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 Post subject: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:18 am 
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Location: South Texas
I have a severe problem of cutter ants. I'll go out one day a tree looks fine, the next day, it's almost bare. I keep dusting with DE and pouring ammonia down the holes, but just keep popping up again a little ways away.

The ants do not work much in the day, if they did, my yard birds would take care of the problem.
Is there something else I can do to help control these critters?


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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:14 am 
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Give us a little information, please: where are you, and have you been using organic approaches to pest control? Do you garden with organic materials? What kind of trees are being cut, and how wide-spread is the ant problem. Are they in buildings as well, or just outside?

Ammonia isn't going to do anything any good. Please stop doing that.

Have you looked in Howard's Library of organic information that includes lots of entries about ants? I won't link them all here, the hot link goes to the A page, scroll down to find ants.

There is a granular spinosad product that I've used for fire ants that has worked pretty well, but it sounds like your case is so severe that you need to give the area a good watering then put out an application of beneficial nematodes. Buy them from someplace that keeps them refrigerated and don't let them get too warm or let them freeze before you use them. You'll need to use them at the watering can strength, not the hose-end sprayer strength.

And now some food for thought:

Attachment:
File comment: This is a close-up of harvester ants entering a hole in a bit of a depression. The hole is in the Texas Canyon rest area in SE Arizona. Keep in mind that if you destroy the harvester ants you'll never have horned toad lizards on your property.
AZ-harvester-ants-1a.jpg
AZ-harvester-ants-1a.jpg [ 864.27 KiB | Viewed 374 times ]


If you google "harvester ant" the results you get all are about horned toads. Why? They go together liked peanut butter and jelly.

Attachment:
File comment: This medium size image comes from the Wikipedia commons. Bear in mind - if you get rid of harvester ants on any property, you assure that no horned toads will ever live there.
640px-TexasHornedLizard[1].jpg
640px-TexasHornedLizard[1].jpg [ 67.89 KiB | Viewed 374 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:53 am 
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Location: South Texas
These are cutter ants, not the harvester ants. From my understanding, Harvester ants gather seeds and grains to munch on whereas the Cutter Ants gather fresh cut leaves and take those down to the hole to grow fungus which they then eat. With them not gathering the grains, the granular spenosid (sp) does not work for them, but it does great for the fire ants though. I have been using the ammonia because the organic guru in San Antonio, (H. Garret’s friend, B. Webster) is the one who recommends using it.

The ants are only outside; they will cut about anything that is not native to the South Texas brush. Lemon, orange, plum, peach, roses, esperanza, hibiscus, confederate jasmine, okra, black eyed peas, peppers and I’m sure I’m leaving some out. Good thing is that they do not mess with my tomatoes.

On my trees, once the ants start, I’ll wrap the trunk with a little bit of saran wrap and apply “tangle foot” to the plastic. I’ll leave it there for a week or so, and then take it off. It seems to work pretty well, but it only helps with the trees, not anything else.

I wish I had LOTS of horned toads, I’ve seen a few within a mile or two of my place, but not many. The old timers say that there used to be lots of them, but not so many anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:52 pm 
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Harvester ants do leaves also - I've seen them take the leaves off of a creosote bush and carry them down into the hole.

Ammonia is new to me, and since it is toxic, it doesn't sound like a great idea.

Did you get any ideas from Howard's suggestions in the ant topics?

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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:58 pm 
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He suggest to build a dam around the hole and flood the bed, but I can't do that, they are in the brush and I can just get to it. He mentioned a solution to use, I'll have to check with the nursery when I go to town tomorrow, if they don't have it, I think I might try to use a strong concentrate of orange oil in water. I know that works great on fire ant beds as well.
I think the purpose of the ammonia is that it kills the "farm" and therefor kills the colony.


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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:21 am 
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I've never had to deal with this pest personally but Bob Webster tells me that he and his listeners have good luck by applying wettable sulfur and water drenched into mounds openings. Only danger of this is that concentrations of sulfur can sterilize the soil. I'm on KTSA in San Antonio Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM (usually). His show is streamed live so listen this Saturday and I'll try to remember to bring up the subject for discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:09 am 
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Thank you for your response.
I wasn't able to catch the radio show, I can barely pick up 550 at the house.
I did try using some orange oil mixed with water, poured down the hole. Haven't seen any more activity in that area.
I'll try the sulfur on another area and see what happens.


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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:40 am 
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It's 660 AM now. Or you can listen on the computer or get the podcasts.

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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:05 pm 
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I do a lot of driving and put Bob Webster's podcasts on my phone to listen to. Commercial free!!! Get them at the KTSA website.

Have you tried the Fire Ant Control with Conserve on your ants. You said it didn't work, but I was wondering if that was from personal experience or did someone tell you that? I have had excellent success with FACwC. I put a 2-finger pinch in a fire ant trail and they jump on it immediately. A 2-finger pinch is only about 15 little granules of the stuff. 48 hours later the trail is gone and, I presume, so is the mound. I expect my one-pound bag of FACwC will last me a lifetime at that level of effectiveness.

There are sprays that contain spinosad. If you can find any plant that the ants are currently attacking, and spray the leaves they are currently cutting and removing, you might be able to get to them that way. Spinosad is a contagious disease for ants. Once it becomes established in the mound, it should take them out.

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 Post subject: Re: Cutter Ants
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:26 am 
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Location: South Texas
Update on the ants,
I did a heavy (turned the ground white) dusting of DE over the area where the ants have beenabout a month ago. i saw ants for two days after the dusting, but nothing after that. Hopefully this will take care of it for a while.


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