I've been interested in some of the comments about ants and have a bit
to add. I grew up around carpenter ants but don't see them where I am
now. Here, termites fill the nitch that carpenter ants filled where I
About Boric Acid:
As I recall, boric acid is fairly insoluable, so making a solution of it
will be a challenge. However, a pest control expert sprayed a borate
solution on the wood and straw of our house before we plastered. That
was to kill any termites that might try eating it, but I understand boric
acid and borates are just as lethal on ants of all kinds. You might be
able to find a source for a borate solution that you could buy yourself,
or let a pest control expert supply and spray it on. I'm guessing the
"borate" was really sodium borate which is very soluable in water. I
would think to be effective, it would need to be in intimate contact with
the wood, but I'm not sure.
About giving ants other things to eat:
I was interested in the use of sugar, etc. to distract ants from plants.
I wonder if sugar water would distract the aphid-tending ants I have in
my garden. (They tend aphids for the honeydew the aphids excrete don't
they? Maybe I can entice them into neglecting their herd of aphids.
That would give me--and the lady bugs--a better chance to control the
aphids.) Meanwhile, my little chicks enjoy picking the aphids off the
underside of any kale leaves I pick for them that it is worth putting up
with aphids for the moment.
We have what I call harvester ants that can denude a good sized plant by
carrying away pieces of leaf and stem. I've found I can distract them
from my garden or tree seedlings by mulching with alfalfa. (They carry
away alfalfa leaves instead of my plants.)
I always thought carpenter ants ate wood like termites do, but I just
found a reference to them seeking sweetish liquids, so that suggests you
might be able to mix boric acid (or some borate) with sugar and use it as
a bait. Some time back, Organic Gardening Magazine had a short discussion
about mixing baits and suggested starting with low concentrations of
boric and gradually increasing it to get the ants used to it before
giving them a lethal amount. They were suggesting that readers try it
and report their success/failures, but I don't recall seeing any more on
The same reference that mentions them seeking sweetish liquids also says
they nest in partly rotten wood and sometimes do damage "highly
suggestive of termites."
About chickens eating ants:
My chickens go wild over termites, roaches, centipedes, crickets, etc.
in addition to grasshoppers (though not the brightly colored ones that
even I can catch and kill). But we have several hills of harvester ants
in the chicken yard and I have never noticed the chickens ever eating
ants. I assume they have too much formic acid to be palitable. Those
chickens really are discriminating eaters even if they do like such
things as roaches and centipedes which I prefer to keep my distance from.
YOU'RE PAYING TOO MUCH FOR THE INTERNET!
Juno now offers FREE Internet Access!
Try it today - there's no risk! For your FREE software, visit:
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at:
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jul 03 2000 - 12:00:39 EDT