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Thread: Fireants!!!!!

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    When you apply nematodes you do it in a soaking manner, they can't live on the surface of the soil for long - so when the ground is moist, (water first if you have to), or right before a moderate rain. (half inch or so - when it will soak in, not run off).

    You aren't penetrating the soil when spot treating with the tobacco juice - your fertilizers are organic, so no, I don't think what you are using will kill them.

    Our droughts are why I have to reapply my nematodes - I don't water my perimeter areas at all - and the fire ants come in there. But I do still have pretty good protection in the areas I garden and therefore water, after a year or 2, sometimes 3. It is cheaper to reapply nematodes than to keep the edges of the lot watered all summer long.

    (and by the way, have you got an easy cure for aphids? I was going to use dilute dish soap on my pear tree leaves - I have removed the tiny black ants that were farming them from a hideout in a fold of pond liner)

    Gypsi
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsi View Post
    (and by the way, have you got an easy cure for aphids? I was going to use dilute dish soap on my pear tree leaves - I have removed the tiny black ants that were farming them from a hideout in a fold of pond liner)
    Tobacco juice, ladybugs, red onion peel tea... those would be my first 3 allies I'd try to call up in the fight against aphids.
    Having failed with the above 3, I'd prob. give the soapy water a try; but it (and the tobacco+red onion) may poison the pollen+nectar in your blossoms, thus reducing your pollination on your pears, and the amount of bees in your hive boxes

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    The aphid infected pear tree is all done blooming, and I have no bees at all until April. Had some ferals pollinating this one a couple of weeks ago. Sad thing is, now my other pear tree is in bloom, and I don't even see ferals...

    I may just squish the aphids. These Aphids were planted by ants, these tiny black ants hid from the nematodes in a liner fold around one of my ponds, I removed the ants., poured a little vinegar in their nesting area.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    yellow corn meal killes ants - check almanac

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Tried that corn meal on Texas fire ants - got more fire ants.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsi View Post
    ...I have no bees at all until April. Had some ferals pollinating this one a couple of weeks ago. Sad thing is, now my other pear tree is in bloom, and I don't even see ferals...
    I don't quite understand the "no bees 'til April" part, are you a bee customer with a pollination contract? Or are you waiting for package bees in Apr?
    Either way, if you'd like to get some bees of your own sooner, PM me and I'll tell you how I collected my bees; might save you some $$$ and prove to be fun+educational (costs $35 to file paperwork with TAIS & a little for equipment, but 90% of the equipment you'll be using you need for working your hives anywise)

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    If you dig through the forum there is a post called - Gypsi's bee story - all in one place. I got robbed out in October. I've got swarm traps out, but my local ferals (the ones that started as my may swarm last year) have probably been trapped or worse - no local bees for the last week.

    I've got swarm traps in distant locations, haven't checked them lately. And I guess tomorrow afternoon I'll build my bee vac and catch boxes... I have a couple of nucs on order that should come in April.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by robherc View Post
    ...heading over to attack the devils with some dish-soap water in a sprayer. I'll use the soap that's made with a bit of grapefruit oil in it, see if maybe that'll make it more effective at "melting the exoskeletons." Will update everyone on how well that works by this evening, and again in a couple days once I see if it really wiped 'em out, or just killed a few thousand of 'em.
    Well, so far I've used up a 64 fl.oz. bottle of dish soap, mixed up into 15 gallons of solution, and sprayed that on about 40-45 mounds (not all of my RIFA mounds, but I ran out of dish soap).
    My observations so far are:
    -The fire ants DO NOT LIKE getting sprayed directly with soapy water
    -Soapy water, when applied directly will kill the ants, but it takes several minutes
    -If you're really, REALLY careful about nozzle positioning you can get your garden sprayer to inject foam into the ant mound (I'm thinking of modifying the nozzle on my sprayer to make it more efficient at this)
    -Foaming the mound traps ants inside better, and leaving a 1"-2" pile of suds over the whole top of the mound works REALLY WELL at trapping and killing LOTS of ants that might otherwise escape
    -Foaming ant mounds is VERY time consuming when you have more than a few mounds (took me several hours, and I still have several more mounds that I'll have to treat when I go back over there of Thursday)
    -Spraying a little soapy water on an "ant raft" of fire ants REALLY upsets them a LOT and is VERY amusing, as it causes a loss of surface tension in the water under them, and thus instantly sinks their "raft" lol...great fun

    Anywise, I was able to verify for certain that soapy water is death to fire ants, in similar fashion to honeybees; so that part of the theory is proven. What we'll have to "wait and see" is if it actually will wipe out the entire colonies, or just kill the ants that it's applied directly to (I'm not sure which way I lean on this one entirely, though I'm fairly hopeful that giving the entire mound a thick "foam cap" may even starve the ants inside for Oxygen by stopping all airflow...like fleas on a sudsy dog ). I'll try kicking a few of the mounds that I treated after today's flash flood (gotta love when the rain helps you out by chasing the ants out of their deeeeep tunnels) when I go back over on Thursday; see how diminished/eliminated their populations are a couple days after treatment.



    For those who don't have our Fire Ants, this is an average sized mound that happened to be right next to my pond (the dollar bill I placed there for a size reference, you don't want to know how much it hurt to get it back!)



    The murdering minions gathering to gloat on one of my top bars on a hive they killed off; little do they know that their home has already been turned into:

    This! HA HA HA HA!!! so much for THEIR victory dance; methinks their gloating may soon turn to crying once they see that their mound now has a nice, thick "foam cap"



    This is (part of) my back field, where I have my hives...the wildflowers are just BEGGING me to not give up on getting them some pollinators (and neither the dewberries, nor the mesquite have begun to bloom yet, not to mention all of the flowering plants up in my gardens in the front 1/2 of the property!)

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    I'd have let them keep the dollar.
    Post if it kills the whole mound.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    First you need to get one of these-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln17jYbVkfQ
    And you thought your beekeeping hobby was expensive?
    Then you make a cover that fits over the ant hill. Hook a steam line to the cover and run live steam into it for a half hour or so. Extra hot ant sauna.

    I'll take my meds now and lie down.
    Bill

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Things that kill and deter other ants usually don't even slow Fire ants down. As far as I know, the only effective systemic Fire ant remedies include agent orange and napalm. They really are a terrible pest!

    For the hives themselves: I have my hives on stands that have legs made of 4 X 4s. The legs sit in aluminum pie tins filled with Amdro granules. Tried setting the legs in oil, kerosene, and water, with no luck. The ants just walked over the backs of dead ants to get to the hive.

    Make sure the ground around your hives is clear. One blade of grass leaning over and touching a stand is a bridge, and they will use it. I have seen Fire ants take down a really strong hive in 7 days. They go in, sting the pupae and kill them. They don't eat them, they just kill them.

    I work to keep the ants down in a radius around the house and yard, and around the hives. Getting all of them on my 22 acres would involve using methods and chemicals I don't want around the bees. And honestly, I'm really not sure you can get them with those methods. I just define my perimeters, and work to maintain them.

    Last year with the drought, they were fewer in number. We're getting rain this year (Praise God!) and I'm already seeing more of them.

    Good luck!
    Summer

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by summer1052 View Post
    <snip>...the only effective systemic Fire ant remedies include agent orange and napalm.
    Hmmm, you know; I considered trying the napalm thing (no joke!), but it doesn't work... it kills the ants in the top couple inches, but the rest just go DEEP (remember, their tunnels often go deep enough to hit ground water...that's why you didn't see them last year) and the heat doesn't reach them. (although, I must say, until I saw that they weren't all dead a couple days later, it really did feel rewarding to watch the mound roast!)

    Quote Originally Posted by summer1052 View Post
    I have seen Fire ants take down a really strong hive in 7 days.
    FINALLY, someone who understands what I'm dealing with here!! I was starting to go mad wondering if I was the only one losing hives to these things!

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskers View Post
    First you need to get one of these-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln17jYbVkfQ
    And you thought your beekeeping hobby was expensive?
    LOL My wife HATES you now!!! Do you know how much "spending money" you may have just cost her?!? :-P

    He he he SOOOOO tempting; and I could actually use the steam tractor...been wanting to buy a tractor for plowing/box-blading a few areas anywise; might be a little cheaper+more rewarding to build a steam tractor than buy a diesel; and it'd give me somewhere to burn all this mesquite wood I have lying around from my battle with the prickly tree

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Oh, no, Rob! I'm right there with you! I understand! I have pretty sandy soil -- silty in some spots -- on most of my place, and the fire ants are terrible. I also have a lot of trouble with wax moths. Everyone keeps saying "oh, but a really STRONG hive will take care of the moths, don't worry about it!" I'm glad that works for them, but enough of ANY pest, and a hives go down. Period. If they haven't walked a mile in my moccasins . . .

    I am really unaware of anything systemic for the FA. I won't repeat here what DH thinks the F stands for, but I'm sure you can guess. Like I said, keep the ground bare around the hives, keep the grass short enough where you can to see the hills as they appear, define your perimeter, and walk the line every couple of days. Fight the ones you can, and hope for detente with the rest. If you spend all your time with the FA, you'll miss the WM, SHB, and wild hogs!

    Go Fighting Sand Crabs!

    Summer

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by summer1052 View Post
    If you spend all your time with the FA, you'll miss the WM, SHB, and wild hogs!
    Hmmm...well, in the service, FA stands for Field Artillery.....now THAT might be an effective cure for the fireant hills!!! Now, to source a 155mm howitzer, a couple high explosive rounds, and somehow convince my neighbors to sign "release of liability" forms is case a round should level their house for them.....lol


    BTW: Headin' over to the property shortly, will post on the status of the mounds I treated Tuesday after I get back....wish me luck & lots of DEAD ants guys!



    P.S. WILD HOGS was a HILARIOUS movie, but if any Javelinas are found on my property at night, they'll be found in my FREEZER in the morning

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsi View Post
    Post if it kills the whole mound.
    Well, after kicking a dozen or so soap-treated mounds, I found TWO that appeared to have been wiped out, and three-four that appeared minimally injured (one was healthy enough to swarm up my leg and let me know EXACTLY what they thought of the guy who soaked 'em with soap, then stuck his foot in their home!); the other mounds were all significantly diminished in numbers, possibly even down to near "critical mass"...so I'll give 'em a couple more days before making my final judgement. For now, however, the dish soap is looking a lot like a "Kills the ants it hits, and several others...but very infrequently gets all the queens in a colony" agent. I'll continue using it for now, as it's about as effective as Permethrin, but uses a natural, biodegradable agent instead of a highly toxic to ALL life forms (ok, maybe except for a couple "oil-eating bacteria" strains) Petroleum-based one.

    Meanwhile, Gypsi, can you get me any more info on what specific nematodes I'm needing? I know there are MANY diff. species & strains of nematode (technically, aren't earthworms nematodes too?), I've raised a few in the past (as food for newly hatched cichlid & betta fry), but don't know which species eats ants+fleas. I'm thinking of maybe culturing HUGE batches of them indoors, then applying them (by soaking method) directly to the fire ant mounds/nematode all-you-can-eat buffets... see if maybe the "organic" method can also be used as a "quick" method via direct, massive, administration :-)

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    No idea exactly what strain - they are mentioned in this flea control article from my feed store. The package tells what strain, but I tossed that last March.
    http://www.russellfeedandsupply.com/...83-2010-07-783
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Google nematodes ants, get lots of hits, this is the first.
    http://www.dirtworks.net/Fire-Ant-Nematodes.html
    Latin names, Steinernema carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis indica are part way down. Expensive, but if those ants are as nasty as I've heard, worth it.
    Bill

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Thanks whiskers.

    I did the Google search, printed off about 10-15pp worth of university research papers on them too. Now I'm just trying to find the cheapest source for some Steinernema Carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis Bacteriophora (not bad, you were only about 1 species away from what I finally decided on...good call...I just like the idea of "makin' 'em glow" with the phosphorescent bacteria the H. Bacteriophora keep as symbiotes!). Once I get some of those two ordered, I'll prob. dig up 1-2 RIFA mounds to use as "victims" & feed them to the nematodes in a controlled environment (and an ant-proof container, so none of the ones who don't get eaten quickly enough will get out and get me); use the captured ant colonies to build up the nematodes' numbers so I'll have enough to treat more land with. :-)
    Now I almost can't wait to find my first WM or SHB larvae in my hive boxes, they're supposed to be GREAT for culturing these nematodes "in vivo" in.....mwah ha ha ha! *continues evil cackling as he heads out to go check the hives for any shb larvae to use as "victims"*

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Fireants!!!!!

    Armadillos eat them because they are really an anteater anyway. It is too bad they are not protected.

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