Fire ants in vegetable planter

bumblebees_mom(z9 Jax, FL)October 27, 2012

I have a large container infested with fire ants, the planter is empty at the moment but it is intended for vegetables. Any suggestions on what I can do to get rid of them? Thanks.

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bumblebees_mom(z9 Jax, FL)

I should probably add that the planter is not at home but on school grounds so availability of something like boiling water would be a challenge.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Well I got the same issue a couple of times. One time I took the container and immmersed it in water. The demons floated out and clustered together then i dumped the water in the street and stomped the whole lot of them. Good for my mental health, I can't count the number of times i've been zapped by them. Kinda messy way to get out any infestion from a container. PS, you ain't gonna drown them, I've read they can go 12 hours without air, you'll kill the plant before you drown them.
I also just had a bag of soil I prepared get infested. I took the bag, put it in a garbage bag and dropped the whole thing in the deep freeze for a week. The wife didn't care for it but a highly effective, simple and tidy way to wipe them out.
Now I have another container with a tropical starting with the infestation, Grrrrrr!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 2:57AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Bumble, didn't I answer this on another forum? If not, please let me know. Sometimes, I write a response but don't folliow through properly.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 8:06AM
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bumblebees_mom(z9 Jax, FL)

Doglips, thanks for the reply but this method won't work as it is a very large planter that I can't pick up easily, nor can I find something larger to submerge it in.

Rhizo_1, perhaps you have me confused with someone else as this is the first time I have asked this question. Fire ants are such a common problem in the south. I have just noticed fire ants in my home garden (a raised bed not a container). We have good control on the lawn because my husband uses a weed, feed, and fire ant control product on it but the garden bed is a problem because of the edibles.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 6:34PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I did answer your question earlier, but obviously clicked something besides "submit ", lol.

Is this planter still filled with a planting medium of some kind? I assume so. Above ground planters are a favorite nesting spot for fire ants.

The very best methods fot controlling fire ants is with a bait. We want to use something that is very attractive to the ants, something laced with a toxic substance, and something that can be applied in small amounts to be rapidly taken by the ants into their nest where it is fed to all of the residents, including the queen.

By far, the most effective bait that I know of is Amdro. I would expect that you've heard of it. However, it cannot be used around edibles. You CAN, however, use it outside the perimeters of the planter.

There are also fire ant baits that are labeled as safe and acceptable for use in veggie gardens. The active ingredient is Spinosad. Several manufacturers make spinosad baits so you will have to become a good label reader. Look for the words "organic ", "Spinosad ", fire ant bait on the label.

I would be very tempted to use both of these products.....saving the Amdro for areas outside of the planter. Look for any sign of ant mounds nearby and treat them individually.

As always, read the directions thoroughly and follow them carefully. More is not better.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:09PM
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