Neither toxic poisons nor chemical growth regulators are necessary to control fire ants. The so-called "Earth-Kind" approach is to treat the site with baits then the mounds with contact poisons. A totally organic approach works better and creates no contamination to the user, the soil, the air or the water. |
Fire ants, unlike other species of ant, do not envenomate with a bite, rather they use their jaws to clamp on their prey, then sting with their abdomen, injecting an alkaloid venom.
Organic solutions include cucumber peels and slices, mint tea, cloves, cayenne pepper, boiling water, citrus oil, cinnamon, and coffee grounds. Borax solutions of ½ tsp sugar, borax, and honey mixed with water in a small spray bottle. Borax solutions are known to work, though borax can be dangerous if used improperly. 3 gallons of boiling water poured down an ant hill will eliminate 60% of treated mounds.
Step 1: Spray the site citrus oil. Homemade citrus oil can be made by soaking citrus peelings in an equal amount of water for 10 days to two weeks. Adding garlic-pepper tea makes the spray even more powerful. This same spray will also help control aphids, white flies, and mosquitoes. It will also kill beneficials so don't use unless pests are a problem and don't use more than the recommended rates of any of the citrus concentrates or risk burning plant foliage or even killing plants.
Step 2: Treat mounds with a drench of manure compost tea, molasses and citrus oil. Commercial products are available that contain these ingredients. The homemade concentrate includes equal parts of compost tea, molasses and orange oil. Use 4-6 ounces of concentrate per gallon of water.
Step 3: Apply beneficial nematodes on problem areas. Be sure to apply these living organisms within the date deadline. They do have a shelf life.
Step 4: Spray the site at least monthly with Garrett Juice which is a mixture of manure compost tea, seaweed, natural vinegar and molasses. Long term this is the only step necessary.
There are steps that can be taken to reduce the competitive edge of fire ants and as part of an overall organic program to control fire ants.
1. Increase biodiversity Fire ants are more of a problem in new neighborhoods than in older neighborhoods, where there is a more stabilized ecosystem. When fire ants are forced to compete they become less of a problem. We must do our part to encourage nature.
2. Treating the lawn spring and fall with nematodes Treat after sunset and follow-up with ½ inch of irrigation. Nematodes are live microscopic worms and need to be applied at the highest recommended rate and in a manor to ensure their survival.
Individual Mound Treatment
3. Treat individual mounds with 1-1/2 ounces of citrus and a few drops of soap as a wetting agent per gallon of water. Treat each mound with one gallon of diluted mixture.
Large area Treatment Program or Bad Infestations
4. When large areas have bad infestations of fire ants, the next step up from the nematodes and citrus drench is applying baits on the whole property at 1-1/2 lb. per acre and one teaspoon of bait per mound. aiting should be done in the spring and fall during times of active ant foraging. Test the timing and the bait's palpability by applying a small amount to individual mounds and watch for a quick uptake. For mounds along sidewalks, house foundations etc. bait is normally required to get effective control, because the ant colony is protected under the concrete.
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Auckland ant controls
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