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Old 07-24-2013, 03:48 AM
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Ants! >_<

Came back from a week long trip to find a trail of ants straight to my indoor orchid shelf!
They were in all my pots and everywhere else, bust mostly in one pot. I stuck it in the sink and flooded the lil buggers with dawn dish soap! out popped a HUGE ant! I'm assuming a queen?
My question is why on earth are they roosting in my pots and how do I prevent this from happening again? I'd hate to have to use any poisons. I really hate that stuff like raid or bait traps where they take the poison back to the colony. I'm a carbon foot print kind of gal.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:52 AM
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they do no harm,but I guess you would not like them in the house right..they roost in your pots because it it the perfect environment..dark and not to wet..you could try a little chalk dust on the shelf..
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:48 PM
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I have a similar problem in my garden, though not in the orchid section. They seem to like going into some of my succulent pots. I have to use ant baits. I just do not like to see them around like that. Have not seen them a lot anymore..but I know they keep on digging elsewhere, they seem to have migrated to some areas of my pavers too. I think they moved to my garden, from my other neighbors after they have some pesticide work done. Anyhow, as long as they stay out of my house and out of my plant containers, I try to be tolerant of them.

I know ants hate crossing the cinnamon line, it does not kill them but they will not cross it. But to get to the queen, the ant bait is the way to go.
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:44 PM
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I use terro, a boric acid/sugar bait. It isn't as bad as many others and works. You put them along the trail. But, the other thing I use to clear them out of pots is wormwood. I lay a few freshly picked leaves on top and the ants begin to scramble...to the next pot. Sigh. Yes, I have had ant farms in my pots.
Biological control? I have only seen one spider that will catch them. Cardinals (the bird) eat ants. They won't cross dish soap. They don't swim so you can create a water barrier (make certain leaves don't form a path). They don't like the lava rock I use and won't nest in those pots (but love the potting soil mixes I use for my other plants). Good luck! I'm not an ant fan.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:49 AM
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The big black ants love the happy sap created by buds. I have a ton of ants that ramble through my orchids in the Summer (outside of course) but I don't usually have a problem w/them nesting in the pots. The mounts though...I've had a few instances where they set up house in the cork mounts...they really seem to love it. A good soak from time to time seems to send them off...if I catch them early on. If I don't catch them early then I have to resort to the big guns to get rid of the nest.

The happy sap will attract them...and then they find a perfect home in the potting medium...rinsing the sap off and soaking the pots from time to time should be enough of a deterrent.

Not that it's relevant to your ant problem but I have more trouble w/spiders...especially the damn grass spiders...setting up house in my orchid pots. I guess the chunky medium and the pots w/all the holes and slots makes for an ideal funnel web site. Hate them...not even water will chase them out....and they move soooooooo fast...freaks me out every time! [Grass spiders - HA!...they never seem to stay in the grass...they should be renamed to the American Orchid Pot Spider]
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:55 PM
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I don't mind spiders (gardener's friends) but the rest of my family has a problem with them. Sigh. The little buggers always need to be captured and put outside (garage in winter). My favorite are the orb web spiders and the one spider (a type of common house spider) that captures ants like crazy...I hated putting her outside...I pretended I didn't see her all winter/spring and she dutifully hid. She was discovered last week...out she went.
Ants, though, drive me crazy. I cannot convince myself that they are not out to take over the world. It wasn't helpful that in school, we had to read a fictional story (I hope) about army ants (?) that ate everything in site.
I stock up on the terro traps. I cherish the wormwood that ants dislike so much.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:01 PM
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My husband felt it necessary to bring in the latest black widow he found in one of our garages. Even in a jar they give me the heebie-jeebies. They are the quintessential creepy/cool spider; big, glossy black, round bodied with skinny legs. What's really freaky about them is the unbelievable strength of their webs. I know that Australia has some scary spiders, but I've not read enough about them to know if their webs are super strong. I don't care if Black Widows cleared out skunks from the area ... we'd still relocate them to the far-off forest area. Yeeeesh!!!

As for ants ... our house gets invaded by the 'sugar ant' type sometimes. Spritzing them with homemade window cleaner (1 part rubbing alcohol, 4 parts water, @3 drops dish liquid) kills 'em and disrupts their scent trail.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:24 PM
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I recently had a run in with ants myself, and it was fungus that was the main cause of the problem. The ants eat the fungus in the pots, at least that's what happened to me. It's a yellow fungus looks like fish eggs in an aquarium, and it grows in soil, or media... whatever! I disturbed the media in one of my spider plants, cuz' I'd noticed ants near it, and on the leaves, and sure enough. Almost all of them were carrying that fungus around. So check your pots for fungus. Good Luck!
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:26 PM
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Ants seem very fond of my one catasetum outside. I can't see anything they're doing detrimental to it, so I just leave them be, but then again they're outside. I'll have to deal with them if they follow me inside.
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