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Old 03-09-2015, 05:17 PM
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Ant infested pot

I picked up my smaller orchid pots to give them a good soaking and in one of them at least a thousand black ants came pouring out. So, I set the pot in water, but the ants were so numerous that you couldn't see any green from the orchid.

The plant doesn't appear to be bothered by sharing with an ant colony, but how do I get rid of them? Would completely submerging the pot for about an hour and then repotting in fresh, dry media take care of it?

No chemicals as these pots are wintered in the fish room. And it isn't warm enough to leave them outside yet.

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:59 PM
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Perhaps best to repot the orchid if weather is suitable
By soaking it in the water you will most likely not git rid of them all, they somehow seem to live inside a bubble of air and even soaking for hours will not get rid of the.
When I have this problem and repot time is not suitable I add a few drops of diswashing liquid to the water and this gets them soaking wet and what do not move out seem to drown after a while
Worth a try.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:49 PM
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That's pretty much what I've done. Our daytime highs are warm enough to move outside, but we still can get frost or freeze.

First I pulled all my plants from the same area. 3 oncidiums, 1 catt and 1 dyakia. Soaked all of them in water, then sprayed with a mix of soap and water.

Waited about 30 minutes while I drug out all my stuff to mix up orchid "dirt". Orchid mix that I add perlite to as it looks like dirt with chunks of bark in it. The perlite seems to help tons with this stuff. Once I use it up I will switch to straight bark and add sphag and perlite.

Anyway, back to today. After soaking all 5 plants I worked off the existing media, which looked fine, but I wasn't taking any chances with all those ants! Every pot got fresh media.

Funny, the one with the ants, Sugar Sweet (or is it Sweet Sugar...I forgot...lol) is trying to bloom. Never noticed this last time I watered them. Must have just not noticed. There is a nasty kink/bend in the spike. Hope that doesn't cause issue.



Now I am having to pick ants off of me. I still can't believe how many crawled out of that tiny 3 inch pot. Oh well, at least the orchids are good. Think I may start dragging them outside for the afternoons again.
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:09 PM
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I had an ant infestation in my 'fairy' garden and even after soaking it overnight, they didn't drown. It was in the home so I did not want to spray anything. I got rid of them by using granular rose systemic and watering very well.
It is hard to believe the weather is that nice. We still have snow on the ground (though it is finally melting!)
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Old 03-10-2015, 02:42 AM
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Yeah, I am in Zone 8. We get all 4 seasons, but most are mild with the exception of summer. It gets fairly hot here! We get snow in the winter, but it rarely stays on the ground for more than a day.
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:48 AM
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I use Sevin power. I sprinkle a little bit over the top of the medium and then water it down into the pot...just enough to get it in there but not to wash it out completely. Ants gone!



I always get those tiny black ants in my Ctsm pots every summer (I believe they are attracted to the sweet sap this group exudes) so Sevin has become part of my regimen before bringing all the plants back inside in the fall.
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Old 03-10-2015, 01:02 PM
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When I notice ants moving on or around my plants, I have used those "ant feeding stations" with good success. I put a bunch down on the shelves where my orchids live, and over a period of a few days, I no longer see ants crawling around. The last ones I got were Terro brand, I believe. This reminds me that I need to get some new ones for the spring.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:21 PM
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I second the Terro suggestion. I have to deal with the ants down here in the greenhouse. It's the south, so those little buggers are looking for any relief from the heat. I tried insecticides but it just would not "stick". Placed a few of the liquid bait stations on benches and near openings and voila, no more ants. Takes some patience as they have to carry it to the rest of the colony, but it works like magic. No repotting, no more insecticides just for ants. Borax is a lifesaver for me and my plants.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:39 AM
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FYI - the ant bait stations work in an area that is covered but if your plants are outside and open to the elements (like mine are!) then the bait stations are of little help. I have them setting among the plants all summer long and they sure don't stop ants from running around or setting up house in some of the pots.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katrina View Post
FYI - the ant bait stations work in an area that is covered but if your plants are outside and open to the elements (like mine are!) then the bait stations are of little help. I have them setting among the plants all summer long and they sure don't stop ants from running around or setting up house in some of the pots.
I guess that's the give and take... You just have to find out what works for you in your conditions. I agree, it would be hard to use those baits on plants not in a greenhouse or enclosed area like the house.
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Old 03-11-2015, 01:40 PM
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Interesting. I have a lath shelter with shelves off the ground, but it is outside and not enclosed. I did distribute more of the bait stations than the directions called for, but the control lasted for most of the summer last year. When I noticed a few more ants, I would stir the liquid with a toothpick and move the station to a new location, and it seemed to work pretty well. I wonder if it depends on the type of ant involved.
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Old 03-11-2015, 02:15 PM
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The bait stations usually work great for me but these were the tiniest little brown ants (I never saw this type before) and they wouldn't touch the Terro. Most of the ants love that stuff to death so I don't know what type of ants these were.
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishmom View Post
When I notice ants moving on or around my plants, I have used those "ant feeding stations" with good success. I put a bunch down on the shelves where my orchids live, and over a period of a few days, I no longer see ants crawling around. The last ones I got were Terro brand, I believe. This reminds me that I need to get some new ones for the spring.
I have also used Terro bait stations with excellent results. You put a couple of drops of the liquid on a bit of cardboard, the ant come running and pig out on the stuff and they carry it back to the nest. All ant gone within 4 days and haven't seen any since.
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Old 03-17-2015, 01:52 AM
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Many thanks for all the suggestions!!! By using soapy water and repotting that night I was able to kill all those ants. Unfortunately it happened in what used to be my daughter's bedroom....now converted into my fish room. But I never saw an ant crawling around as they were piled into that tiny pot.

As a safeguard I sprayed soapy water around the windowsill the pot was sitting on to be safe. Plus now that my daytime highs are in the upper 60s I have been dragging them outside every day; and back in overnight as it can still drop into the 30s.

Ugh, those phals still haven't opened their blooms. Afraid they are going to drop with moving the plants. I can't keep them in the window in my kitchen as the spike is growing in different directions. And, I've heard not to turn the plant.....so it no longer fits into the window
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:39 PM
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They don't like bits of lemon left to rot, or half bits of chili peppers…
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Old 04-05-2015, 03:23 AM
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Good to know!
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Old 04-05-2015, 04:23 AM
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I wonder if the ants were fertilizing the orchid, many plants actively encourage ants to stick around. Not suggesting you leave them, but interesting to speculate anyway.
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Old 04-05-2015, 01:11 PM
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Hmm. I have tons of lemons.....
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Old 04-06-2015, 07:41 AM
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Has anyone ever tried sprinkling some Amdro in-, or near pots?

It's a bait that the ants carry back to the next, where it kills them all.
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Old 02-12-2016, 03:16 PM
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In checking out my plants and giving them a good soaking I again found ants in the same pots as last year. None of the other orchids are infested, but these smaller oncidiums seem to be a major attractant.

Going to once again report them and attempt to get rid of the ants. Then, as I did last year, use the typical soap/water mix to spray down the windowsill that I winter my orchids on. Gotta be careful too as the Red Twinkle is just loaded with flower spikes. Should produce a great show this year

I'm starting to think there is a synergistic relationship between these plants and the black sugar ants. But who wants to be covered in ants when you pick up the plant to water them? Not me!
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Old 02-12-2016, 04:44 PM
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The Terro ant baits are very effective for sugar-feeding ants and are based on boric acid and sugar.

They should be fairly safe around the fish since you are not spraying anything, but just in case, can you put the plants in another room during treatment, or treat them outside for a few days during warm weather? Usually the Terro baits clear an infestation in 2 days, including the queen.
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Old 02-12-2016, 05:23 PM
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When trying to get rid of ants using baits it important to know which species they are. Amdro is a very good bait that I use but it's formulated for specific species. There is another bait I use which targets other ant species. And I also have lots of different ant species which I don't consider a problem that fortunately don't touch either of those two baits.

But if you want to get rid of ants in a pot by soaking it you need to leave the top part of the pot out of the water, ie don't completely submerge it. And give the ants a walkway to another pot or container that's disposable. They'll soon shift camp to the more hospitable environment. If you don't give them that alternative they'll hang on and try to 'ride out the storm'.
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Old 04-30-2016, 08:43 PM
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Ant on cymbidiums

Hi,
I have not posted for quite a while, but last week was hosing my orchids down and all of a sudden a seething mass of black came out of the pot and up the orchid completely covering it (they hadn't been there the week before), I couldn't believe my eyes, what should I do, I watered yesterday but didn't see any come out again, I hate the blighters.

Another query. I have seen traces of a virus on a couple of orchids and am wondering how to treat it please?

Any help is very much appreciated.
Di
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Old 05-01-2016, 07:10 AM
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There is no treatment or cure for virus but the only way to know for sure that you have virus is by testing. I've seen orchids that showed symptoms of virus and yet they were clean and other orchids that looked perfectly fine but they tested positive. Visual IDing is not reliable.

If there is virus though...personally, I don't keep virused orchids so if they test positive...in the trash they go. Thankfully, I've only ever had a couple that tested positive and they were pitched. If I had a rare or sentimental orchid that tested positive, I might consider keeping it but, to date, I haven't had to cross that bridge, thankfully.

As for the ants, if you aren't seeing them then, perhaps, they hadn't set up house yet. Set the pot in water and let it soak for a bit and see if anything comes up. If you don't see any ants, then I wouldn't worry about it. On the other hand, if you see some coming up then you could try any of the above suggested methods for getting rid of them. Good luck!
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:10 AM
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Holcostylis MS Sunlight

Hi,
It is a while since I have written but I have just purchased the above orchid and am wondering what the requirements are for it, is it a cold grower or warmer? TIA.
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