reply to post by Xoanon
An absolutely great post!!
I grew up in an area with the very benign black ants. You could let them crawl all over you and they did no harm; good gentle cousins. But then we
moved to the "the South". Egads! Being a child of allergic nature it was quite a difficult thing to have to share space with the fire ants. Thankfully
they did not come inside very often; so we were able to stake out our own perimeters. But woe to the one who trespasses. If they came into the house
death was a certainty. If I wandered outside into their territory an ER visit almost ineveitable.
I now live in TX where we have the little red fire ants, and the tiny crazy raspberries as well along with the other numerous little ant critters. We
also have a large breed of red ant that are mostly peaceful, but if you trouble them and get bitten be ready for several days worth of burning pain at
the site where you were bitten. Thank God they don't swarm.
Most of the ants don't bother me. We keep them out of the house with diotomaceous earth and boric acid spread along the baseboards and entry points.
It works very well. We have numerous pets and so much pet food about in the house, both in bowls and stored in bins and as yet, (eight years) have not
had any serious incursion by the ant hordes.
The ant situation outdoors is a different thing all together. We live by a river and before the drought our yard was a veritable fire ant paradise.
And since, as I mentioned, we have many pets this was always a concern. We used a three fold attack for the colonies there. (we tried asking them to
leave, as was the polite thing to do, we even explained to them that it was in their best interest, but you know how they can be) We first treated the
the entire yard with a water spray containing nematodes. This is suppose to work well for ants and fleas. If new colonies sprang up we shoveled them
open and poured in DE. It acts like tiny peices of broken glass when the ants ingest it. Not pretty, but we did warn them. Then, if there was a colony
that couldn't be eradicated by non toxic means we would treat that one with toxic ant bait. Eventually our yard was nearly ant and flea free, with
little or no collateral damage.
In tha past few years, with the drought the fire ants have retreated deep underground so we do not know how big their colonies may be, or if they have
survived unseen. Only rain will tell. The raspberry ants though have not slowed down much. And as long as they don't come into the house I don't have
much of a problem with them. We treat the outdoor pet areas with DE and they seem to stay away except for a few intrepid scouts that generally do not
make it far after hiking through the DE. I have also been told that the crazy ants will kill a fire ant colony, simply overwhelm them by force of
numbers. I don't know if that is true, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt.
A few years ago in the county next to us a research group released a fly/wasp, can't remember which, which lay their eggs on the fire ants which then
carry the larvae back to the colony, eventually destroying it. This flying critter is one of the natural preditors of the ant in its original
territlry. It is difficult to tell how this is working; as I stated, the drought has pushed the ants underground. But I worry. I can not recall a
single time when man has tried to second guess mother nature that turned out well; keeping our fingers crossed.
Anyway, thanks again for the great post.
edit on 19-8-2012 by jaguarsky because: sp