Ant's in container

klo1(z7 OK)May 11, 2014

I garden in large black nursery pots, way to large to move, and have had very good results, they sit on my concrete patio. Problem is when I was adding compost to one of the pots I found ant's along with eggs. I went ahead and added the compost and really mixed it up good. Now I need to know what I can do to get rid of the ant's. I have to reuse the soil in it, just can't afford to replace it this year. Haven't planted anything in it yet but need to soon.

TIA for any help someone can give me.

Oh, forgot to mention I really prefer not to use chemicals if I can find an organic method.

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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

You prefer not to use chemicals? How do you get around the plant's dihydrogen monoxide requirement?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:46PM
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klo1(z7 OK)

Alright if you want I'll say it this way, I prefer to use organic methods.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 2:35PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Why not just leave the ants alone? They aren't hurting anything and may be eating bad insects.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 2:37PM
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I have the same problem. Just moved a couple of 1 and 2 gallon nursery containers and found ants coming out of the drainage holes, some carrying eggs.

These containers are small enough that I can easily submerge them in a large bucket of water for a few minutes, and this will take care of the ants. Another batch of ants usually returns later on in the season. Your containers are too large for this method however.

I don't know if they do any harm or not, so maybe it's not a big deal if the ants remain.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 3:11PM
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klo1(z7 OK)

Sorry but I'm not going to leave those ants if I can come up with a way to get rid of them. I'm allergic to their bit's and they farm aphids, a large problem in my area and one I fight every summer.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 5:20PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Klo, are they fire ants, by any chance?

There are ant baits available for you to use. If fire ants, look for granules containing spinosad, which is approved for certified organic growers. There are several distributors (Brand names), be a good label reader.

There are also liquid ant baits with boric acid as the active ingredient. Terro makes pre-filled bait trays that I really like. Place one on the soil and leave it for about 24 hours or until the ants have emptied the tray.

With either of those methods, read and follow all of the label instructions. Don't disturb the ants before, during, or after but let the bait do its job.

If the containers are small enough, you could try a couple of kettles worth of boiling water.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 5:47PM
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klo1(z7 OK)

Thanks for the follow-ups. I would have to carry the boiling water to far for that idea. Think I'll give the Terro a try, I have a while before I plant the peppers I have designated that pot for, it's turned a little cool here for them!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 3:10PM
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jutsFL(9b (Orlando))

This may be worth a try. Though not specifically meant for ants - I'll share my experience.

I originally purchased some BT (bacillus thurengesis) to control fungus gnats in my containers. It did the job quite well. I added it to my regular feedings, and the problem was resolved within 5 days or so. Something I noticed on the side though was that the ant population had significantly decreased - not completely, but in the guesstimate of 90% ... Give or take.

The BT is organic, and cheap. Worth a shot IMO.
(My assumption is that it was only effective on the larvae, which likely moved the majority of the colony out of the containers - as it was inhospitable at that point)


    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 12:25AM
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