ant hills in lawn

Discussion in 'Lawn Care/Landscaping' started by Barry J, May 28, 2011.

  1. Barry J

    Barry J New Member

    Messages:
    99
    Location:
    Mass
    I have huge ant hills throughout my lawn, probably about 100-200 of them, some about 12inches wide.

    I can't use pesticides because of my little dog and kids.

    I tried boiling water, but that kills my lawn, I tried ground pepper bit that does not work. I tried instant grits, supposily, the worker ants will bring the grit down to the queen, she will eat it, and when she drinks water, it expands and "explodes" her...has anyone tried this????

    I sprinkled grits all over the hills, but after a while seen ants carring the grits away from the mounds...are they just bringing them to another hill or are they smarter then me???

    Any other ideas???

    Thanks Barry
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,079
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Boiling water can work if you use enough but ja, it will kill the grass too. Try warm water mixed with dish soap. The soap will film over their pores and suffocate them.

    Boric acid pesticides are considered to be fairly safe to use around people and pets. It is said to have about the same toxicity as table salt.

    http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/boricgen.pdf
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,362
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    With that many ants, you might want to discuss the problem with professionals. In my area, there are several full service lawn care companies that are licensed in pest control. Other than that, an extermination company could give good advice. Ants are a real problem and can be difficult to eradicate.
  4. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    Some folks pour gas on it and set it afire. But, then, it doesn't do much for one's lawn.
  5. TJanak

    TJanak Member

    Messages:
    155
    Location:
    South TX
  6. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    This evening I was weeding out around my house. The side steps are brick and timbers. While weeding I noticed ants. Accidently, I knocked over my apple juice and the ants came running out like crazy. It was simply unbelievable. So, I went back inside and got another bottle of apple juice. And, I started to make a trail away from the house. I was amazed at how large this trail got. Of course, this got the attention of my little friend next door and he yelled over, " what cha' doing Cookie? can I come over?" So the 2 of us had some fun with these ants. He asked, " where you going to make this ant trail go, Cookie?"

    I said, " oh, over there", pointing to my neighbor who is cranky.

    I think, I got rid of alot of ants. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  7. Barry J

    Barry J New Member

    Messages:
    99
    Location:
    Mass
    Has anybody used "Eco Smart" organic insect killer???
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    I haven't. I can't use any pesticides.
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,349
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Most organic, is a waste of money.

    Hot soapy water works.

    DonL
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  10. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,794
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Ant problems

    Last year I had a bad problem with carpenter ants in my house nested in a rafter bay around my skylight. I bought a rubber bulb duster and a big jar of Boric acid powder (brand name Borid) from an online pest control supplier. I did not think it would do anything, but I drilled some 1/4 inch holes through the perimeter of the skylight and the rafters below the point where it would let any water in and puffed the boic acid into the holes. Before I did that, I was finding and crushing about 30 ants a day on the floor. After a couple of days, they were gone. I was really pleasantly surprised, that something as simple and relatively safe as boric acid was so effective. A few days after that, I found they were getting into my house by traveling on the TV cable line from the street pole to my house, which along the way rested on a tree limb. I smeared up the cable about 2 feet from my house with waterproof axle grease, and it was fun to watch the ants travel from the tree along the cable, get to the grease and turn back. After about a week of this, they gave up. Haven't seen one in the house this year yet. I checked in the attic for any signs of nesting, saw nothing.
    I like every other homeowner see lots of ants of all sizes and temperaments outside. I bought these gizmos that look like big green chess pawns and a couple of bottles of liquid ant bait made from some sweet stuff, water and boric acid. I normally do not endorse any websites, and there are lots of online pest supply companies that sell the allowable sales of this stuff, but I bought thes items at epestsupply.com and I found them very helpful and reasonably priced and ship for free. these green chess pawn looking things attract ants that go inside them, drink the stuff, and take it back to their colonies to share with their buddies. the buddies become bodies. Can't ever eliminate all the ants on your property, but these things do work, and I just ordered 4 more this week for placing in other areas of my property. They are not cheap though; 4 of these things plus 2 quarts of the liquid costs about 130 bucks. When I run out again of the liquid, I will try to concoct some of my own using sugar, honey and boric acid. I guess the recipe is key, but I'm telling you, this stuff attacts them like flies to shit and kills them.
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,349
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Cool Bob,

    I know that boric acid by itself does not work, because ants live on liquid and do not eat dry foods.

    Mixing with sugar and honey is a great idea.

    We have fire ants here and they are a pain.
    When I have to kill a poisonous snake I put them on a fire ant pile, and all the meat is gone in a day.
    They have some purpose, if you have fire ants then you probably don't have termites, the ants win...

    Have a great day.


    DonL
  12. TJanak

    TJanak Member

    Messages:
    155
    Location:
    South TX
    Fire ants help control the tick population. I'd rather have the ants any day.

    Now carpenter ants tick me off (no pun intended). They are in part of the house and I control them but they are in all of the sorry ash trees someone planted around the house as well. So they just get back in the house.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,079
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    That, I know not to be factual.
  14. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
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    http://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/ant-info.htm/printable

    Ants eat fruit, flowers, and seeds, while others eat everything in their path, including small animals.

    Ants have special mouthparts for grabbing and eating food. First come the mandibles, which are jaws that move from side to side. Ants use their mandibles to hold food, carry their young, and fight enemies. Behind the mandibles are the maxillae (mak SIHL ee), which are used for chewing. But ants do not swallow the food right away. First the food passes to a pouch behind the mouth. There, the liquid is squeezed out of the food. Ants swallow the liquid and spit out the leftover food pellet.

    Ants have two kinds of stomachs—a stomach and a crop. Food an ant eats for itself goes to the stomach. Food it shares with others is stored in the crop. The ant spits up this food to feed other ants and larvae. Hungry ants may stroke each other or tap antennae to ask for food.
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,349
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    It depends on the age of the ant. Young ones only eat moist foods.

    Older ones only eat food under a certain diameter / size.

    The queen likes moist food, not dry.

    That is why they live in mounds.

    What is the factual part that you do not know ?

    Correct me please.

    DonL
  16. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,349
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Nice Cookie, Thank You.
  17. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,930
    Location:
    01609
    And...

    Boric acid don't kill the ants, it kills their gut protozoans that break down cellulosic material in order for it to be able to digest and use it as food, eventually starving the host ant. The fact that ants share it with their nest-mates means it's a targeted attack. The not-yet sick ants share the borates with their buddies,and sick ants are often cannibalized by their nest-mates, and over the course of a week the net effect on a nest is profound.

    But borates also kill plants, so use very sparingly in a lawn application.

    Toxicity to humans and other mammals is quite low- boric acid and other borates are often used in soaps, detergents, cosmetics etc.
  18. Giles

    Giles Retired tool & Die and Mechanic

    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    N.W. Alabama--Florence--
    I have had good results from saturating mounds with CLOROX straight from the bottle. This suggestion was given to me by a Chemist. Some grass kill can be expected but grass is usually dead under the mound already.
  19. NorbertV

    NorbertV New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Grande Prairie, Alberta
    Hi Barry:

    I have a mechanical solution for ant hills. I use a shop vac with a metal canister and fine dry sand. First I take the vacum and suck up all the ants and dirt around the mound. Keep vacuming until there is no more movement. Apply the nozzle to any visible openings and try to suck up any underground ants. Once all movement has stopped pour the fine sand into the exposed openings. Extend the mound of sand to cover all possible openings. Now kill all the ants collected with a hand held torch. I call it ant flambe. If you have a lot of material in the canister then suffocate the ants with CO2. Start a small fire in the canister and then cover it. That will deplete the oxygen. Wait a few hours of the ants to die. Check the mound next day and repeat



  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,079
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I only get a few colonies trying to establish in my lawn. I'm still trying to picture hundreds of them and wonder how bad they could be with the mower knocking them down once of twice a week.

    If your lawn is secluded, you can try urinating on the mounds. I had a few persistent colonies where that worked. Mostly though, I just stomp down the mounds when they first appear and/or I steer my tractor to run over them.
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