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Thread: Fireants!!!!!

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Moccasin View Post
    Armadillos eat them because they are really an anteater anyway. It is too bad they are not protected.
    Armadillos are just about as destructive as fire ants.

    Ed

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    *UPDATE*

    SUCCESS!!! I was back over at the property yesterday with the intention of spraying more soapy water to keep the ants' numbers suppressed until I could find/afford a more successful approach (found out it's gonna cost about $175+ to get the nematodes to treat my property). Well, I got out my sprayer, loaded it up, then went to start out by re-spraying a lot of the mounds I'd treated on Thursday. When I kicked the first one, though, there was no response at all, couldn't find a live ant! I ended up finding about 6-10 that were totally wiped out, and several more that were very weak! So, with much more hope, and greatly renewed vigor, I went about dousing as many mounds as I could find for the next 4-5hrs!

    After that, I'm going to have to upgrade my evaluation of the soapy water method to:
    Kills tens of thousands of RIFAs within minutes on contact, and, if sufficiently soaked into all entrances to the mound, wipes out mounds over the course of several days. Of course, it's still a very time-intensive approach if you have a large number of mounds, but at least there's hope (it even did better than soaking Permethrin into the mounds for less $$$ and with a Biodegradable, non-polluting agent)!


    Side Note:
    Now that I finally have a way to (hopefully) keep the ants from wiping out my beehives, I got a call about a just-moved-in hive in someone's horse barn that I'm scheduled to remove tonight. Wish me luck & lots of healthy bees! :-)

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Got the hive out of the horse barn.... She (the property owner) wasn't joking when she said the hive was new!! When I first opened up the wall I thought I saw 5-6combs covered in bees; then I touched the first "comb" with my sharpened hive tool that I use for loosening feral comb and *splash* about 3/4lb of bees (hanging in a "beard" with no comb there) dropped down and splashed into my hive box below...lol In the end, I found 3 4-5"x6" combs that were all SUPER soft & new, with only the tiniest bit of honey/pollen in any of the three of them. I was not, however, able to locate any eggs (didn't have much light, though, as I do my cut-outs at night) or brood in a single cell of the comb?? The bees had supposedly been there for 4-5 days, shouldn't there have been a *few* hatched eggs already?
    Anywise, I got all the bees I could into my hive; spliced in 2 of the combs that had a mix of honey/pollen in the central cells; put the one comb with only honey, no pollen, in a 5gal bucket; then (after searching everywhere OUTSIDE of my box several times for the Queen) doused the "stragglers" with soapy water so the homeowner wouldn't have a couple thousand upset, homeless bees to deal with in the morning.
    My big concern right now, is that there's a chance I might have missed getting the queen into my hive box (with enough bees in there to coat the bottom of the box 3" deep in bees, finding her would be nearly impossible), and without having seen any hatched brood, I'm not so sure they'll be able to raise an emergency queen if needed. Should I try to place a "rush order" for a queen from someone, "just to be safe," or do you guys think I should just "hang in there" and wait to see what happens? (unfortunately, the RIFA wiped out all my other bees, so raising a Queen from another hive's not an option )


    Images taken with my Blackberry Bold (using phone's flash at night, so autofocus isn't ideal)
    Last edited by robherc; 03-26-2012 at 05:20 AM. Reason: added pics

  4. #44

    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Hopefully, the queen is in there somehwere. If you had a couple of frames of brood to put in there, that might help. If not, maybe you can find a replacement queen.

    I hope it works out for you!
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    LOL, I think I should've spent more time examining the combs, and less time worrying. Just brought in the comb with "only a little honey" in it to examine in better light... Looks like I'm the moron today! ROFL (don't I wish I hadn't left this comb in a bucket overnight!)

    click to view a 100% crop (Image taken in a well-lit room using my BlackBerry Bold [autofocus set to "closeup"])

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Why not stick it in the hive...what have you got to lose?

    Ed

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Here's a home remedy. We never had any luck with cornmeal but instant grits is another answer.
    Now I'm not sure of the cost for a problem as big as yours but the idea is they take the grits into the colony and begin sharing the instant grits. The grits hit the ol' digestive system .... absorbS a little moisture and POOOF!!!! INSTANT EXPLOSION!!! GRITS EXPANDED AND BLEW THE ANT AWAY!!!

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    Why not stick it in the hive...what have you got to lose?
    Well, I was *going* to put it in the hive today, but...

    I brought the hive to my property this morning; installed a pair of "tees" to hang the hive box from (while the hive was sitting in a nice, cool, shady place several hundred feet away); opened the "door" (see pics) about 1/2"-1" and watched the bees come out for a few minutes. After about 10 minutes I was pretty sure it looked like a swarm in the air coming out of my hive (about a 20-30' diameter, dense "cloud" of bees) but I decided to give them a while before I messed with 'em to put the last comb in there. So we went to a local restaurant to eat, came back and, about 1 hr after opening the door to the hive, there were only about 30-50 bees left in my box (and no queen)...they ABSCONDED on me!
    A quick run-down on the hive:
    *On the lid of the box I have 1/8" strips of wood stapled underneath, acting as spacers for the sheet of aluminum foil, giving a 1/8" air-gap with an aluminum radiant heat barrier to insulate from the direct sunlight hitting the lid.
    *Near the bottom front of the hive I drilled 10 9/64" ventilation holes for the bees.
    *After the bees left, I checked and there WERE eggs in just about every cell that wasn't full of pollen/honey, on the two combs I'd already put in there; so they abandoned their brood when they left.
    *I ran the math on the hive's size; if the bees filled in every bar with comb, down to a 3/8" bee space all-around, they'd have about 1433 sq.in. of "comb space" (I came up with 1360 sq.in. of "comb-space" when I ran the math on a 10-frame deep Lang. super using the "Dadant Frames Template" hosted on this site)
    *All lumber is virgin Southern Yellow Pine, with a little bit of epoxy holding things together.

    So, does anyone have any fairly-sure ideas as to why they left? I do NOT think it's a "space issue" as this hive's bigger than a 10-frame Lang. Super; I *thought* I had enough insulation/ventilation for transporting (and there was no "wet mess" of regurgitated honey inside the box...all dry there); I've relocated 2 other hives to that property, and neither of them absconded immediately. My personal guesses (an maybe they could even be called "uneducated" at this point) are that they overheated in transit, or maybe were still too upset from the jarring they took on the trip (I noticed a couple broken-off pieces from the 2 combs that made the trip in the hive, sitting on the hive bottom). Trip length last night (from old hive spot to my apt.) was about 10-15mins (they stayed in a protected spot on my back porch overnight after); and trip length this morning (from my apt. to my property) was about 35-45mins with them in the trunk of my car, the back seat folded down a bit, and the A/C blowing back there to "keep 'em cool."
    At this point, ANY ideas would be appreciated...I'm 0 for 3 on keeping bees in my hives now (2 killed off by RIFA, 1 absconded) and it's getting pretty frustrating.



    My "Capture Hive" sitting on a pair of brand-new hive "tees" (the bolts in the "litter poles" are because I made them in 2 sections...the back section will be built into another "Capture Hive" once I get all the parts cut)
    Click to enlarge, notice the 10 9/64" ventilation holes @ the bottom corners, and the pain-in-the-butt to engineer frame hanging on the back cross-beam

    A close-up of the "door"

    Side view of the hive box
    Last edited by robherc; 03-26-2012 at 09:25 PM. Reason: typo

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by oklabizznessman View Post
    We never had any luck with cornmeal but instant grits is another answer.
    I actually know a place where I can buy grits in bulk; does it have to be instant variety? (might cost more, not sure if the bulk store has instant)

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Moving them twice might have made them feel insecure. I just park mine, even if it is 10:30 at night, and let them sort themselves out, spilled honey and all. I left all the honey and comb, hung with rubber bands from frames, in the hive. Friday's got here about 3 pm, so I was a little worried about absconding. Last night I got in at 10:30 pm, and they didn't abscond, but they did hide in the beevac tube while their honey was stolen by Friday's bees. Someone moved into my nuc swarm trap on the trailer, and another swarm moved into my beetree. I suspect the nuc is yesterday's cutout, but not sure, since I saw bee activity near it when I was trying to raid for frames the other day.

    Bees are bees and they do as they please...

    Better luck soon!

    Dadant has a shiny metal hive stand that has great potential in antproofing. you can grease metal, won't hurt bees, ants can't climb it, axle grease would probably work.

    Gypsi
    Last edited by Gypsi; 03-26-2012 at 08:29 PM. Reason: hive stand
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Glad you had good luck with the suds methods of fireant control. You can also before a rain sprinkle clothes soap on the top of the mounds. The soap dissolves and soaks down into the mound killing the little devils on contact. But the sprayer with dawn dishsoap works the best. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Ted could you share how much dawn dishsoap you use in the sprayer?

    Dave

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    About four ounces to a two gallon sprayer. You want the water to have a nice blue color to it. Basically the stronger you make the better killing power it has. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Kretschmann View Post
    About four ounces to a two gallon sprayer.
    Wow, you're SOOO much more sophisticated with it than I was....lol I just gave my 1.5gal sprayer a really good squeeze of Ajax each time I filled it....then if it didn't "foam up" very well, I gave it a little more.
    BTW have you tried using liquid laundry soap instead of dish soap? I tried "Purple Power" biodegradable cleaner/degreaser, but it's not nearly as effective; hoping the laundry soap, being cheaper than dish soap, will be similarly effective to the dish soap?? (I know, it sounds cheap, but I'm treating several dozen mounds at a time, and I haven't even mown the hay field to find most of them yet!)

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    I believe with time that sudsing fire ants will become standard ant control in use by your typical homeowner in the south land. Robherc, grits dont work. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Did the grits just make more fire ants? (my corn meal try did)
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by harvey's honey florida View Post
    yellow corn meal killes ants - check almanac
    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsi View Post
    Tried that corn meal on Texas fire ants - got more fire ants.
    http://msucares.com/insects/fireants/facts.html
    Above is the short form about fire ant biology.

    Notice that fire ants not only live but even hunt from under ground tunnels that may cover a acre or more. The ants emerge though sally ports to forage or ambush prey. Seeding the soil with nematodes sounds like the old tale about throwing Brer Rabbet in the briar patch when you could have easily knocked his block clear off while you had him in your hands. (See the Walt Disney flick, Song of the South cia (1946) Besides, as much as fire ants are in contact with the soil I don’t see how they could begin to live much less thrive if nematodes harmed many fire ants. However nematodes do harm many plant species so if you’re planning on sowing nematodes in a spot of ground where you’re also planning on growing a garden, be advised that you may have to apply a pesticide to your soil in the form of a nematicide before you can grow a garden.

    I have heard the old corm meal urban legend almost as long as I have spoke English. Like most myths and legends there is a grain (or grit) of truth in the yellow corn meal myth. Yellow cornmeal (usually impregnated with some type of eatable fat or oil to make it attractive to foraging ants) is the carrier or delivery system (granules if you will) for a wide range of fire ant poisons. Adult fire ants can not chew or even swallow solid food so they must first take every particle of food they gather back to the mound and feed it to their brood. The fire ant brood chews up or macerates the solid food, swallows it, and spits it back up in a form that the grown ants can then eat. Do you see now why it is important for any fire ant bait to first make it to the brood nest and then be fed to the brood before it can even begin to kill the worker ants or their queen? Besides if you kill all the brood the adults soon starve.

    It used to be a common sight to see WWII surplus B17 Flying Fortress or B24 Liberators flying at low altitudes along rail road right of ways while dropping yellow corn meal impregnated with fire ant poison. This worked fairly well by creating a narrow beaten zone that fire ants had difficulty living in or migrating across. Not any more. Environmental organizations sued the USDA because no one knew how many ground nesting baby birds the ant bait killed. So now the red imported fire ants are killing and eating the ground nesting baby birds. But hey, that’s called progress.

    The only holistic treatment for red imported fire ants that has any chance of working in Texas or for that matter Alabama is Lone Star beer. Now Lone Star beer doesn’t harm the first fire ant but if you drink a large enough quantity of cold Lone Star and then recycle the beer liberally over the fire ant mound, you’ll feel better about having fire ants on your property.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    Michael, I've done the boiling water thing... I was *AMAZED* at hearing the water gurgling down a full minute *after* I had finished pouring it into the mound!... The boiling water didn't ... work...
    FYI at least one tunnel in every fire ant colony goes all the way down to the water table. Good luck flooding them out. One of the WORST things you can do to HELP fire ants is to monkey around with the mound. Any disturbance to the mound may cause the ants to relocate the mound several feet to several yards over night. Repeat disturbances will eventually find the mound moved where it is both out of your sight and out of your mind, but your fire ant problem is still just below your feet. That is just what the ants are betting on.
    Last edited by Scrapfe; 03-28-2012 at 11:32 PM.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    I have grown a garden in beds raised or ground level that I.
    Treated with nematodes for ten years and produced more
    Fruits and vegetables than my neighbors. Have another beer
    Scrapfe.
    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrapfe View Post
    Seeding the soil with nematodes sounds like the old tale about throwing Brer Rabbet in the briar patch when you could have easily knocked his block clear off while you had him in your hands. (See the Walt Disney flick, Song of the South cia (1946) Besides, as much as fire ants are in contact with the soil I don’t see how they could begin to live much less thrive if nematodes harmed many fire ants. However nematodes do harm many plant species so if you’re planning on sowing nematodes in a spot of ground where you’re also planning on growing a garden, be advised that you may have to apply a pesticide to your soil in the form of a nematicide before you can grow a garden.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsi View Post
    I have grown a garden in beds raised or ground level that I.
    Treated with nematodes for ten years and produced more
    Fruits and vegetables than my neighbors.
    I've now done quite a bit of research on several different types of nematodes....some are grown as fish feed (I.E. microworms and others...usually of the yeast-consuming varieties), some are grown to eat insects (ever wonder why fire ants are NOT native to the Southern US? Some of the best fire-ant killing nematodes are native to the Rio Grande valley, and other southern US areas...our love for polluting the ground with chemicals cleared the way for the ants to invade), others have found no widespread human use, but feed on insects, bacteria, fungi, or yes, plants. ALL of the nematodes that are currently commercially marketed for insect control have no affinity for (or ability to digest) plant material; they survive ONLY by entering the bodies of insects &/or arachnids, where their symbiotic bacterial flora proceed to break down the insect into a "goo" that the nematodes can digest (oh yeah, and one of them actually seems to like eating a couple varieties of plant-parisitizing nematodes too). So yes, some nematodes parasitize plants, but the ones Gypsi is referring to in this thread are beneficial to the plants (by killing plant parasites), and in no direct way harm any plants.

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Scrapfe, since I live only 20 miles from Shiner, would it be okay to substitute Shiner Bock for the Lone Star? I realize that tweaking the chemical composition of your remedy might make a difference there.

    Gypsi, I must respectfully disagree. I tried grease on the legs, in cans around the legs, tanglefoot, kerosene, water, and all the other suggestions. Time and again, the ants just walked over other dead ants to get to the hive. Hence, my use of Amdro granules. They don't walk over the Amdro. However, I AM glad to hear it worked for someone! Grits is just another form of cornmeal, and I had no luck there, either.

    I have had little success with nematodes and various forms of BT here in TX, but I used both successfully in Denver. Seems to be a matter of where you are and what works. I'm glad suds worked for robherc, but all I got was clean fire ants with soft hands!

    Also waging war with gophers here. The FA like to follow the gophers and make ant hills where the gophers have left their hills. I'm still thinking napalm, or very tiny thermonuclear devices . . . {growl}

    Good luck, all y'all!
    Summer

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