Author Topic: What's up with these dang raspberry crazy ants ?  (Read 1460 times)

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Offline TheOldBuzzard

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What's up with these dang raspberry crazy ants ?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2011, 02:32:38 AM »
I'm very interested in this subject because harvester ants (large red ants that clear all vegetation from up to 20 foot diameter areas around their hole) are trying to take over my entire yard and garden.  I think I have suceeded with diatomaceous earth on a new nest near my permanently located solar oven and thought I had succeeded with a new nest on an earthen ramp leading from garden to house, but yesterday I noticed ant activity on the ramp again.  I put down DE into and around their hole then cover it with a bucket weighed down with a rock to keep the DE from blowing/washing away. I stir the DE up to several times a day.  When they create a nearby hole, I extend the DE treatment.
   I believe bait is better than spraying because it potentially will kill the queen as opposed to just a small fraction of her (millions? of) workers.
   I spent an hour or so in our local hardware store reading active ingredients on ant baits.  Most (including Amdro which an entomologist friend recommended) contain hydramethylnon which I hadn't heard of.  My Internet research told me it has a short half life in water, soil, and sunlight (that's good) but it is also a suspected carcinogen and is toxic to aquatic life.  It is slow enough acting that the workers take it down into the nest to kill the entire colony.
   But I worry about the slow acting poisen contained in the bodies of foraging workers.  We have a thriving horned lizard population whose main diet is harvester ants but they are not keeping them in check (might be even worse without them).  Meanwhile, I wouldn't want to poisen the horned lizards and my entomologist friend doesn't know of any studies of hydramethylnon toxicity on lizards (I couldn't find any on the Internet).
   I picked Terro brand bait which contains borax (they have various containers, one of which is designed for outdoor use) and put it by the nest of the largest colony in my yard.  So far, they have consumed two of the little cups of bait and are working on the third.  I cover these cups with weighed-down buckets to protect them from rain and wind, making sure the ants can get under the buckets.  The directions say to keep them supplied and expect it to take up to 2 weeks to be effective.  It's too soon to know if it works.  If it does work, I plan to dig up the area of their nest to keep other ants from taking over the tunnels.  (I've watched an agressive black ant take over a colony of leaf cutter ants in our driveway.)
   Meanwhile, I dug a pit between the nest opening and their favorite foraging area where they steal chicken food.  It disrupted their trail and when it rained a coupld days ago (finally, rain!) the pit filled up and drowned a few hundred ants-didn't make a dent on the ant population but I cheered when I saw them floating on the water before it soaked in.
   I've long used insecticidal boric acid mixed with peanut butter and/or something sweet for ants in the house.  Usually it works, but the last infestation seemed to be able to leave the boric acid behind. The Terro bait in containers designed for indoor use worked.
   I wish I had more definative answers for you AND for me, but maybe this discussion will help.
   What is dry molasses?  How does it work?

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