So this year i tried out sheet mulching for the first time, and I think I made a huge mistake. I was told i could use almost anything organic for the layers, and since i have so little space i just went out and foraged for supplies. Along the way, I came upon mounds of dirt in a forest nearby. I thought it was just some mulched materials left there for a while because it was in neat mounds. This was during winter and I didn't think about what could be in those mounds. I used this material in one of my layers, and now that it has warmed up a little, I NOW HAVE ANTS. Not just friendly little ants, but huge, bite your face off ants. I'm hoping that they are just workers and will die out eventually, but what if i accidentally got a queen in there? Anyone have any experience or know enough about ants to guide me? I attached a picture of the ant, I think they are called thatching ants. I have heard both good and bad things about them.
I didn't have giant face-eating ants, but I had a lot of them before I planted last year, and I used a lot of coffee grounds to keep the slugs away. The ants also went away, and later I read that they don't much care for coffee grounds. I have no idea if this will help you, but it worked for ants that don't eat face.
What about building a bunch of rock piles to attract reptiles to help you out?
Ants around here prefer dry warm spots; a comprehensively green and planted garden might be less interesting to them than exposed mulch, hopefully...
'Theoretically this level of creeping Orwellian dynamics should ramp up our awareness, but what happens instead is that each alert becomes less and less effective because we're incredibly stupid.' - Jerry Holkins
You can rake through the colony looking for eggs - small white blobs - which will tell you if you have an active queen. Boiling water poured on the nest is a safe and pesticide free way of dealing with them, but you need a large amount of water and you need to know where the core of the colony is.
Or you could try this...
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
Joseph, if you add information about your location under "my profile" it will be easier to figure out your problem. Climate makes a difference with ants.
Ants can be annoying in the garden. They do farm aphids. Also it has happened to me many times that I don't realize that I've disturbed their nest until I've got ants crawling up both arms and legs, biting me all the way, ugh. However! I tolerate them because they do great things for soil, aerating it with their tunnels, and spreading fertility around.
joseph, glad to hear the ants did their thing and left. They really aren't a problem in the garden. That's where they are supposed to be. They are a problem inside, but they are the Earth's clean-up crew outside.
Why they were there is an important thing to observe. You may have just made their nest difficult to access or too hot with all the mulch, so they were moving.
If ants are farming aphids, then the reason the aphids are there is the problem, not the ants.
And if ants are in a compost pile, it means the pile is too dry and not getting hot enough to actually be a compost pile.
Don't fall for the My-Place-Is-Special, It-Won't-Happen-Here Syndrome.
Cristo Balete wrote:If ants are farming aphids, then the reason the aphids are there is the problem, not the ants.
Well, both of them then are a problem. I had plenty of ladybugs and other predators, but until I started refilling ant baits every week with borax and sugar solution, I couldn't have any cucumbers, because ants would fight off the ladybugs. Look at the youtube videos of farming ants. I also did one more thing - saved banana peels, cut them up small and scratched them in around the plants prone to aphids - they have lots of potassium, and aphids do not find plants with lots of potassium palatable. So I can't be sure, which of those two helped more, but I think it was a combination.
I had a colony of small ants in my garden - the chickens got in the other day, and went to town. No more ants. I haven't seen any squash bugs since either. I lost some kale too, but the squash pant next to the ant nest is MUCH happier. I think that after the garden gets more established, the chickens will get at least an hour or two of (supervised) garden time each week.
Karen Walk wrote:I had a colony of small ants in my garden - the chickens got in the other day, and went to town. No more ants. I haven't seen any squash bugs since either. I lost some kale too, but the squash pant next to the ant nest is MUCH happier. I think that after the garden gets more established, the chickens will get at least an hour or two of (supervised) garden time each week.
This is great! I do live in an apartment and garden in the community garden, so chickens wouldn't work for me. I do have guinea pigs (my cute fertilizer makers), but they are vegetarians...
I'm so happy! And I wish to make this tiny ad happy too: