June 8, 2010

Ants in My Pants

 

No not really.  “Ants in my yard” didn’t sound as good. 

I mentioned the other day that a pile of extra fill dirt in our back garden has become an ant hill.  I believe the resident pests are black ants, and so far, they don’t bite or swarm.

I don’t really have a problem with them.  It seems like they might be good little guys for digging into the clumps of hard clay I toss on that pile, and I’m guessing they poop, so that’s kind of like amending the soil right there.  (Right?)

However, the ant hill is spreading, and that’s what I DO have a problem with.  I don’t want ants completely taking over the flower bed with sandy little ant hills, ya know?

So I did some research and found a lot of opinions, of course.

It seems the opinions of how to deal with ants fall into 3 categories:

  1. Kill them at any cost.  It seems this was usually from the folks complaining of fire ants, and I don’t blame them.  The best methods sounded like chemical insecticides that made the dirt unsuitable for veggies (and who knows what else.)
  2. Kill them organically.  I think the best option I found in this category was a mixture of Borax and sugar water.  I’m not sure Borax is really organic, but this solution didn’t get nearly the protests that the insecticides got.
  3. Deter them.  Put down orange oil, coffee grounds, cucumber peelings, citrus zest etc to convince them to move their hill.
  4. Opinion 4 was “let them be.”  This is fine….but not to the point that they are EVERYWHERE and crawling up my legs (which they did the other day and I had to hop over to the garden hose to get them all off me.)

I’m going for Option 3 at this point.  We’ll see how it goes and re-evaluate.  So I looked like a crazy person and I took our compost bin from under the kitchen sink, grabbed a dirty serving spoon out of the dishwasher, and I headed out to the ant hill.

I then used my serving spoon to scoop out the coffee grounds from the compost bin and scatter them around the little ant hills popping up around the perimeter of the big one. 

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The ants didn’t seem deterred.

Back to the kitchen.  Good thing I had an overly ripe grapefruit in the fridge from about 6 months ago!

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I took it out and peeled it, scattering the peelings in a sort of perimeter a little bit out from the big anthill, in a lame effort to try to keep them in their own space.

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Then I was done peeling, but my dirty, compost-y fingers had been all over the grapefruit, so I figured I might as well use the grapefruit sections too.  I squished them over the various entrances I could find into the anthill where there was a lot of bug activity. 

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And now my garden looks a little bit like a garbage pile.  But so far today….not a whole lot of ant activity around the small hills…… :)

But maybe I speak too soon……?

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