I always like to think of cutter ants as mother nature's pruners...nasty but effective.

I use food grade diatomaceous earth that I purchase from Amazon.com. I have two dogs and I know that it won't harm them but sure does a number on cutter ants. Good luck!

 

I totally agree with you, Ferret. I also think of them as nature's pruners. Once or twice a year the cutter ants used to strip my huge jasmine, that climbs up 2 stories, bare. At first I was shocked and distraught and tried various methods to off them. But within 2 weeks the whole thing had leafed out again with fresh green leaves. Now that the plant is older, they seem not to be too interested and haven't had it stripped for a year now.

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I have posted this idea before - but still haven't found a source of formic acid. The formic acid is the "sting" of many ants - it is actually sprayed. For our purposes, low levels of formic acid are used in the scent trails of ants. The trick would to direct the ants to their death. I imagine a contraption that many farmer us to kill rats. A ramp up to a bucket of water, then they try to eat the bait, and fall into the bucket and drown. The ants have to follow the acid trail up the ramp, it is basic instinct, then to follow the trail I see a tight nylon fishing line, they cannot hold onto this line, then fall into the bucket and drown. This should work for both cutter and and sugar ants.

A safe, natural way to get rid of ants. This article moves closer to home made formic acid. The other problem is that our gardener seems to keep them under control so I haven't seen the need to join the battle. We used to use Hormigol, but now some natural ant control from the farmer's Tuesday market.

https://owlcation.com/stem/Formic-Acid-Dangers-and-Uses-in-Nature-and-in-Humans

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I've wondered about building some kind of moat (plastic?) filled with water that you form around the trunk of a tree or bush. This might stop them from getting to your plant. And no chemicals. 

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5 hours ago, CHILLIN said:

I have posted this idea before - but still haven't found a source of formic acid. The formic acid is the "sting" of many ants - it is actually sprayed. For our purposes, low levels of formic acid are used in the scent trails of ants. The trick would to direct the ants to their death. I imagine a contraption that many farmer us to kill rats. A ramp up to a bucket of water, then they try to eat the bait, and fall into the bucket and drown. The ants have to follow the acid trail up the ramp, it is basic instinct, then to follow the trail I see a tight nylon fishing line, they cannot hold onto this line, then fall into the bucket and drown. This should work for both cutter and and sugar ants.

A safe, natural way to get rid of ants. This article moves closer to home made formic acid. The other problem is that our gardener seems to keep them under control so I haven't seen the need to join the battle. We used to use Hormigol, but now some natural ant control from the farmer's Tuesday market.

https://owlcation.com/stem/Formic-Acid-Dangers-and-Uses-in-Nature-and-in-Humans

Friends of mine in Texas where the ants were rampant had great success by gathering up a bunch of said ants and putting them through the blender with a little water, then sprinkling this around plants and the nests. Ants totally disappeared with this method. This would be the equivalent of formic acid, although I realize some folks might be grossed out by doing this.

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On ‎2‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 8:00 PM, suegarn said:

Plain uncooked white rice (not any fancy ones, like basmati or jasmine).  Spread it around plants, the ants will eat it and it'll puff up inside them and kill them.  I was told this by several gardeners down here, and it works!

This worked well for us with a new ant invasion.  We had 6-7 nests within a few days and upon a recommendation from a mexican gardener, we used this method.  We bought a lot of rice (the basic 20 peso per bag kind) , put a big handful of it at each nest (as long as it is somewhere near, they find it) and after replenishing the rice as soon as it was taken by the ants for a week long period, all of them were gone.  If I had put one of those nano cameras down the hole, I would have seen thousands of ants with X`s over their eyes. This was a year ago and there are still no cutters on the property.  People with long-established ant nests report that this method does not work for them. The use Trompa or other products.  The rice method only appears to work on just-established nests.

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On ‎2‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 9:30 AM, cedros said:

That is an old wives tale, nothing more. It doesn't work.

I belong to the Grower`s Group.  Many of the members of this group have said the method worked with new infestations. I`d say to those with new ant infestations, try the simple, inexpensive test. If it works, it works, right?  If it doesn't, "fugetaboutit".  Try something else. Why argue about it?  Look at it this way: it will give you a way to have a relationship with some of the other earthlings who live with you.  Ants are amazing.   Maybe you`ll learn something, could happen.

if DeborahM tries this, perhaps she would report back, one way or the other, and add to our community knowledge.

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What GREAT advice, everybody. Thanks so much! I've saved everyone's recommendations.

Interesting, I have many different plants in my garden, but the gardenias were the ONLY plants they attacked. I understand they're known to attack night blooming jasmine as well, but they didn't touch mine. 

The night I posted my plea, it was too late to go to the garden centre, so I sprinkled the three bags of rice I had all around where the gardenias were, and along the ant path leading to their nest. I also transplanted my stripped gardenias into pots, rather than leaving them in the ground, and positioned them on an interior concrete-walled terrace, hoping that will protect them.

The following morning, there was not a single grain of rice remaining. That same day, I bought another 10 pounds of rice and repeated the same application. Again, the next day, every rice was gone. I haven't seen a single leaf cutter ant since. Feeling hopeful.

Thanks again!

 

 

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All of those ants are busy “gordantando“ on all the rice you provided.

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I wonder how this rice thing works with the cutters? Could it be that they mistake the rice grains as eggs, take them back to the nursery, and then they spoil and wipe out the nest? I just can't see they have the strength or desire to crunch grains.

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1 hour ago, CHILLIN said:

I wonder how this rice thing works with the cutters? Could it be that they mistake the rice grains as eggs, take them back to the nursery, and then they spoil and wipe out the nest? I just can't see they have the strength or desire to crunch grains.

They don`t eat the rice.  They wait til fungus attacks it then eat the fungus.  As they do with anything they take into their nests, as jrm30655 has said above.

One more ant solution.  If it`s one or few plants, you can wrap a piece of duct tape, sticky side out, around the trunk of the plant, say a foot or so up the trunk. They mostly avoid this (must smell really bad to them) but when they venture across, they get stuck.

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On 2017-02-05 at 6:52 AM, Garth said:

Do you want chemical control or organic control?  The chemicals work, as does the rice trick. Cutting ants have been discussed lots at both the Lake Chapala Garden Club, as well as the Organic Vegetable Gardeners group. There is a link on the Lake Chapala Garden Club with more detailed instructions on how to use rice. My understanding from first hand accounts I have heard from dozens of gardeners who have shared their own experience with cutter ants is that the rice trick works for most people, but not all.  FYI, the ants do not actually eat the leaves, but take them back to their nest that they then farm to produce a fungus that they eat. They have apparently been farming this way for hundreds of millions of years.  So, the basis of some of the chemical controls is a fungicide that atacks their farming operation. Hope this helps. Good luck.

 

Hundreds of "millions" of years. I call fake news. ???. 

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1 hour ago, ericurmudgeon said:

Hundreds of "millions" of years. I call fake news. ???. 

Wikipedia says 99 million years.  Close enough for gov'mint work, I`d say.

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I have tried used coffee grounds on ant nests (had a couple of nice holes near my terraza). At first they just trouped thru them but within 6 hours not an ant to be found anywhere. Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen so some plants really like the fertilizer (azaleas & roses). You need to be careful with it though, too much and it will kill your plants. I've also scattered a bit around some new seedlings to deter stripping of the new growth. So far so good.

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2 hours ago, ericurmudgeon said:

What's mere hundred million years among friends, eh? ???. 

Right, I barely remember the last 10.  The previous 99,999,990 is all just a blur!

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The sticky tape does not work, they get stuck on it and the live ones use the dead ones as stepping stones..

 

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3 hours ago, bmh said:

The sticky tape does not work, they get stuck on it and the live ones use the dead ones as stepping stones..

 

Or they put blades of grass  on the tape and make a bridge.

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Then I put another and maybe another sticky tape at a different location and it works like a charm. I'be been using it for several years and have never seen live ones stepping on dead ones. I've seen the grass bit and once again I put tape in another location. Also if the tape is too low to the ground dirt can get splashed on it from watering so that it isn't so sticky. And in the dusty season the tape can lose it's stickiness so I put more Tanglefoot on. It works for me but you need to pay attention to it. I have pets so I don't like putting something on the ground that they will eat. I have a large yard so I would be putting a lot of poison out or detergent or rice or coffee grounds or moth balls or Hormigol other things that don't have any logical reason to work and don't work for me . I check every plant daily.

The experts (scientists, researchers, biologists, etc.) say you cannot win in the long run but you can keep the damage to a minimum.

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