Black Ant Problem

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I posted the following to alt.lawn.home.garden, with little response. So I thought I'd try here...
We live in the Arizona desert near Phoenix and have a significant problem with large black ants in the yard. We have had exterminators (costly), but they were only successful for a period of time before the ants returned.
I had read somewhere that one could make a solution of water, sugar, and borax (boric acid?), which was an effective poison for ants. The problem is that I don't know the proportions that should be used.
Can anyone here help with this? Are there other homemade options that I don't know about? We're trying to steer clear of commercial products, and also stay as "green" as possible.
TIA          
--
Wayne Boatwright

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On Tue, 26 Aug 2008 01:31:17 +0000, Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Its nice to "Stay Green" but you have to look at it from the side of going to war with the Ants. We live up in Indiana with alot of large oaks in the yard. We fight ants all the time.
If your going to really control them then you should get some type of poison that they carry back to the nest and kill the others. Especially the queen.
Probably the reason the exterminators where only successful for a period of time is because they didnt use something that would be taken back to the nest to destroy the queen and such.
We use the stakes you put in the ground with the poison in them. Havent seen too much of the ants after we started this. Takes a week or so.
Good Luck,
coffee
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wrote:

That "take it back to the nest and destroy the queen" thing is largely a myth. You can teach the ants not to eat that particular food but the colony (or one of the princesses) will survive and they won't be eating that bait anymore. I had the ants so well trained here the only thing they would eat was dog food the dog had chewed on, then I baited with that. Then they just walked around and I never really saw them eating anything. Finally I tracked down the nest and dosed them with Ortho Ant and Termite ... with extreme prejudice. (3 gallons of mix at label strength) I haven't seen them for a while now.
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On Mon 25 Aug 2008 07:46:33p, told us...

I'll have to take a look at that stuff. Thanks!
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Wayne Boatwright

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote: ...

I disagree (strongly).
Andro ant bait (and some others) work quite well and will kill the colony.
Wayne, you can try all the borax and homemade remedies you want, but unless you find nests and use an effective pesticide you'll have a continuing infestation.
Judicious use is obviously the key to being politically correct as well while still managing to control the problem.
You will, of course, never be able to entirely eliminate all ants but it should be possible to find dens of the large ants or at least their working trails and baiting them will eliminate the high numbers pretty effectively.
We have the large red ants here -- it's a continual battle as it's a farmstead surrounded by over a mile of unbroken native grass in all directions (so the ground isn't tilled to help disturb the critters). I carry a shaker w/ me on the tractor when mowing around the outbuildings and corral, etc., and eliminate new colonies as I find them. That keeps them pretty much from establishing new colonies inside the actual yard area itself. The little ants for the most part I ignore unless they think it's time to move into the house. I've never had a pinch of Andro fail to stop them in that case, either, altho the wife will use the borax thingie for weeks w/ little real effect before I'll (usually surreptitiously) spike her efforts. Then next morning she'll usually remark she "won"... :)
--
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It won't kill them if they don't eat it.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I've never had it fail yet when provided to them at the nest or on active foraging lanes.
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On Mon 25 Aug 2008 07:18:05p, coffee told us...

According to what I read about using the water/sugar/boric acid solution, it's supposed to be taken back to the nest to feed the queen. In theory it should work.

Supposedly they did use such a product, but it certainly wasn't permanent.

What sort of stakes did you use? I'm not familiar with them.

Thanks!
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Wayne Boatwright

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On Tue, 26 Aug 2008 02:50:20 GMT, Wayne Boatwright

Boric Acid dissolves the exoskeleton when the critter walks on it. They don't eat it, but simply walk across the powder. Soon they evaporate, so to speak. They may carry the acid into the nest and other ants die as a result.
Make a sweet spot and have them walk over the acid. Mom called it a Cupcake.
Mix a small amount of water into dry bori acid. Keep this water at a minimum. The idea is make a thick paste.
Use a bottle cap and fill it with paste.
A small drip of stawberry preserves on top. Sprinkle around the preserves with dry boric acid.
They can't resist the sweets :-)
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But carpenter ants dont eat sweets. Your method is probably good for the tiny ants.
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wrote:

I'm just glad we don't have Leafcutter ants.
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After having my house treated for termites with Termador all the ants disappeared also and that has been 7 years ago. I do occasionaly see a new ant hill but it soon disappears. I think part of this success is that all my neighbors also had their homes treated with Temador.
At work we also had an ant problem that we had been battling for many nears. After getting the building treated for termites with Termador the ant problem was also alleviated.
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This is excatly what our exterminator did. He sprayed not only around the house, but our fence where he noticed them, and the 2 oak trees on our property. It's been 3 months now and still no sign of black or red carpenter ants. I paid like $300. I was skeptical, but it worked. He used something that gets tracked back to the nest, so even later when ants try to make a nest of it, they'll get killed too. Not sure how long the stuff lasts, but so far, so good.
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Oh, and it was a liquid poison that he sprayed. So the ants "tracked" it back to the nest.
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AMDRO is the product you need..look at Lowes etc

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wrote:

Ants are not the dominant species on the planet by accident.
Pussyfooting around with ants is likely to make the problem worse. When a colony is placed under significant stress it will subdivide to assure survival. You might see fewer ants for a while, then they'll come roaring back in greater numbers.
Check out Talstar One. http://www.fmcprosolutions.com/Home/FortheHomeowner/TalstarOneMultiInsecticide/tabid/1221/Default.aspx http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=brands&id 022035 -----
- gpsman
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On Mon 25 Aug 2008 08:45:52p, gpsman told us...

Thanks, but unless I'm misreading this, I can't purchase this product unless I'm a professional. We've had professionals for 2 years. If treatment is ongoing, I have to find a way to do it myself.
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Wayne Boatwright

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wrote:

You can buy it on ebay, probably, depending on your state law. You can get a Birchmeier backpack sprayer there, too. Bifenthrin is not a USDA or EPA restricted use pesticide. It's marketed primarily for termites, but it's a broad spectrum (kills a lot of things) multi-use (interior/exterior/turf & ornamental insecticide.
You might get it, or something like it at your local greenhouse.

Eh. "Professional" often means "gets paid" in the pest control business.

I am imagining a very large ant population, although you only described the "problem" as "significant". The two don't necessarily go hand in hand...
Anyway... controlling... rather "eliminating"... a significant ant population outdoors is going to be a multi-application job, unless you were to use a tree sprayer.
(One of the benefits of having your trees sprayed (by a real professional) is the overspray, so you might want to think about that.)
I have heard and read good reports regarding interior treatment ant "baiting" (the junk they take back to the nest, etc.) but I remain skeptical. Just because you don't see ants doesn't mean they aren't there, but I hear the callback rate is low.
In about half the interior instances IME the homeowner had a significant problem before they noticed the first ant. -----
- gpsman
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4 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of water, 1 teaspoon of boric acid or boraxo.
Don

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On Mon 25 Aug 2008 10:40:54p, RVer Don told us...

Thanks, Don. This is exactly what I wanted to know!
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Wayne Boatwright

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