Ant Problem

birdsnbloomsMarch 19, 2012

Although I love spring and summer, there's one thing I dislike about these seasons. Bugs, mainly ANTS!

The last 2 or was it 3-yrs, we've had ant problems. In and outdoors.

While walking the dog, I'd see hundreds if not thousands of ants on the walks. 'Different areas'

Now, they're saying, 'news' ants are going to be a real problem this year?

Has anyone heard/read the story, and if so, what area do you live? No need to be specific, a state will do, if not already posted.

I've already seen a few ants--the small, black types..Those small ants are getting larger.

Anywaym, I was wondering if people will bring house plants outside this summer..If so, will you spray? Chemicals or organic insecticide? If organic, what will you use?

Vinegar kills ants on contact. Spray an ant with vinegar and it's a goner.

I was wondering if a combo of water and vinegar added in soil would kill ants, 'if they're living in soil,' and/or eggs?

If someone has an answer, what ratio would be appropriate? I don't want to add too much, too little..just enough to do the job.

I don't like using chemicals, mainly because we have birds and a dog. Even spraying chemicals outside would be a problem since my little furry Coco (dog) roams the yard.

Thanks, Toni

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Hey Toni, I don't know how your dog or plants would do- but I heard that RED PEPPER around the ant hills would do the trick to getting rid of them. I haven't had a prob with ants yet, (knocking on wood) so I haven't tried it. But from what I've "heard" they think it is food, bring it down to the colony of ants, they eat it and die. Not sure about the eggs tho.

Don't know if this is what your asking, but I hope it helps some.

Good luck!

Marjie :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 6:43PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Toni, you cannot add vinegar to the soil without having serious repercussions on the soil pH. Strong vinegar solutions can also kill plants directly.

Red pepper will do nothing to kill ants.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 10:36PM
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I'm in Georgia and heard the other day that due to the lack of a cold winter here, we're going to have an issue with ants this year. I can already see it, we have ant mounds around our living complex that are becoming larger by the day, not to mention, I see alot more ant hills altogether this year already! I don't plan on putting any houseplants outside (with regards to my peace lily and snake plant), but my hoyas and thanksgiving cactus will be outside this year, here's to hoping no issues with ants. Last year they were making a home out of my potted rosemary. >.>

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Hey Marj,

I've tried red/hot pepper, Borex, sp?, name it, I've used it. lol. But thanks.

Hi Rhizo. How ya doing? To be honest, I'm at the point risking a decrease in pH if it rids ants.
That's the reason I asked if anyone knew a generous proportion that won't make much alteration.

Rhizo, some people, 'including myself/depending on plant,' adds vinegar monthly. They swear it makes a difference. I should state I've used vineger in the past but it's been some time. Mainly for Azaleas and Gardenias.

Hi Plant. Is it unusual seeing ant mounds this early in the year in GA?
Is there something, even a chemical, 'sigh' that can be sprayed on the mounds? Some way to rid them? Gross! lol.

Have you seen ants this year? If so, are they larger than usual?
The ants I've seen are at least .25" larger in addition to their normal size.

I'll never understand why anyone would want an ant farm. lol. Just step outside, they'll see all the ants their hearts desire, lol.

So you will set Hoyas and TC outside? Are they brought indoors during winter? What will you do if they have ants or eggs?

BTW, does anyone know what an ant egg looks like?

Last year, I considered repotting ALL my plants, but thought what's the use? Once plants are outside again new ants will move in. lol.

When a plant is watered, why do ants not climb above soil? You'd think they'd drown.

It's said if/once the world ends, 'even if nuclear,' roaches will survive. I believe ants will be alongside them. YUCK! Toni

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 12:32PM
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I do believe it's rather strange to have such large ant mounds (and so many) here in Georgia this early in the year. It used to be they didn't start becoming a nuisance until the temperatures outside were in the 80s or 90s (granted right now its in the 80s, it skipped the 70 degree temperatures this year and went straight to 80 degrees plus!).

My TC and Hoyas are outside; this is my first year owning hoyas *crossing fingers on not killing them* but yes, I do plan on bringing them inside during the winter. I try to keep them outside if it's above 60 degrees, which I guess is one plus to the abnormally warm winter we had.

As to possible future ants issues in my plant containers, I'm also crossing my fingers on none of that taking place this year. If I find them (or ant eggs) in any of my pots, I'm not sure what I'll do (I guess you could say I'll worry about it if and when it happens). It only seemed to affect my rosemary last year for some reason. My rosemary died last year (long story, I didn't kill it I swear), so I never really got rid of the ants until I got rid of the plant. Good thing that was an outdoor plant to begin with. I think ant eggs look like grains of rice in more or less words. As to getting rid of ants, I'm not sure how to, hopefully someone else will have better knowledge on that question, I figured "drowning" them would work but I tried that with my rosemary to no avail.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Never had ant problems in Ohio, luckily, except in the occasional "aging to its' prime" leftover bag of mulch. Been in the south for 5 yrs and no matter what kind of "ant year" they tell me we are having, I've gotten ants in almost every container, at least temporarily, every summer. Some pots stay full of ants all summer. The ants DO swarm UP when the plants are watered, that's how I know they are there. Every time I see ants swarming, they are carrying their babies with them, the tiny white things. I don't think you need to worry about eggs if you evict the colony, but I don't know if it's possible to kill the adults and then have the eggs hatch out like with other pests.

No idea how to prevent them, so I deal with infested pots when it's time for them to come in by submerging them, past the top of the pot. Any spiders or millipedes or whatever that can't live under water will also flee. I watch the weather closely and do this 2 days before the expected day for returning them indoors. That gives the plants the whole next day to dry well and I can make sure the ants are gone. For just a few pots, this is extremely time-consuming since I only have enough giant plastic tubs to do a few plants at a time, and big soaking wet plants are HEAVY! Periodially, while they're submerbed, I use the hose to knock off ants that have swarmed up the plant and it can take a few hours to chase them all away. The soaking tub needs to be filled to the brim so the ants can get out. They can swim for hours and I lost patience with that the first try.

plantomaniac, is that what happened when you tried to drown your rosemary ants?

If fire ants show an interest in my pots, I will get more proactive/preventive. I don't use chems, there's none here except for cleaning. But I would get some of that stuff they carry back & poison the queen if (when) we get fire ants. Maybe you would be most comfortable with that kind.

I've heard that sprinkling lemon juice around the point of entry can stop ants from entering the house although I've not tried it. So I wonder if watering with weak lemon water would encourage ants to evacuate a pot? Maybe leaving a piece of rind on the surface would work - or use it to interrupt their path to the pot? Grated peel incorporated into the soil before potting?

I don't really mind the ants in the pots except when it's time to bring the pots in. It's the ones in the veg patch that drive me nuts! They move from place to place, and I hate realizing my foot and lower leg are covered with ants! And it's sometimes not easy to find a "clean" place to stand and pull weeds.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:39PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Toni, I should have said that any solution strong enough to kill or deter ants would not be good for the soil. I use vinegar to water plants, too, but at the rate of about 1-3 T per gallon of water. Straight vinegar is used as a contact herbicide on hot, sunny days.

For those of you (or should I say y'all) with fire ants, there are some excellent granular baits, including some products listed for organic growers. With fire ants (and other ants, too) a BAIT formulation is probably the best way to go, since the worker ants will carry the bait down to the nursery chambers deep within the nest, where it will eventually get fed to all of the larvae and even the queens.

Look for an ant bait containing SPINOSAD (trade name is Conserve). It will come in a granulated formulation which can be applied around edible crops. Spinosad products are very common these days and come in a variety of forms to be applied as a spray, dust, or bait. For ants, you want the BAIT. Several different companies manufacture these products, which is why I'm not bothering to give a brand name. The old standby fire ant bait is Amdro, but it is NOT labeled for use around edibles. Works great, though.

I would think that these granulated ant baits would work for other kinds of ants, too. Check with your local Extension office.

Toni, whenever someone calls me about some BIG ants, I usually think of carpenter ants.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 4:22PM
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The ants I could see tried to make a run for it on the rosemary, but I figured with the queen and most of the colony dead from drowning (well, at least I figured by submerging them, the queen and most of the colony would die), they wouldn't be able to produce more ants, but they kept coming back. I only tried twice but gave up after the second attempt.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

I heard that electricity can kill ants. A guy was bring worms up in his yard using two probes in the ground about 6 feet apart using house hold current. 120 vac. He noticed that the fire ant hill came alive and they were killing each other. After about a hour, the nest was dead. Or so he reported. I would suggest using an electric fence electrode into the ground when the ground is fairly dry. Much safer than house hold current that could kill you also if used wrong. Befor using, is there anyone out there that also heard this?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:27PM
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Please do NOT do the earthworm probe. Ask yourself this: Where is the transformer that feeds your electrical service? All electricity seeks its source, which is the transformer. Applying 120VAC to the ground will allow a current to flow back the the transformer. This is what gets worms to come slithering out, because they are being shocked. Imagine if you stood in that path, or the neighbor's dog was in that path. Worse yet, a neighbor! A young boy here in WI last fall got electrocuted using one of these things, so please do not try it.

As for the ants, well, Borax does work. You want to mix it with granulated sugar, 1:1, to get the interest of the ants. They will carry it down into their nests, and feed on it, which will kill them. Also, plain old soapy water does kill them as well. But, if you're not opposed to chemicals, Raid bug barrier works excellent. When my girls were younger, and spilled apple juice and such on the floor, the red ants would come marching in the patio door. All I had to do was spray a barrier of the Raid stuff down, and they refused to cross it. It was like magic! No need to run around applying chemicals to the ground or air, just a barrier around the door. Lay down a perimeter around your plants, and SHIZAAM!

P.S. I am an electrician, which explains my babbling about the worm probe.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:04PM
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Plant...Nature thinks it's summer..What part of GA do you live? Except for the bugs, I adore your state....

It's been 80's here, too..very odd for Mar..The last week of Feb was in the 60's and 70's. Again extremely odd.

For IL, we've had a mild winter. Annuals planted last summer are popping up..Trees are budding.

Maybe ants prefer edibles, like your Rosemary. I've never tasted it sweet?
Reason I ask is..although there have been ants throughout, they didn't bother my veggie garden last year..Tomatoes, hot peppers, and green peppers.

Good luck with your Hoyas..they're beautiful plants, and gorgeous flowers. Ironically, flowers are supposed to be fragrant; I can't smell the my nose detects scents and odors like a hound dog, lol. But I cannot smell Hoya Hope they're not in too much sun. A few of my Hoya leaves burned last summer, in shade.

I haven't seen mounds..and what is a colony? lol.
Rice? Eggs are the size of rice or shaped like rice? Mature ants 'here' are about the size of a grain of rice.

Purple. Last summer, I submerged a few plants in a bucket of water, outside. And yes, plants were HEAVY!
A few spiders drowned, 'don't know which are worse, spiders or ants, I DETEST spiders,' but no ants.
I also found ants in pots with attached saucers, so submerged them too.
Purple, I left pots in the water overnight. The following day I brought them in the house. Would you believe there were still live ants hiding in the saucers! Outside they went. They liked one pot in particular..BTW,. I added Pine Sol in the water.

Purple, not all but most plants are set out in spring. 200+ plants..To submerge each would be a real chore. Too much bending...I have back and knee problems.

Before plants come in they're first, 'thoroughly' hosed outside. Leaves and soil. Then foliage is sprayed w/home-made insecticide. Once indoors, they're set in a sink filled w/water and soap. Then rehosed. You'd think after all that hosing and submerging all bugs would be gone, but they manage to survive...Spiders, too, BIG YUCK!!!!!

So, those tiny, white things ants carry are babies?? Are they babies or eggs? Oh Lord. Last summer, everyday about 5pm, a parade of ants, carrying white things walked across our fence..they always took the same route. After 3 or 4 days watching their charade, I ran in the house for the vinegar..I was ready to spray but, they were gone! From that day on I never saw that ant parade again. Think ants have

Oh Purple, ants crawling over your legs!! I get itchy picturing the scene. lol.

Rhizo..thanks..1-3 T per gallon of water is what I was asking. No more than what's used normally. I want to kill ants, not plants, lol.

No Fire Ants in IL, at least not in our part..maybe southern IL. Thank God for that. I've heard their bites are very painful.

Rhizo, they're not Carpenter Ants..CA's are larger than these guys. I Googled ants, lol, only to find there's numerous ant types.

What I meant is, 2012 ants are a little larger than usual, lol. They're the same type, just a wee bit bigger.

I don't like using chemicals, but last year I resorted to using bait traps, 'works great,' and even spraying w/Raid for spiders and ants, 'outside.'
Normally I don't use chemicals, but ants were taking over. In the HOUSE, too!!!

Ever hear of a gadget that's plugged in an electric outlet and supposed to keep insects, rodents away? Sorry, can't recall its name.
I thought about getting one, but if it really works, will my birds/dog/iguana hear the high pitch sound, or however it's meant to keep pests away??
Don't want my pets flipping

Stush, I'm terrified of electric...also wouldn't know how to use this prong. I'd kill myself and all our neighbors. lol. You'd be watching the news and hear, 'Brookfield woman electrocutes the entire town.' lol. Then would mumble, 'I never should have told Toni about the prong,' lol.

Joel, don't
Borax is hard to find. I got hold of a box, think two years ago..Last summer we went to several stores only to be told they didn't sell it, hardware stores included.

If by chance I find it, can the sugar and Borax be placed outside, or would rain wash it away?

I'm willing to try anything, well, except electric, lol. Tomorrow I'm going to HD, plan on buying more bait traps. We haven't seen ants inside the house, yet, so once I get the baits home, should I set them out or wait? Ants like the kitchen, upstairs bathroom and dining room. Don't know what they find interesting in the bathroom, but there's something about it they like.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

To all, I didn't want anyone to play with household current. I mentioned the electric fence probe. This comes with a transformer so it's not directly connected to the power grid. It transforms to a different voltage/current to repel pest from ponds and farm animals to stay within there enclosures. It is much safer than the 120 volts but all electricity can be dangerous to some people. I know some who use this to keep raccoons out of there fish ponds. It was for fire ants and I don't know if it has any use on anything else.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 4:48PM
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Toni, you may want to positively identify what type of ants you are seeing. Not too many ants will enter your home, unless there is a source of food that they are marching to and from, like sugary juices, soda, food crumbs, etc. An exception would be carpenter ants, which will colonize in your home, chewing up wood to make their home. This would be bad, really bad.

As for the little pest repeller, there are several brands, but they all use ultra sonic sound waves to supposedly repel rodents. I have one in my garage, and one in my shed. Haven't seen any mice since plugging them in, but I didn't have a huge problem before, just an occasional straggler, looking to raid my stored birdseed. But, at the same time, I put any and all bird food or the like, into metal trash cans, so basically I eliminated the food that would attract them. So who knows whether the little rodent buzzer actually does anything. Apparently the jury is out on those things, but I do know that there is warnings about using them if you have pets. A friend of mine, with a dog, had to unplug the ones at his parents cabin whenever he stayed there, because the dog would act all crazy. I also suspect that insects wouldn't give a hoot about any sound maker, so I wouldn't bother.

Joe (Note the lack of an L)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 5:50PM
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I am in Eastern GA; I wish I could say I've been to number of other states in order to compare the "scenery" here but I haven't... I do agree though, I find GA beautiful, especially this time of year, it's azalea country right now, bad time of year if you have allergies though (I do).

I hope my hoyas don't burn this year, the amount of light on our patio varies with the time of year. Near mid July I should have an idea if it's going to be too much (last summer's temperatures reached 100 without the heat index, if it gets bad again, I'll have to figure out something to do with them). When your hoyas burned, did it kill them, or just "bleach" their color? I bleached my other TC last year by mistake (I'm surprised I didn't burn it...), it bloomed this past winter and still growing like a weed, but a bit more light green than dark green this time around. Unfortunately, I've never seen a hoya in bloom in person, I have really sensitive smelling too, but if mine ever bloom, I'll let you know if I smell anything.

I did not intend for it to sound as I thought ant eggs were the size of rice, I think they look pretty similar with comparison of the shape (a stretched out oval) of rice, but definitely not size. What, you didn't poke ant hills when you were a a kid (we've all done something stupid as a kid at least once... at least I did)?

You're silly, an "ant colony is an underground lair where ants live, eat and mate." I'm not sure the ants were eating the rosemary, it does have a sweet taste though (Hubby's Mom likes to cook with it), but for some reason they enjoyed living in it... maybe it was my selection of soil haha.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 9:13PM
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Stush, don't worry, I'm just kidding. But, I really fear electric, don't like messing with, 'other than a battery,' lol, anything that could fry hair, like the old comic strips/cartoons. lol.

Joe, I AM sorry. I've mentioned in other threads, my eyesight is getting bad. The number '1' looks similar to a lowercase 'l'...see what I mean? Joel/Joe1..very close..Anyway, I apologize.

It's great having an electricion in the family. Saves a lot of $ if you're home needs wiring, etc.

Joe, I've talked to neighbors throughout Brookfield and neighboring burbs; they too are battling ants.
Most people hire exterminators. I think their ants move to our house. lol. I can't hire an exterminator or spray with strong chemicals because we have birds.
Sister, brothers and friends have cats, can't risk leaving birds at their places.
We've been here 23-yrs..never dwelt w/ants until 3 summers back, and plants were set outdoors every spring.
Government is spraying different areas w/strong chemicals. These chemicals kill off many bugs, except ants.

If you watch the news, you know we have a shortage of bees. Bees, butterflys, lightning bugs, etc are being killed off because of these damn chemicals.

Thanks, I'll pass up the electric pest repellent. When they advertise the repeller, they 'forgot' to mention household pets. Another rip off!

Planto.. Oh yes, GA is a beautiful state. I've only been to a few states, too, but GA is one of the prettiest. Love the climate and people. Same with TN and AL.

I had no idea Azaleas grew in GA. You hear about Azaleas and Rhodos in northern states. Maybe eastern GA is a little cooler than other parts of the state?

Your Hoyas shouldn't burn if they're acclimated to light. Start out in shade.
No, my Hoyas didn't die, but many leaves bleached. Two were older, Silver spot/large leaf, bought 1982/3, the second, H. Hindu Rope, bought on Ebay, late 90's. They're large specimens. A younger Hoya might burn faster. A guess, not fact.
BTW, Hindu Rope sunburned easier than Silver, even though it was in a shadier spot.

My smaller Hoyas are always placed on shelves on the north side of the house. I had to watch Hoyas on top shelves. When sun is overhead, 'depending on Hoya types' a few leaves bleached and soil dried within hours.

Keep an eye on your Hoyas..if they're doing well, great, if not, place in a shadier spot, if possible.

I'm allergic to everthing, lol. Still, like I said, I detect smells. Except for Hoya flowers.
The fire dept is 2.5 blocks away. Even though there are very few fires in Brookfield, I smell smoke long before fire trucks take off.
Yep, let me know if you're able to detect Hoya blooms. I'm envious when people say their Hoya smells like chocolate, vanilla or cinnamon. lol.

TC's are very sensitive to direct sun. Last summer, I set TC's on soil of a Hibiscus tree, assuming larger plants and Hib canopy would obstruct light. Nope. Within a month every leaf was red. TC's didn't die..leaves reverted to green over winter.

Oh, how old are your Hoyas?

Poke ant, I always feared insects, thanks to dear old mom. She'd panic if a fly or moth got in the house. And Spiders!
I've done many stupid things as a kid, more than once, lol, but they didn't include

I never feared butterflys. In fact, as a kid I saved a butterflys life. It was injured after a wind/rain storm. While walking to the store, the poor little guy/gal was lying in the center of the sidewalk.
On the way home, it was still in the same spot. I carefully set in the cradle of my hand, and home it came. Although my mother wouldn't allow butterflys in the house, I placed in a glass jar, made holes on the lid, added grass and sprinkled water on the grass, daily.
Hid the jar in the basement, lol.
After a week or so, butterfly was active so I brought him/her outside, opened my hand, and off he flew. Talk about feeling good inside.

Maybe Google has ant egg pics..I'll check later. Got to run to the store in a bit.

So, is a colony the same as a mound? lol.
You might have hit the nail on the head regarding soil. If fertile soil is used, ants might be prone to move in unlike a soil-less mix.

Do you remember if your Rosemary's leaves were nibbled?
Since ants don't go grocery shopping, lol, (Purina Ant Food,) they have to eat something to survive. Greens, especially after rain or watering are their only food and drink source.

I've placed a few plants outside..Everyday, I check to see if ants are on the tables/stands. So far, nothing, but I spray vinegar on the stands, in may or may not work.

As a last resort think I'll rent an ant eater, lol.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 2:12PM
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I can't attest to if this area of GA is cooler than others, but it seems pretty warm here to me (I've been to Northern GA the same time of the year and it didn't seem nearly as hot but going North will naturally be cooler so I guess that's not really a good comparison). Azaleas enjoy cooler temperatures I take it?

Unfortunately, my TC did not revert back, it didn't even turn red, just changed to a light green color and it stayed that way. Oh well.

I wish I knew how old the hoyas are, I purchased them at a local BBS last month (February) so I'm honestly not sure how to determine their age.

Ah, I don't mind spiders, we have a few in our house... so long as they stay small (just normal "house" spiders. I figure they eat the beetles that occasionally come inside when I open the windows, or so I like to think).

Yep, an ant mound is pretty much the same thing as an ant colony, I believe more specifically, the mound is above ground (the mess of dirt you see), whereas the colony is below the ground level.

Oh an ant eater? Those are cute, I should get one, I found a really large ant mound earlier with what looked like ants on steroids. Hubby thought they might of been fire ants (too small to be fire ants but they sure seemed larger than regular sugar ants). *sigh* this is going to be a long year with these ants.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:39PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Toni, I promise you that ants just love soil-less potting mixes.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:31PM
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Planto, I was in GA twice..once as a kid, 'Atlanta' the second time when our son graduated from Boot Camp, Ft. Benning.
Which part of GA is FT Benning?

Temps were 80-85F during the day, 70-75 degree nights..It was so beautiful. The day before we were to return home, tornado sirens were going full-force.
To be honest, I thought it was romantic. lol. I love storms..
The day we left, temps dropped..
Worse, while flying home, I looked out the window. Because of time flying, I figured we were either in MO or southern IL. The ground was white.
Turns out, the day before, Springfield IL got 6" of snow.'
When we left the airport it was freezing. I wanted to hop back on the plane, head south. lol.

After GA's tropical-like weather, friendly ppl, and living greens, 'tropicals such as Crotons, and huge Palms,' month of Apr, to come home to 35F degrees was depressing.

Hardy, 'certain species' Azaleas and Rhododendrons grow in gardens from z2. Florists Azaleas must be grown indoors during winter, and out in summer. I had an Azalea a little over 10-years-old..winter was spent indoors in a very cool/cold room, summer outside. It stayed out until first frost when buds formed, bloomed from Nov-Mar/Apr.
Flowers last longer in cooler rooms. Too warm, they fade fairly fast.
Ever watch Victory Gardens? They had two Azalea/Rhodo shows located in MN and Canada. Their flowers were gorgeous, so big. Outdoor gardens.

Sorry about your TC, but new leaves will grow.

About the age of your Hoya..I was asking how long you had it. lol. Very few plants we buy list 'birth dates, lol.' Especially plants purchased from big box stores, etc.
Do you know its species? What its size?

AWWW spiders. I don't like any spider, but the scariest are black, thick-legged/body types that makes webbs outside our house, beside the door. Some look like they belong in the Amazons. lol. We saw a couple as large as the palm of my hand..Most spiders here, legs included, are about the size of a half-dollar.
I'd rather deal with a beetle than a spider, Moreso, I'd rather deal with A Beatle. 30-yrs earlier. lol

About mounds..I honestly haven't seen front, back or either sides of house. Or neighbors' property.

Is Sugar Ant a made-up name? I thought Fire Ants were red??

Yes, ants on's what I meant about the ants I saw this year.they're the same type, only a little bigger.

Your plants will do well. You sound determined, so all will work out.

Rhizo, you're kidding? How do they survive? Do they eat roots? Leaves? Toni

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:54PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


I've recently discovered that whole cloves deter silverfish (which I've had all 20+ yrs. in this apmt). I will not use exterminator ever (my Mom is highly allergic, I can't risk that I might be too).

I heard or read this somewhere & I cook & bake so I had whole cloves in the pantry. I threw some whole cloves around the edges of rooms where I've seen the silverfish & like MAGIC - THEY ARE GONE!!! As soon as I see a baby silverfish, I replace w/ new cloves & voila, gone again!

Probably safe (guessing your dog won't eat it), the birds can't get at it (assuming they're caged) so try it, it might just work!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Ft. Benning is located in midwest GA (about midwest, it's almost centered between Northern and Southern GA, a little more South), right next to the AL and GA border. We are fortunate to not have had any tornados on this side of GA (I don't think anyone would know what to do if they heard a siren, although we did experience some hail a few weeks ago (I was preparing for a tornado) and about 50 miles away, a tornado did touch down.

You want to trade the snow for warm temperatures, it would be nice if it snowed here in the winter (I say that now...). It has snowed 2-3 times in the last 4 years... beyond that, it has been 10 years since it last snowed.

Maybe we should move to western GA, some of the people here we've met are something else with their lack of friendliness. I do understand that can happen anywhere in the world though. I've heard the South has the worst drivers too.

Thanks for the information on azaleas, I didn't know they enjoyed the cooler temperatures. I haven't seen Victory Gardens, is that a television program?

Oh, in that case, I have only had my hoyas for a little over a month now. I haven't managed to kill them yet, although one month is not enough time to say I won't manage to haha. I have a DS-70 and a H. carnosa 'Krimson Princess.' I have both in 6'' pots right now, but I couldn't honestly tell you their diameters (the H. carnosa 'Krimson Princess' is larger of the two). I will take a photo of each for you tomorrow. Right now a lizard is hanging out on the DS-70 (I was going to move it into the rain before I noticed something jump around the plant; I wasn't expecting a lizard haha, he is very well camouflaged) and it's a little too dark with the rain here to take some decent photos.

I would run the other direction if we had spiders the size of my hand (and I have small hands). My parents have had a couple wolf spiders outside their patio, now those were pretty big spiders. Haha, I am not old enough to have met A Beatle.

I think the largest ant mount we've seen so far is about 1' high and about 2' across... the longest one is almost 3' long although it's not very tall. I read on Wikipedia, "The sugar ant (Camponotus consobrinus)- also known as the banded sugar ant- is a relatively large ant, identifiable by their orange-brown bodies, black head and mandibles. The sugar ants' name comes from their liking for sugar, but they are attracted to other savory food." I had to look it up, it's just a term I've heard but never knew if that was a made up term, apparently it isn't.

Thanks, I try hard with my plants (I try not to try TOO hard), I also own a peace lily, snake plant, a couple hostas, a couple peonies, and a couple cacti. I am impatiently waiting for us to be able to purchase a house so I can expand my plant empire.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 5:59PM
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Here are some pictures of my hoyas. Currently I have them elevated on some pots (I have to dig out my plant stands hehe). I had a gift card with some money left on it and found these on clearance at a local BBS for $5 a piece... so with my gift card after adding tax, they cost me $.02! The DS-70 is a little scarred, hence the white spots, but right now they are both covered in pollen.

Here's my Hoya DS-70:

Another view:

Hoya carnosa 'Krimson Princess':

I apologize, I realize this is a bit off topic from the original post.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 12:55PM
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Howdy Karen,
Don't blame you for not hiring an exterminator since your mom has bad allergies.
Is she allergic to something in insecticides or all chemicals, if you don't mind me asking???

One reason I'm inquiring is, whenever I touch chemicals, 'including Front Line for dogs.' When I lift our dog my arms redden.
This is the first time we applied Front Line on our little guy, 'normally wouldn't,' but he started scratching. We spotted some type of bugs on him, although I thought fleas hop..These don't!

Thanks for the clove hint. I too use cloves for baking so have at least 3 bottles, (whole and powdered.)
Yep, cloves are safe for birds and dogs. Thanks.

Hey Planto..

The people were very friendly in FT. Benning and Alabama..Al was so close, one day we drove a bit, ended in Al, 'can't recall the city,' and had lunch. lol.
Both states were lovely.

I guess 'meanies' are everywhere. It's too bad people can't/don't get along. Life would be so much nicer and happier.

Growing up, neighbors sat outside, talked, 'gossip, lol,' while we kids played jump rope, hop scotch, etc. In Chicago. Not these days. Even in Brookfield, 'burb we live,' people are rarely seen. Kids no longer play outside, guess they're all playing video games and online. lol..

I thought the south was different. Even nowadays. When we went to GA and TN, people sat in their yards, and kids were outside.. I felt at peace with myself. Very relaxed.

Actually, I want to trade freezing temps for warm weather. lol. It doesn't snow much anymore.
Don't know what to think about Global Warming, but plants, 'annuals,' are popping up, Now!
Normally, annuals live a couple seasons, spring/summer, die in late autumn, and never return..
Last summer I planted Ornamental Cabbage which is an annual..the other day, while outside, I noticed new growth on last years Cabbage. This NEVER happened before.

Other annuals, like Petunias, are reseeding. Reseeding annuals started happening 3-4 yrs ago. Very odd.

A 50-mile-away tormado isn't that far. lol. What type of weather do you get? Cold or mild winters? Hot humid or dry summers?

Yes, you say you'd like snow now, lol. I love snow for Christmas, but after December, wish spring hurried. lol.
If you were raised down south, getting used to 3F degrees would be a real chore.
The grass is always greener. lol.

I think 'everywhere' has the worse drivers. lol. It takes 'one' driver to mess up the traffic. Makes one wonder how some people passed their driving test. lol.

I hope you find a charming house with friendly neighbors, several windows facing all four directions.
I want to move soooo bad, but dh is too lazy, lol. My family live north, I miss seeing them.
Wish I could design my own home...a solarium would definately be added.

Yes, Victory Gardens is a TV show. Back when it started, a man named James Underwood Crockett hosted Victory Gardens. He mostly talked outdoor gardens, but towards the end of the show discussed house plants, too.
He also authored plant books. My favorite is Crokcett's Indoor Garden.
Victory Gardens is still televised, Sun mornings. The new host travels to different states/countries, visits people's gardens. At the end of the show, they make meals prepared from their gardens in Boston MA.
To be honest, I prefer the old Victory Gardens. Probably because they talked house plants, lol. They also had contests. People sent pics of their own gardens..The winner won a feature segment of their garden and garden equipment.

Planto, a 6" pot means the diameter is 6". Your Hoyas must be larger???

Wow, a lizard on your cool is that???!!!
Our son would love seeing a lizard on a plant..he has an iguana, loves lizards.
Heck, I'd like to see a lizard.
Every so often, when I receive plants from other states, baby lizards jump from the box..they run way too fast to catch. They're adorable. So cute.
Did you happen to snap a pic of the lizard??
My fear is one day I'll open a package and a huge spider will jump on my hand, lol.

Just the name, Wolf Spider sounds threatening, lol. I'll have to Google Wolf Spider and Sugar Ant. I thought all ants like sweets?

A 3' ant is BIG. Wow!!! They must eat spiders for dinner, lol.
At least the Sugar Ant is colorful, lol. Most wildlife/insects are bland in IL, lol. Seriously. They blend in with large, gray, downtown buildings.

Do you grow hosta and peonies indoors?
No, never over-pamper plants..especially by over-watering.
Of course there's nothing wrong talking/singing to plants, spraying a little each day, lol.

Some plants do best when neglected..not totally, but

Well, our 80+F degree temps have really dropped. It's now in the 60's and so very dark.

Bet it's sunny and warm in GA!! I'm so jealous, lol.

Have a nice wkend, Toni

PS. Haven't seen an ant in 3 days..maybe there's hope afterall..

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Planto, we must have been typing the same time.

First, what is a BBS?

Both Hoyas are gorgeous! They are large and @ .2!!

Even at 5.00 they're worth it and more.

They're very healthy specimens, Planto.

What's the little plant off the side? Toni

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 2:33PM
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I'm glad you met such nice people while "down here" in the South. I think times have changed a lot over the years, my Mother has stated before that her family never used to lock their doors at night. I hope we find a charming house as well, the older houses seem to have the most character, so maybe we will be able to find something older and charming. A sun room would be nice too. What is a solarium?

As to people's bad driving, myy Dad would sometimes remark, "Where did you get your license, a Cracker Jack box?"

Funny that you mention your petunias, my Mother-in-law was just mentioning earlier that her petunias have come back this year too. How odd indeed. My guess is the winter wasn't cold enough to kill them off completely.

Our winters are not nearly as cold as they used to be, but it still gets pretty cold (40s during the day, 20s minimum at night, yes 40 degrees is cold to us Southerners haha). I remember our winters were a lot colder when I was a kid. We have very humid summers, most people here agree that it's not the heat that kills ya, it's the humidity. On the plus side, my plants enjoy the humidity.

I was unable to snap a photo of the lizard, I find my camera isn't good enough for closeups. Last year I found a baby lizard resting on a peace lily I had outdoors, he was only about 3 inches long. He returned every afternoon for about a month, I think my curiosity scared him off after enough weeks of seeing me peeking at him. We seem to have a number of lizards around here for some reason. They enjoy hanging out on my plants, but I don't mind, perhaps they will eat some bugs if they see any. A couple years ago I was cleaning out the mulch in one of my plant pots (I had a number of Hostas growing in the pot), only to find this large mound of black stuff (at the time, that's all I could describe it as, "stuff," it wasn't anything I'd seen before). I scooped it out and didn't think anything of it until I later discovered a lizard hanging out in between some Hosta leaves. I'll let you guess what that black colored mound was. ;)

As to the ants, I also thought every ant likes sweets. *Shrugs* Silly, I meant the ant mound was about 3' across. If I see a 3' ant anywhere I'm grabbing a flame thrower.

I grow my hostas and peonies outdoors, everything I own at the moment is in a container (pot). I only have two indoor plants and everybody else is outdoors. Thanks for the compliment, I've always enjoyed the coloring of the variegated hoyas but never considered purchasing one before I figured they would be an easy plant for me to kill, thought they were more "exotic" than I could grow sucessfully, but now that I have more experience growing plants, I figured it was worth a shot. BBS= Big Box Store. I purchased the two hoyas at Lowes.

The somewhat disfigured looking plant off to the side is supposed to be a blue Hosta. I don't know which variety of blue Hosta though. I just purchased it the other day. It was in a box so some of the leaves are a little white (some of the leaves were broken off the stems). It is already displaying new growth, I am excited to see what it turns into when it gets larger.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 6:47PM
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randy_e(z9b FL)

Boric Acid is the shizzle... dust or dissolve in water.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:49PM
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toni - Our walmarts carry Borax in the laundry detergent section and so do many grocery stores, or ask for Boric acid (expensive) at the pharmacy. Yes, it would get washed away with rain and have to be replenished if the problem isn't resolved. BUT, be very careful how much and often you would use either. It changes your soil forever. You could goggle that because I don't remember, only that it is not good for your soil.

Sorry, I have forgotten if your ant problem was in pots or in the ground. LOL

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:40PM
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I brought my hoyas in last night, it dropped down to about 55 degrees. Just a couple minutes ago I was looking at our tv stand and spotted something green... my lizard friend came in last night with the plant and I didn't notice! I'll be surprised if he comes back to my plant again. >.>

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 12:12PM
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Can't believe it's Tues!!!

Planto, I think most ppl in the south kept/keeps their doors unlocked.
My dh's family is from a little town, Tullahoma TN. After moving to Chicago, they were very comfortable keeping doors unlocked. Chicago!!!!!
Guess after doing something all your life you get used to it.

When I moved in, I wasn't used to unlocked doors, so made sure our part of the house was secure..Actually for more than one reason, lol.

In your moms times, I'd bet most people kept thier doors unlocked and slept peacefully. Better times.

I agree older homes have a LOT more charm, and better made. Walls are thicker for one.
When we bought this house, electric wiring was wrapped in cloth. The only 'charm' was, it had 32 windows. lol.

I remember some of the huge Victorians in GA..think Victorians are the correct term. ?? They're so beautiful.
And big-many rooms. If we moved down south, in a huge house, away from neighbors I'd think the house was

Too funny. Maybe the Cracker Jack remark is an old saying. My dad used to say the same thing about drivers, He also called people who drove slowwwww, Sunday Drivers..On Mon, Tues, Wed, etc. lol.

If 40F was the coldest it got in winter, instead of a Maple and Smoke Tree, there'd be a Palm out back.

I agree with you. 40F is cold. Most in the midwest deem 40 warm. It's worse when temps drop from 80 to 40 like it did this week. 40F feels like 10F to me.
I was born in the wrong state. lol. My grandma was born in NO's..perfect climate.

Oh God!! The black stuff!!!!! What did you do? And yes, I can guess what they Yuck.
The only thing that'd be worse if the mound was filled w/spiders.
But hundreds/thousands of ants is too much.

I don't know much about Fire Ants except they bite. If one Fire Ant happened to crawl on someone, would it bite?

You're so lucky having lizards for neighbors, lol. It'd be great looking outside, spotting the little guys/gals sitting on a plant.
They're fast.
What happened to the lizard that got in your house?
I'm surprised he didn't jump off the plant while you were bringing it inside. He must have been as, if not more startled than you..Aww..

A 3-foot ant, I'd run as far away as possible! lol.
My husband was in Nam. One day, the soldiers were walking through jungle. On one tree, not far from the ground was a 2.5-3' (that's 3-foot) CENTIPEDE.
Instead of the crew walking a direct path, they circled the area, as far away as possible from this huge centipede. Imagine that scene. lol.

Banana Spiders were common there, too. God only knows what other creatures lurked those jungles.

No, don't think Hostas are exotic, but many are sure pretty. I'm partial to variegated plants, Hostas included.
So, your Hostas are outdoors, in containers? Have you grown Hosta in containers in the past or this the first time?
How do large or extra large Hosta do in containers? Are they evergreen or decidious?

When you move, you can take Hostas and all. One advantage growing in pots.

Are you looking for a house now or waiting? Spring is the perfect time. Moving is a LOT of work, and if temps were 40 it'd be too cold. Then again, summer might be too hot and humid.
Humidity doesn't bother me, dry air does. I can't breath when air is dry.
Yes, tropicals love humid air. Once you find a house, and add more plants, you'll notice the difference.
Do you plan on moving in the same area? Futher south, plants can stay outdoors, year round.

Your baby Hosta looks variegated, not blue. I'd like to see it when it's mature, too.
I'd like to add large-leaf blue, pale green and a highly variegated Hostas in an area on the side of the house.
Small ground-cover variegated Hostas have taken over. Don't know where the Hosta came from since I didn't plant it, but they've taken over the front, sides and back yard. I don't mind a few, but not thousands, lol.
Digging them up shouldn't be a problem, but keeping them out, is. They're quite invasive.
Five plants gotta go. Trumpet Vine, Datura, Ostridge Ferns, Lambs Ears and ground-cover Hosta. Not all, but everywhere and anywhere they're not supposed to be.
Then there's the weeds. As of late Feb, a weed resembling Peperment has taken over. Every two weeks a new weed pops up. Soon Dandi's will take over. Worse, 'don't know what they're called,' but they remind me of IL Morning're vines, cling and strangle other plants, and crawl everywhere. I don't think they can be rid though.
I researched and found the underground roots of this vine can originate several blocks away. Pulling is useless. They double. lol.
Before you know it, they're sprouting pink/purple look exactly like Morning Glory. In full sun, their blooms grow about 5".

For the time being, perhaps you can either Google, buy or borrow plant books from the library...browse pictures. Choose plants you'd like to have. You'd be surprised.

Do you like plants that grow large, minis, flower, fragrant flower, vines, uprights, succulents, grown for leaf color, etc.

Also, there's many store-bought fruits that can be grown indoors. Beans, Avocado, Citrus, Apples..too many to name. If you buy these items, keep the seeds and sow.

Randy, is Boric Acid the same as Borax?
Last year we searched for Boric Acid in several stores, including HD, Ace, Walmart, Walgreen's and more. When we asked where it was located, the clerks looked at us as if we were asking for Cyanide. lol. Thanks.

We found Borax in the aisle with clothing soaps.

Moonie, the last three years, ants were everywhere. In and outdoors..even in potting soil. 'potted plants.'
I normally don't care when ants are outside, but their population has increased terribly. If you set something down, ants cover it. Garden gloves, tools and plants..Forget a can of soda!! lol.

I think they're eating plant roots. Definately Citrus Tree leaves..BTW, my citrus do not have Scale, so house plant insects are not what's luring ants.

However, I'll phone a few Walgreen's, ask if they carry Boric Acid. Thanks.
Planto, wish your camera took closeup pics. I'd have loved seeing your little visitor. lol. Toni

I found Borax, but don't know if it's the same as BA. Would you happen to know?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 1:21PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Toni, boric acid is NOT the same thing as borax. If you want to use something to control ants and other crawling insects in the home, you'll need boric acid, the other will not work.

Pharmaceutical grade BA will be pretty expensive, but you can purchase a less processed grade in the form of Roach Prufe. Roach Prufe is non-pharmaceutical boric acid.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 1:51PM
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Rhizo, what do I do with the box of Borax? lol.

I'll have to call around for BA. 25-yrs ago, my MIL went downtown Chicago to buy 2-3 containers of BA. I never knew the reason.
It's hard if not impossible locating nowadays.

Roach Prufe. Thanks much. I'll Google this product, check where it's sold and how to apply..Thanks so much, Toni

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:58AM
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just go to they will help out a lot just hit contact us or you may find other helpful things in "members" tab

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 2:56PM
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It was so bad here I couldn't even work in the flowerbeds without getting bitten. Now I sprinkle black pepper in my flowerbeds when I see ants. You have to apply it several times. Apparently there's something in black pepper they don't like so they leave. When I see large ant hills I pour boiling water over it, as long as they aren't in the flower beds..

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Kevin. Unless I went to the wrong site, I believe antextermination is a business....???

Hi Marric,

Ant mounds (gardens) are bad enough, but when a zillion and one ants find their way in our homes, it's time to worry. lol

They made their first appearance in the house around the end of Feb.
I first noticed ants in the bathroom. A room without plants or food.

I don't know where ants hide, if they go dormant in winter, or if parents from the previous year die, leaving eggs behind that hatch when temps warm up.

I'm using vingar to kill ants. Vinegar kills on contact. I'm also washing cabinets, floors, etc w/vinegar and water, in hopes they stay away. Think ants dislike the odor or can sense the stuff kills them.

Pouring boiling water on an ant mound will certainly kill a good amount, but many escape.

I'll sprinkle black pepper, see if it works. At this point, I'm willing to try home remedies, before setting out actual poisons.

Thanks for the tip. Toni

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:19PM
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i got ants into my apt in a hi-rise! from a nursery pot, and then i had to repot sev plants and still couldn't get rid of them. so finally i just had to sprinkle indoor systemic for containers on all plants: i use the one with imidaclorid. it got rid of them fast.
i now submerge in water all new plants and then apply systemic too for good measure.
recently i read about Diatomaceous earth. it's non-toxic to kids, birds, and pets. it destroys ants, earwigs, slugs, beetles, ticks, fleas, cockroaches, and bed bugs. needs to be dry :the powder sticks to them and gets into joints.

DE is made up of crushed fossilized skeletons of diatoms and algae - it is used as slug control too , it's abrasive, rips them apart. there are different grades. You don't want the stuff used for swimming pools. Purchase horticultural grade DE. there is also food grade DE (that you can take internally too, but it's much more expensive).
there's a lot of info about it. curious if smbody tries it and reports.
oh, and if a queen is dead, the worker ant (or some other, don't remember now) can turn into a new queen and it all starts again...

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:52PM
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