Another crisis (Ants)

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
91,856
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I had a yard that was half fire ant hill because there were a lot of fruit trees. I used the "erupting volcano" recipe from the kids science fairs. Sprinkle the ant hill liberally with baking soda and then pour concentrated white vinegar (from Home Depot, etc not food grade) on it. The resulting foam is acidic and follows their tunnels into the nest itself and kills them. Then water heavily to disperse the residue when it is done. Didn't have tortoises at the time but was safe for dogs and cats.
I like this idea. I'll add it to my list.
 

Taylor T.

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
600
Location (City and/or State)
New England
I had a yard that was half fire ant hill because there were a lot of fruit trees. I used the "erupting volcano" recipe from the kids science fairs. Sprinkle the ant hill liberally with baking soda and then pour concentrated white vinegar (from Home Depot, etc not food grade) on it. The resulting foam is acidic and follows their tunnels into the nest itself and kills them. Then water heavily to disperse the residue when it is done. Didn't have tortoises at the time but was safe for dogs and cats.

This method may work, but just so you know the resulting foam is not very acidic if at all. The acetic acid in the vinegar is neutralized by the basic sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). This leaves a rather neutral PH in the foam. The foam itself is carbon dioxide bubbles.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,557
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
This method may work, but just so you know the resulting foam is not very acidic if at all. The acetic acid in the vinegar is neutralized by the basic sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). This leaves a rather neutral PH in the foam. The foam itself is carbon dioxide bubbles.
Gee, I don't think I have any way to do that!
So if the acid doesn't kill them, are you saying the CO2 is suffocating them?
 

Taylor T.

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
600
Location (City and/or State)
New England
Gee, I don't think I have any way to do that!
So if the acid doesn't kill them, are you saying the CO2 is suffocating them?
Ants need very little oxygen, so I doubt they would suffocate. I have not used this method, so I cannot comment on it's effectiveness. I was just saying that the foam would not be acidic. I suppose if you used an excess of the acetic acid (the acid in the vinegar) you may get a sightly acidic foam.
 

MPRC

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Messages
3,099
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon
Regarding camping in the bathroom - I use blue painters tape and tape down puppy piddle pads and then cover them with towels. It works in a pinch.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,557
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Ants need very little oxygen, so I doubt they would suffocate. I have not used this method, so I cannot comment on it's effectiveness. I was just saying that the foam would not be acidic. I suppose if you used an excess of the acetic acid (the acid in the vinegar) you may get a sightly acidic foam.
Thank you for the info. It still sounds like fun to do!
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,557
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Regarding camping in the bathroom - I use blue painters tape and tape down puppy piddle pads and then cover them with towels. It works in a pinch.
Well, I must admit we're trying the bathtub.
He isn't eating yet (stressed), so he drags his greens all over the floor.
Then he poops, walks in it, and smears that all over the floor. Plus I've pretty much lost the use of my bathroom. Good thing we have two!
The Amdro I ordered yesterday will arrive tomorrow. Hopefully he'll only be inside a few days.
Thanks for the suggestion. May still have to do that.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,557
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Grits, old timer remedy. Ants eat them and they expand in their stomach and they die.
Do fire ants like grits?
I don't even know if I can buy grits here in SoCal. Never tried.
But I'm ready to try anything! I've heard of this method before. Thanks for reminding me!
 

Tim Carlisle

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
1,816
Location (City and/or State)
Cincinnati, OH
I did exactly that last evening with the Amdro. I can't really see that they are eating it, but I hope so!

You won't see them eating it. In a colony structure such as fire ants, the "workers" bring all food directly to the queen, who is deep within the mound. The queen then distributes the food to the rest of the colony after she's taken her share. Yes, this was the world's first example of trickle-down economics. The queen eats the grit, explodes (so to speak) and dies. Once the queen is dead, there is no one to distribute food to the rest of the colony, and they eventually die of starvation.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,557
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
You won't see them eating it. In a colony structure such as fire ants, the "workers" bring all food directly to the queen, who is deep within the mound. The queen then distributes the food to the rest of the colony after she's taken her share. Yes, this was the world's first example of trickle-down economics. The queen eats the grit, explodes (so to speak) and dies. Once the queen is dead, there is no one to distribute food to the rest of the colony, and they eventually die of starvation.
Oh my gosh! You would think they would just go ahead and eat on their own, rather than starve! Nature is astonishing!
 

lunacris

New Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
New Orleans, LA
I did exactly that last evening with the Amdro. I can't really see that they are eating it, but I hope so!
It shouldn’t take long for it to take effect. I want to say 3 days or so, at least that’s my experience. Go over to the mound and stump around, you’ll know if it’s worked based on what happens next.
 

Shortytorty

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
38
Location (City and/or State)
Ohio
Chug's enclosure has been taken over by extremely aggressive, vicious, small red ants. They swarm and attack if I, or Chug, get close to their "compound". I believe they are Southern fire ants.
I have read all posts in the archives re' ants, and this is what I have done.
I put Terro ant baits on the ground, then covered them with buckets so they are inaccessible to Chug. I also put Terro liquid in jars with holes in lids.
Then I researched, and found that fire ants are not "sweet eaters". I have ordered Amdro fire ant bait, and when it arrives, will pour some into the holes as @Tom suggested in an old post.
In the meantime, I have to get Chug out of there. I am too afraid they will find him in his burrow.
In the past, I tried him in the bathtub, but he went nuts trying to escape, even with a cardboard hide. I am going to try giving him the run of the quite small bathroom. There is nothing to get into on the floor, and I will put his small dog crate with him as a hide.
I can't fill the crate with dirt...do you think he will settle in on some towels? Or other suggestions welcome!
They are calling for 118 deg here next week, so since he lost his shade tree, maybe this will solve 2 problems.
The ant baits are supposed to work in about 2 weeks. I suppose he might reside in the bathroom for that long, if he will tolerate it.
Ideas? Critiques?
You could try diatomaceous earth it is 100 percent organic and completely safe. It dehydrates insects. You can get a bag in Amazon. I use it my yard to keep my chickens bug free. And in my house to keep everything else bug free. It works great on small insects even fleas and ticks. Good luck.
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
14,426
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
You won't see them eating it. In a colony structure such as fire ants, the "workers" bring all food directly to the queen, who is deep within the mound. The queen then distributes the food to the rest of the colony after she's taken her share. Yes, this was the world's first example of trickle-down economics. The queen eats the grit, explodes (so to speak) and dies. Once the queen is dead, there is no one to distribute food to the rest of the colony, and they eventually die of starvation.

So, they arent like honey bees who along with help of their drones can help create a new queen? Interesting.
 

Tim Brophy

New Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2014
Messages
4
Yes, those are Brazilian fire ants. They are an invasive species and destroy lots of wildlife, including nesting reptiles and birds. They have become a serious issue in the southeastern states.
They would kill a tortoise without question. None of those household remedies mentioned above (ant baits, boric acid, etc.) will work. But most nurseries sell treatment for fire ant invasions.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,557
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
@Tim Brophy
I bought and used Amdro fire ant bait, along with Terro liquid in case they like it. I applied the Amdro on Sun evening, and am seeing a huge reduction in numbers. Going to wait a while though to be sure they are gone.
I'm using the opportunity to hit every ant I can find, even outside of his enclosure.
I agree they would kill him in an instant. They tried to kill me when I disturbed the nest...instantly attacked by a swarm of them. And they leave behing red welts that itch, then get a tiny pus filled center for up to a week. Vicious creatures!
 
Top