We bought a place in west weatherford last august (1 acre). Right away we noticed millions of black ants, mostly on the back of the property and on our driveway. They did not form lines but moved in erratic patterns and looking like they didnâ€™t know where they were going. They dont form mounds just small holes (hundreds of small holes). When standing anywhere in the backyard these ants would start crawling all over your feet and legs. They do not sting maybe just pinch you every once in a while but not very often. I was desperate and called a pest control guy. He confirmed they were crazy ants and wanted to spray a pesticide normally used on termites that after researching is supposed to be very effective on crazy ants. It appears to be a mild pesticide but I do not want to use this product on my property; but we have to get these things under control before the hot months arrive and we are overrun with them again. I have zero fire ants and I watched the crazy ants destroy a nest of carpenter ants. Any organic suggestions? thanks..... tony from west weatherford.
Update. I have put down molasses and corn gluten meal in the back. the ants seem to have moved to the front of the property now. i will slowly try to keep applying those items over my entire acre as money allows and maybe it will run them off. i also tried grits and watched them over a few hours just move the grits out of the way. i did not see 1 ant take it into the nest. these boogers are sharp. also a bait called invicta blitz was suggested. its not organinc but per the lable seems better than any of the ortho fire ant baits that was also suggested to me. the pesticied guy says termedor will kncok their numbers down forsure but thats poison. Any suggestions????
I suppose if you need to kill them Spinosad would do it. But it will kill other beneficial insects so be very careful with it, don't broadcast. Maybe get a spray version and try contact as far as spraying some of the ants? How many million would you have to track down? It might be worth testing on one area.
Thanks for the reply. Im not sure how many millions but guesstimate would be 10's of millions. I have an area in the very back that i only use for splitting wood and there is not much growth. The ants have moved to thet area i noticed yesterday and are very active. I will use that as a test area for the spinosad. Im floored that with the fairly harsh winter we had these things are already extremly active. I did notice a large fire ant mound at the very front of the property and a few carpenter ants not to far from the crazy ants last night. I am going to leave both those guys alone maybe the will join forces against the crazy ants (haha) but at least compete for food. Ill keep the progress updated. From what the media is saying the crazy ants will continue to spread in our state (Texas) and maybe this message board can have a hand in finding some type of organic control for them. Thanks..
Update: Ive decided not to put any poision out at this point including spinosad. i watched 15 to 20 small birds (not sure what kind)slowly make their way thru a large population of the ants. i thought they were just eating grass seed or somthing but when they made it to the ant holes they stopped and pecked away until they got their fill. the ants are too numerous for the birds to elimante them but its nice to see there is a natural enemy of the ants. I would hate to put a posion out and the birds ingest some of it.
Great observation! Maybe hanging a bird feeder in the area will attract more birds to discover the ants? Of course the ants will discover the bird feeder . . . there is never a perfect way to do it, but you don't want to nuke those birds so definitely don't nuke the ants!
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 11:11 am Posts: 18 Location: Aledo, TX
I think I had these as well, although mine were a light brown color instead of black (I'm in Aledo). They were running all over the place over my sidewalk between my flower bed and yard, not in a line like most ants. Didn't seem to bite. I drenched the area with the fire ant mound drench from Howard's recipe and they were gone within the day.
Thansk for the info. Sounds like you got control over yours before they became out of control. We bought our house last august and it appears the previous owners let them spread. Our place is off of ranger highway on about 1 acre. The back of it is about 1/2 an acre and thatâ€™s where the ants are the worst. 100's of little holes. They have now started moving to the front of the property. Drenching them is a good thought but the holes are so numerous Iâ€™m not sure i could get them all. and after some research these things are very resilient and will rebound quickly. Iâ€™ve been watching little birdies feed on them so I donâ€™t want to put something out to harm the birds. I noticed yesterday the ants are now on one side of our driveway and thereâ€™s 1000's of them. I applied corn gluten meal and molasses in a fenced in portion in the back where our pool is and the kids play and i donâ€™t think the ants liked that because for the most part they left that area. My worst fear is they will eventually move in the house and they are already super active. Still open for suggestions and will keep posting to the board in hope of an organic solution and hopefully will be able to help others down the line..
I guess I would try to push them off of the part of the property where they aren't so established right now, and then further back see what you can do to improve the soil and make it less friendly to the ants. Fire ants don't like the biological activity generated when dry molasses is spread around - I would try a general broadcast of beneficial nematodes (probably not the fire ant formula because it treats a few mounds instead of hundreds of square feet of regular garden, and would cost too much unless you could get a price break on a very large order of beneficial nematodes) and follow soon after with a fairly heavy distribution of dry molasses to see if that doesn't discourage them. And if corn gluten meal also repels them, add it to the mix (the corn gluten meal is more expensive these days, so you may want to try some light applications first, and try different strengths on the property.
What other products are at your disposal? You could try some diatomaceous earth to repel them, you could try Surround WP that repels grasshoppers (it's fine-grain kaolin clay and it looks like a layer of white paint when you've mixed it and sprayed it - it cost about $65 for a bag of the stuff and your landscape will look whitewashed for the rest of the season.) You could bring some native lizards and Mediterranean house geckos or other lizards to the property and see if they eat them up. An aardvark would be right at home - the animals with "aard" in their names are ant eaters - most unusual is the aardwolf (I have been a fan of "Nature" and "NOVA" all of my life.) I hope you're resourceful and patient enough to find an effective treatment that doesn't nuke the soil with chemicals.
Keep notes - as Howard says, "you're in charge of this research."
Update: Found an organic fire ant mound drench made by gardenville. Molasses and orange oil is main ingredients but man it pulverizes those guys. As I stated above there are far too may ant holes to treat everyone but I been spot treating about 10 holes every day the last few days. I wonder if there is any way to differentiate which hole the queens would be in?? Some of the holes the ants are very active and other holes there just a few stragglers in and out. I had been treating the active holes for the most part. The birds have stopped feeding on them as far as I can tell so I will try organic bait. Research shows the ants diet is mostly sweets until midsummer so I need sweet bait. About mid-summer they supposedly switch over to proteins. as suggested above im going to try the nematodes. Found a website with fair pricing. Of course i will apply the nematode far away from the drench probably neear the back where i can keep it watered. Thanks for the suggestions. Also mentioned was soil condition and as of now it is very poor. I think just making the ants uncomfortable with molases and frequnt mowings will help.The have been ruling the roost far to long it appears. again thanks for th help.
No decline of the ants thus far. Their population is booming. Have started using terro ant bait. itâ€™s a contained sugary boric acid substance safe to use and itâ€™s not a soil killer (put it out in small covered stations). The ants are really going after it so far. Iâ€™m going to keep putting it out until they lose interest. I also think my original exterminator from last summer has misdiagnosed the ant species. I think they are argentine ants which are very similar to crazy ants as far as their population and they can sustain supper colonies. They have not started coming into the house yet. . I also am seeing many more lizards. Have counted 2 larges ones (about 10 to 12 inches) and 3 small ones (2 to 4 inches). This is about double what we had last year. People have mixed opinions if they will eat the type of ant i have or not. Some say argentine ants arent good for thier digestive system. Still welcoming suggestions
Found some weapons. They are called KM antpro bait stations. I fill them with a product called gourmet ant bait (1% boric acid and sugar water). I have installed 6 feeders and the ants are going nuts for this stuff. At one of the feeders they completely emptied it and tried to make a nest in it. I've since cleaned and refilled it and they are all over it again. According to the founder of this product the ants will carry the bait back to the nest and feed it too the queen and nursery workers. The product is pet safe and the soil remians "un-nuked". Ill post back in a few weeks with an update. And they are confirmed agrentine ants.
This thread is fascinating reading. Thank you for posting the various steps and products you've tried.
I don't think I have crazy ants, but this year the yard is covered with some kind of small non-biting ants that are small, black, and they travel both in lines and running around every which way. They are going to aphids on plants that are struggling. Watering correctly (so the plants aren't stressed) is part of the remedy, but I also have a method of swabbing of some of my plants with a sponge thing meant for washing dishes. I mix up a gallon of water with some Murphy Oil soap (I'll eventually exhaust my supply, it was the first soap I used in the garden) and orange oil (a couple of tablespoons of each) and I've added spinosad occasionally. I do that every week or two (instead of spraying it on, though I need to switch over to spray because it's faster). I do it this way so I can get a close look at the plants and can use this mechanical method to actually knock off or kill aphids and ants.
I also regularly puff diatomaceous earth around each plant. Between grasshoppers and ants the flowers were being literally eaten off of my crops. I'm finally getting some eggplants now. I'm coaxing along the okra (I planted them late, by seed) and will use the sprayer on those.
I've researched sticky traps, but I fear I'd trap some of my small toads and lizards if I tried them. I see lots of them around these ant-covered plants so I know they're growing up on a specialized ant diet. If I can work out a screen around a sticky tape that would let ants through but keep out the reptiles, I'll try it. These would be in the garden and might hang from some shepherd's crooks I use in the garden. I've just given myself a design idea, I'll post a photo if it works.
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