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Old 04-25-2006, 11:48 AM
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ants !

ok so i've got a big den in lava rock in an 8 inch clay pot (yes it's that big) and the local little black ants just LOVE this thing.

is there anything safe i can use as a drench for the whole plant and the medium? i've been spraying the raid version of napalm death around the pot, but the label says not to use it on plants; i've been squirting any ants i see on the plant itself with neem spray (it seems to slow them down a bit and make the plant taste yucky).

last weekend i put the plant in the sink and poured a gallon of water thru it and washed a lot of them (and their eggs--yuck) out that way, but they're doggedly trying to move back in. any suggestions welcome...
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:04 PM
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I had heard that drowning them will do the trick. I'm assuming you will have to immerse the pot in water for a half hour or so a couple of more times, probably a week apart to kill any hatchlings.
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:37 PM
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LOL! i tried that with it last year when it was smaller; the damn things climbed up the spikes and hung out there. it was actually kind of cute....

i guess i need to put a note on the calendar next year to start spraying napalm death around the feet of the planter this plant is on starting around april 1 to keep them from climbing up.

i am at least comforted by the fact that the plant can eat any little ant corpses stuck in the bottom of the pot. >
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Old 04-26-2006, 03:58 PM
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Well, Janet, I didn't want to say it, but if that's the case, I would get out the bigs guns, like malathion, Orthene, or Bayer Rose and Flower spray and bid those suckers goodbye! When my plants are outside I usually do an insect spray once or twice a season, whether the plants need it or not, as a preventative.
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Old 04-26-2006, 08:58 PM
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haven't seen any live bugs in a couple days; i was thinking of dividing it at the end of the summer; that may be when i clean out the corpses. i try to keep the napalm death chemicals to a bare minimum; for instance, i now own a bottle of physan 20 but i'm still afraid to use it.

i will make note of your list though, in case something really scary crawls out....
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Old 04-27-2006, 12:25 AM
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Another concept is to just purchase Terro ant poison at a big box store like Lowes. You can purchase it in little plastic containers that are semi-pet proof and spread them around where you have ants. The little buggers will take the poison back home and feed it to their family too! It takes a little while but has been pretty effecive. Good Luck!
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:24 AM
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do they really work? i've got 8 raid and dcon traps spread around all the houseplants and they seem to be just *useless*....
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Old 04-30-2006, 02:51 AM
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I've tried many types and I know exactly what you mean. I won't say that you will kill every single ant, but they have significantly/majorly reduced the population of the small "sugar ants" in my house. I think this entire city is sitting on top of one giant ant hill - everyone here has them to some degree. Based on past experience they will be back eventually to some degree, but for the time being - relief. It is possible to make your own poison too if you like - 1 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar & 1 1/2 tsp boric acid. Put in small containers with cotton balls to give the ants something to crawl on to eat the "poison" - for example something like a medicine bottle with little holes in the lid - lets the ants in but keeps the cats out. Good luck....
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Old 04-30-2006, 11:41 AM
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well i spent a good hour yesterday pouring about ten gallons of water through it while it sat in a big mixing bowl; got most of the little buggers out, then said to hell with this and yanked it out of the pot and divided it and tossed the old part and put the younger part in a new pot.

the thing hasn't fallen over dead yet, so we'll see what happens.

what was interesting was that as i was trying to clean the old rocks off the roots, i didn't see any ant eggs. maybe i was lucky and got 'em all. -fingers crossed-
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Old 04-30-2006, 02:19 PM
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Cynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond reputeCynthia, Prescott, AZ has a reputation beyond repute
Growing orchids in an open mix, like bark or rocks, leads to all sorts of problems. Bush snails, mealies bugs, and ants being the ones I am familiar with. I am growing in a mix of small perlite (3) and Canadian peat (2), and have no problems with these pests, because they can not get into the pot where they are so hard to eradicate. Also, If I have to repot out of season, as you just did, I hose the mix out and refill, and the plant never knows it has been repotted as there is no damage to the roots. If you find you are ever at your wits end from one of the above bugs, you may want to consider my mix. Cynthia, Prescott, AZ
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Old 04-30-2006, 07:53 PM
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Incidentally, Physan 20 is a fungicide, not an insecticide.
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Old 05-01-2006, 10:31 AM
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yeah, i was just illustrating my fear of strong chemicals.

plant hasn't fallen over dead yet. -fingers crossed-

squashed a few ants though...

and i sacrifice a turnip to the orchid gods once a month to keep the mealies and stuff away... actually my entire amaryllis collection got scale once; did whole alcohol swab thing then sprayed with ultrafine and it did the trick. the horticultural oils seem to be pretty good. all the orchids are inside which saves a lot of the problem of outside bugs finding them. (although i *did* find a tiny snail once--dunno where he came from....)
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Old 05-01-2006, 12:57 PM
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Tiny snails are bush snails and the bane of the orchid grower because they live in the pots, eat the tips of the roots, and may never come up for air. These usually come with a new plant. I have one vendor that I have gotten some from twice in a row. If you ever repot a plant, and the roots look like a cholla cactus, that is the result of bush snails, the roots having had to restart so many times. Cynthia, Prescott, AZ
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Old 05-01-2006, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for the heads up, Cynthia. If I ever see this condition now I will know what it is.
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