Aquaponic Gardening

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  Here in Texas fire ants have became a big problum. I have them in 2 or3 of my 48 1/2 bbl. system. Right now I am fluding these beds and all that are close to them. Anybody have any idea what will them with out killing fish.  Any help would ver nice.  Jerry Littlefield

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Ants are tough to battle.  DE (diatomatious earth) would be my first recommendation but that isn't that effective in a wet environment and ants are fairly good at surviving such things anyway.  That said food grade DE won't hurt your AP system if you sprinkle it over the beds and might even provide some nice trace elements while discouraging the ants.  I expect it would take days of a dry coating of DE over the top of the bed to even irritate them much though and I'm not sure if it would cause them to move out.

 

If you can get them to leave with the constant deep flood, then you might be able to use some barrier method to keep them out in the future.  However most of these methods either require a sticky goop around the edges and all paths into the beds that would stop ants from crossing or like I do in my worm bins, I place the feet in containers of mineral oil to create a moat but then you have to keep those containers free of debris so the ants can't find a bridge and you also have to keep all other objects from touching and creating a path.

Boric acid and honey solution gets rid of my ant problems.
So anyone know what kind of bait would work best for fire ants?  Honey will work well for sugar ants.  Some other types of ants will be attracted to grease or oil or meat while others are more attracted to corn meal or other starch.  I don't know what is most attractive to fire ants.  Want to be careful not to spill boric acid powder or borax into your system though when you mix up the baits, do it away from the system.
I'm going to get pounded for this response regarding FA barriers but here it is anyway. Let the flogging begin.

A septic guy was uncovering a tank port at my house that was half buried under a fire ant mound. He took a bit of gasoline, got the ants to swarm out of the next, doused them with gas which instantly killed them. He then poured a line of gas between his work area and the mound. The ants wouldn't cross the line. He did the job and never got a single bite. On the plus side the gas evaporated pretty quickly. I think judicious usage could save the day. Obviously, you do not want the gas nowhere near flames, FT, GB or kids. Also, I have no idea how long the barrier effect lasts. It could just be a quick one-time redneck work around.

I'v had two attacks by fire ants in my wick bed over the last month, I did the flood trick for about two days and that seems to make them move on to somwhere else.  I don't know if anything will kill them.  I do believe after man is long gone, fire ants will inherit the earth or whats left of it.  I did see a sign on a fence that stated that the property was protected by fire ants, only in Texas!

Here is a fire ant trick I plan to try (I've read about it and been told by some people I know and trust that it works but haven't tested it yet myself.)

Molasses.  A spoon full of molasses per gallon in hot water mix up and spray on the ant mound and around where you want to keep them away.  I've been told it works.

I do know that spraying molasses around you system is quite safe and actually beneficial.  I use molasses heavily in brewing my worm teas and I will often spray a molasses/water mix on my plants which helps feed the plants while also deterring pests or even killing some.

OK I got to try that!  It would just be to simple.  Its funny how many soulutions to our problems are often the simplest.

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