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Organic Fire Ant Control?

Discussion in 'Organic Husbandry - Goats' started by carolinagirl, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. Mar 30, 2011
    carolinagirl

    carolinagirl Ridin' The Range

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    I want to raise my sheep organically but I live in the south where Fire Ants rule. I have tried in the past to deal with them organically but none of the folklore methods of eradication (feeding them grits, boiling water, etc) will kill the queen, only kill off a few workers and make the queen move a short distance away to start up a new mound. I have taken courses on fire ants and know that because of the way the queen is fed, anything that kills the workers never makes it to her (which is why Amdro works SO well....it kills very slowly so the queen eats it before the workers start to die). Has anyone had luck eradicating fire ants from their pastures? These things are the reason I always planned my kidding (when I had boar goats) for February. I'd rather deal with kidding on cold days than take a chance on fire ants attacking and killing new born kids.
     
  2. Mar 30, 2011
    NancyP

    NancyP Chillin' with the herd

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    Hi, we live in the south too and have found Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth works for us. I also use it to worm our pets. https://www.earthworkshealth.com/
    Hope this is helpful to you.
    Nancy
     
  3. Mar 30, 2011
    elevan

    elevan Critter Addict ♥ Moderator Moderator

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    I recently read somewhere that you can pour beer onto their mound and kill a lot of them. I've never done it cause I don't have to deal with fire ants, but around here you can get beer relatively inexpensive...it might be worth a try.

    The problem with fire ants is that they have more than one queen (did you know that?) So while they have 1 mound...underground the colony splits into multiple colonies each with their own queen. Supposedly from 4-8 queens! So pretty much no method works to eradicate them, part of the reason they are so prevalent.

    Good luck to you!
     
  4. Mar 30, 2011
    phoenixmama

    phoenixmama Ridin' The Range

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    Lemon juice, straight full-strength vinegar, DE...some examples of stuff that will work temporarily, but won't necessarily kill the queen.

    There's a company here in Arizona called ARBICO...check them out. They are awesome. They sell beneficial nematodes which are very effective at killing ants. It's expensive...but boy, does it work! And you aren't killing beneficial bugs in the process (the problem with DE).
     
  5. Mar 30, 2011
    phoenixmama

    phoenixmama Ridin' The Range

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    Definitely...the beneficial nematodes take care of this.
     
  6. Mar 30, 2011
    AlaskanShepherdess

    AlaskanShepherdess Ridin' The Range

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    I haven't had a chance to try it since ants aren't a problem here, but I have heard a lot that aspartame will kill ants. Just sprinkle it where they will find it, they take it back to the nest and eat it and then die.
     
  7. Apr 4, 2011
    carolinagirl

    carolinagirl Ridin' The Range

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll certainly check those out. I wonder if running a flock of Guineas in the sheep pasture would do any good? I know they eat insects, so would they enjoy a nice tasty meal of fire ants?
     
  8. Apr 5, 2011
    kid'n'kaboodle

    kid'n'kaboodle Just born

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    I don't know if this would work for fire ants, but it works for other ants so I figure it would probably work. I mix a little borax in with corn syrup and drizzle it in spots on the mound where ants are coming and going. I usually have to put it on twice a day for 4 or five days or until I don't see anymore activity. The size of the ant hill will determine how much you will have to use for each application and if you get a rainy period you will likely have to restart the program. I find under the right weather conditions this is 100% effective.
     
  9. Apr 6, 2011
    Cara Peachick

    Cara Peachick Ridin' The Range

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    Um, I doubt it's considered organic, but borate works.:hide
     
  10. May 28, 2011
    vegaburm

    vegaburm Ridin' The Range

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    I have 6 guineas that free range a couple hours a day, and since we have had them, I have seen MUCH less fire ants. We used to put down that "over and Out" stuff each summer to try to keep them out of the yard so the children would not get bit up. I couldn't put it down once we had chickens and guineas, and I was afraid we would be overrun with ants, but the Guineas EAT THEM! Yay! They will find a nest and attack it and keep at it. They have not been a problem since. In fact I don't think I've seen a mound in the yard since then