DE & Fire Ants- Really Bad Infestation : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We have started using the DE on our Garden fire ants and I feel like we are chasing them around! In fact our whole farm is infested with them! They are at least every two feet and we 12 acres. I started with the Amdron but the chickens are free ranging so I stopped because they appeared to be eating it. We have a prytherin (spelling) mound killer but it also seems to move them around. We are leaving the fields alone and concentrating on the yard and garden. Have any of you ever had them this bad?

-- Lynn (, June 07, 2001


Lynn, Sorry to hear of your fire ants. We used to battle them in FL but thankfully not at our farm in the Ozarks. I don't have great advice but am confused by your post. By DE do you mean Diatomaceous Earth. I have always wondered if this was harmful to earthworms. It is basically just very fine shards of glass (from diatoms, tiny marine organisms) and if it hurts soft bodied insects what about annelids. I have been tempted to use it in the garden, but the thought of harming my earth worms puts me off. Does anyone know??

-- kim (, June 07, 2001.

I heard that you can kill ants by sprinkling grits around their holes. They eat it and it expands in their guts, killing them. Don't know if it would work - don't have your problem - but it's sure as heck a cheap try.

-- Soni (, June 07, 2001.

Grits yes; in the brown bags, real grits ( ground white corn); not the instant ones, dose the nest until their ignored.

-- mitch hearn (, June 07, 2001.

MItch, we tried the grits, but sprinkled it, I assume you are saying cover each mound?

-- Lynn (, June 07, 2001.

I have found that food grade Diatomaceous Earth takes care of the fire ants quicker than Amdro. In just a few seconds, the ants are going in circles and then convulse. Between the DE and the chooks -I squirm whenever I think of them eating those ants- the fire ants are kept in check around the house. I don't do the entire 30 acres; I'm only concerned about MY area! -G- You could do large areas with a spreader, like used for fertilizer. The DE has to be repeated after a rain.

As far as the earthworms, gardeners love DE. Not only does it take care of the insects, but it puts minerals into the earth and it doesn't affect the earthworms.

DE is not a poison; it slits the outer skin of the insects/parasites and dehydrates them.

-- ~Rogo (, June 08, 2001.

I would put about half a cup full on a nest 12 inches in diameter. Renew the grits as they disappear or after rain until you see grits but no ants.

-- mitch hearn (, June 08, 2001.

I read to mix a cup of pinesol in 5 gal. of water & pour on mound. I think you need to do this more than once. If water soaks in quickly, you're okay but if it doesn't, you'll have to watch animals. DW

-- DW (, June 08, 2001.

I swear by DE for ants inside, but I don't know about outside, it didn't seem get rid of them, boiling water is one thing that I have used, I had my first garden last year and was over run with ants. We moved in August before much of anything produced (I planted late). Where I live now the yard floods like a lake so I didn't plant anything this year. I have some five gallon buckets that I might do some fall stuff in. If I had planted anything this year it would have drowned this week since I am in SE Louisiana.

As for the ants, when the time comes, I'm gonna try the grits and boiling water cause we do have them in this yard. I have DE all around my baseboards because I have seen a few ants inside. Good luck.


-- Judy Murray (, June 08, 2001.

The grits thing was a complete flop for me.

DE, however, can be made to work if you have the right conditions.

The most important is that it has to be DRY weather. Once it starts raining you have to reapply after every rain.

What I did was to rake each mound flat to maximize the surface area the ants would be crawling over. As soon as I had it raked out and they were boiling all over I powdered the entire area. You want max coverage so I used a "flit gun" type of spreader to get a nice even spread. Might have to repeat this two or three times but eventually it kills that particular nest.

Once it starts raining frequently effectiveness plunges so I mostly do it in our dry springs rather than our wet summers. Use it a lot in hen house and around my dog's food bowl too.


-- Live Oak (, June 08, 2001.

Ok so forgive my ignorance what is a chook?

-- Lynn (, June 08, 2001.

If you mix equal parts sugar and borax soap powder they don't know the difference and carry it back down into the nest which kills them all. Also if you have a flee problem with your pets you can sprinkel there beds with the borax and also your carpet and just vacume up in a couple hrs and repeat in a couple days. I used those expencive Zodack bug boms for flees and it would only last a couple days but once I used the borax soap a couple of times I never had them back again because it also kills the eggs. You can buy it in most food stores in with the soap aditives.

-- Teresa (, June 08, 2001.

Chook is the word for chickens in the land down under, whats that got to do with killing ants? Also I have been told that ants will not cross fluoride so I guess you put toothpaste in a blender of water, mix, and apply such as threasholds and window frames. Let us know if it works.

-- mitch hearn (, June 08, 2001.

== Chook is the word for chickens in the land down under, whats that got to do with killing ants? ==

Yes, 'chook' is Australian for chickens and what it has to do with ants is in my post above ~ my chooks eat the fire ants.

-- ~Rogo (, June 09, 2001.

Hi Rogo,

Thanks for your input on DE. I am still unclear as to why you are certain it does not kill earthworms. It seems to me that if it cuts open insects it will also cut the worms who are even softer bodied. I understand that DE is simply diatoms, small marine organisms who make a calcium carbonate skeleton which remains after the plankton have died. I'm not trying to argue or anything, I just am reluctant to do anything that will hurt the worms. I've been real tempted to try DE on my potatoe beatle larvae but hate to introduce something detrimental to the garden.

Thanks for your help. Kim

-- kim (, June 09, 2001.

DE is used in earthworm beds by many worm growers, I use it as well it is less effective went wet, an earthworms skin is different than other kinds of worms which are larvae, earthworms craw through and over many kinds of soil even sand, if it has food and moisture.

-- Thumper (, June 10, 2001.

The absolute best solution for Fire Ants is a professional GhostBuster-looking device that uses propane-heated synthetic pyrethrins to shoot into the mound and it kills them in about ten seconds, queen included. I got mine from an extermination professional and with it can clear an acre of fire ants in about an hour, literally 30 seconds per mound. The manufacturer sends a video with the unit (which is about the size of a .22 rifle with a propane bottle and cannister of pyrethrin attached) and explains that the ants will evacuate the queen to the nest bottom and seal her off in a chamber within 45 seconds of feeling the vibrations of human feet near the nest, hence the difficulty in killing the queen with boiling water, etc. The propane-heated fog penetrates the entire nest within seconds and kills them all instantly. It is a glorious feeling.

-- David Flagg (, January 05, 2002.

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