I sent out a plea for help last week, looking for advice on how to relocate and/or remove the big black ants that
were calling my garden home. You all came through with a long and extremely helpful list of stuff that had worked for your ants,
and I couldn't wait to go to town and buy all the ingredients. (I should note that I before I resorted to any of this,
I did try the let-the-chickens-in-the-garden-to-eat-the-ants method. They're afraid to go through the gate! What a bunch of chickens.)
Anyway, in addition to the garden ants, three other colonies are causing me grief.
What a perfect opportunity to do a little science project. I could treat each colony with a different non-poisonous substance,
then observe, measure and report my findings until all the ants are gone. It's the eighth grade science fair all over again.
Many of you suggested that food-grade diatomaceous earth would kill my ants. I googled the stuff
so many times last week that I can finally spell it. While I still can't wrap my head around the concept
that a product that is beneficial to the health of my equines, canine, feline, porcine, poultry and self would also kill ants,
the science made sense... sort of. I found a bag of the food-grade stuff in the animal supplements aisle at Tractor Supply.
I didn't expect it to be this color or this powdery. I transferred some to an empty parmesan cheese container so that it would be easy to dispense on the ants. (I'll also be adding it to Hank's breakfast, Johnny's dinner, and the hens' nesting boxes and feed,
but that's a
science project blog post for another time.)
but that's a
The garden ants are the unlucky subject group for the diatomaceous earth treatment.
I sprinkled a generous amount in and around two adjacent ant holes.
Initial findings are that the ants are taking a wide berth around the substance.
Apparently they've read all the articles that say they will die if they get the stuff on their exoskeletons.
But it's only a matter of time before they go down the ant holes and get covered with the stuff.
The suspense is killing me, if not them.
Another helpful suggestion was to sprinkle corn meal or grits on the ant hills, the theory being they eat the stuff and explode.
(Note to judge: I had my little flags all prepared to mark my exhibits but I couldn't shove them into the hard ground. Damned drought.)
For reference, this is an ant before eating grits. It remains to be seen if I will post pictures of him post-digestion/explosion.
The grit treatment is being used on the ant hill that I step on every time I open this tape gate to the pasture.
That would be at least once a day. Let's hope it works.
Perhaps the most bothersome ant hill on the ranch is this one, right next to the main gate.
Lucy and I have to avoid it every time we leave on a ride and every time we return home.
Me: Hurry, Lucy, hurry! Ants! Ants! Ants!
Lucy: Could you just get rid of the damn ants already?
I treated this ant hill with baby powder. Visitors are going to think I've been changing diapers on the driveway.
So be it. If it makes the ants go away, I'm all for it.
The fourth and final ant hill is in an area where I walk Lucy from the corral to the hitching post.
I've treated this colony with cinnamon. The smell makes me want to eat a piece of buttered toast
every time I walk past it, so I'm hoping it doesn't work.
I'll give it a week then report back with my results.