Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/
Our droughts kill the nematodes. In the areas of my yard that I keep moist - no fire ants. From the property line in they are reinvading now, carried by the flood down the street, and I will re-treat. My apiary area is deep in on my lot, and I will supplement with amdro as needed, but my soil type is black gumbo / rich topsoil, and not their favorite either. The nematodes like it. Like beekeeping, fire ant killing is a local matter. My point was nematodes didn't even hurt my tomatoes. Lack of bees hurt fruiting a couple of years ago, but not nematodes.
Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.
I now have 3 live hives hanging from the stand I posted a pic of earlier... 0 Fire Ants have crossed the "grease zone" so far, and I have the number of mounds on the property in a bit of a decline! Thanks to everyone for your input; now for me to deal with the AHB (no, I didn't have her DNA tested, but she's unbelievably prolific, and her daughters are MEAN) Queen in one of the colonies...but that requires raising a few queen cells from the gentler colony first.......
Anywise, if anyone else is still having FA problems, feel free to commandeer the thread; I think my battle with 'em is finally turning in my favor
One trick I use on sugar ants was to sprinkle cinnamon on the inner cover of the hive. The bees don't mind (just don't drown them in the stuff), but the ants do. Some ant species are more resiliant to it than others, like the Florida carpenter ant (big ants that attack the hive for the larvae, scary sight), but repeated application over the ground and on the actual ant mound seemed to have driven them away for good. Don't know if it will work on fire ants as I have never had that problem, but it can't hurt to try (be sure to get a big container of the stuff).
Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry.
I haven't tried the cinnamon trick myself, but I've heard several reports that it doesn't work on the RIFA ants... That said, has anyone had success fighting fire ants with cinnamon? If so, how much did you have to use, and how did you administer it?
...With soo many variables in beekeeping, I'm learning to never throw out an Idea just because it didn't work for a couple people. And, just as importantly, that just because something WORKED for a couple people doesn't mean it'll work for someone else.
I have had some trouble with ants here in Ohio and I sprinkled cinnamon. Worked great and have had no problems with them since. Not sure it will work with fire ants. Sounds like they are mean enough to take the cinnamon and make rolls with it...
My experience with RIFA is that there are plenty of products that will kill a given mound but their ability to reproduce and infest an area when the conditions are right is why they are so difficult to control. I have heard reports of people who have seen large clumps of them floating on a river like a large ball in floods until they reach dry land again. I thought perhaps after the record breaking drought here in East Texas that they might have really suffered a set back, no such luck they are back like nothing ever happened.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney
Drought doesn't bother them, it's like they are like those kids toys that grow a zillion times bigger by "just adding water".
Interesting experience today with fireants. I had a few ants in a hive cover and knocked them off, but they kept coming from somewhere. A close inspection revealed that the ants had made tunnels into the styrofoam cover and had their own nest right inside the hive. No more styrofoam for me. I used smoke to get them out since it was all that I had. They had a small hole out the top and numerous larger ones to the inside. I'm ordering a wood top Monday.
Rob, I'm finding this thread late, but wanted to tell you a secret I used on my four acres of Brazos river bottom land in North Central Texas. When we bought this house five years ago, you couldn't step off the porch without stepping on a sandbur (also called grass burs) or a fire ant. Not even one step.
I'm still working on the sandburs and ants too, but can walk barefooted in the yard now without incident and haven't seen a fire ant in the yard for a year! An old timer living next door, much older than my 64 years anyway, helped me understand that you give the ants just enough poison to stay in the mound and die. Too much poison and they just move and start up ten feet away. His favorite poison was the white powdered Ortho stinky stuff. I prefer the Amdro bait. If you put too much down, they just move...You will have to experiment on your own to learn where the dance is on quantity. HTH
I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)
thanks for the tip Lee