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ants in large containers for tomatoes

Posted by sammy OK/7A (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 31, 12 at 17:50

I have 20 containers for tomatoes. They are about 20" and a few half whiskey barrel pots. Many - way too many are loaded with ants. I have dumped out the soil, and have new soil, but would like to know if there are simple methods for discouraging ants or treating them early.

I have an ant bait that I have put around the pots in the past, but this year our temperature have been wonderful, and the ants have really taken over the pots. I intend to get the weeds out, dump out the infested soil, replace it, then scatter the ant bait around the pots.

I do not like chemicals, but ants can be pretty bad here.

Could you tell me what you do to control ants? (I have a large rose garden, and have stopped insecticides for about 5 or 6 years. I really do not want to go that route.

Sammy (Tulsa OK)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: ants in large containers for tomatoes

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 1, 12 at 10:52

Terro liquid ant baits placed near your pots will quickly take care of the issue, and they're safe.

Alternately, you can mix some boric acid (at drugstore - sold as an eye wash) with honey, corn syrup, or artificially flavored maple syrup. Put the mixture in bottle caps & place near the ant activity - also very safe.

Both the above methods will take care of the entire colony.

If you can keep it dry, DE sprinkled on a flat surface near ant activity will also rid the immediate area.


RE: ants in large containers for tomatoes

Thanks, Al.
Borax contains Tetraborate. Do you happen to know if that would also be effective? I think it is used to do laundry.


RE: ants in large containers for tomatoes

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 1, 12 at 13:53

Yes - many people just use borax mixed with sugar or powdered sugar. Don't mix the products containing borax into your soil though. It only takes a very small amount of boron, an element essential to normal plant growth, to create toxicity levels.


RE: ants in large containers for tomatoes

I've had some success with a couple cups of molasses in a bucket of water dumped on the containers. It's worked in several of my containers, so it may be worth a try

RE: ants in large containers for tomatoes

This is a 'folk remedy', but apparently peels from cucumbers deter ants. Supposed to just lay them (just peeled off the cuke) wherever ants are, and they dissapear.
I did not try this yet.

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