ants in mulch bin... what now?

I let my mulch bin go.... for a long time.... and now i need to add green stuff i am weeding out of the garden, but there is a huge ant pile in there (i think fire ants... didn't get that close)....
The bin is a store bought, black plastic cube with a removable lid and side vents and side doors.....
Any suggestions? i am allergic to most insecticides, but could get my husband to do that if it is my last resort. Would rather try to bake them to death or something, but not sure how.
Kellie near Houston, TX
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Kellie J. Berger wrote:

Your compost is too dry ;)
Pee on it, regularly, 2-3 times a week; or put nettle water (nettles in bucket, water, let sit 5-10 days) on it. Once it gets damp enough the ants will leave.
Henriette
--
Henriette Kress, AHG Helsinki, Finland
Henriette's herbal homepage: http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed
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In our last fun filled episode, Wed, 19 Nov 2003 11:13:12 +0200,

If it is fire ants, the problem is ..ahem..a wee bit more serious. Fire ants can be very dangerous, especially if there are small children or pets around.
The good news is that if you disturb the nest several times, they'll move out of the compost and you can treat the mound when it pops up in its new location.
Pam
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"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a heart."
"ElissaAnn" < snipped-for-privacy@everybodycansing.com>
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we do have both wee children and dogs--- which is why i DIDN'T get a closer look :) will try hosing it down for a few days. Wish i had thought to take the cover off this week during our torrential downpour. I figure we got at least 6 to 8 inches of rain in one day!
ah well....
Kellie
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message

DIDN'T get a closer

had thought to take

I figure we got at

Ortho has a new formulation for fire ant bait; you might check out the label to see if you can use it. It's not the older white stuff that blows around easily and smells badly; it is yellow almost meal looking. I personally don't think it works as well as the smelly white powder but I buy what I can get. (I have raised rose beds interplanted w/ herbs and I get a LOT of fire ants.)
If you really want to avoid pesticides is there any way you can dump some boiling water into the mulch pile? I haven't tried that method myself, but seem to recall reading (Aggie site?) that boiling water works. Maybe do as others suggest first: soak the pile to get the fire ants to build up. Then boil the little suckers. :)
Good luck -
Gail near San Antonio TX
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1) One of the benefits of having a lover is to have someone to do your scut work. <g>
2) Flood the ants out by filling with water to above the pile level 4-5 days in a row.
3) Get a pound of habenero pepper from www.redsavina.com and spread it around the compost bin one a month after the ants leave. The stuff is so strong that it will also drive off mothers-in-law <g>
Dick
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will start the flooding today! As for the peppers, the dogs already drove off MIL :~) gonna toss the jalepeno bushes in the compost soon.... DH never does much with them and the rest of us won't eat 'em.... they are, of course, producing like mad! need to figure out how to make one of those chili pepper wreaths! lol
can i mix the pepper with the coffee grounds and get rid of the slugs AND ants at the same time?!
Kellie

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