Overwhelmed with problems!!

Hey there! FIRE ANTS - UGH! I hate them..but, I have had success w/ orange oil and dish soap mixed w/ water. This has killed the ants. However, my preferred method is to use DE and hope for the best! My experience, DE hasn't killed the ants - just caused them to move onto a new location...which I'm good with...

Good luck and I wish you the best!


  • sherryo
    sherryo Posts: 58
    edited April 2018
    If you do decide to go with boiling water, you could scoop aside some compost first, let ants leave it and then use it as seed for inoculating the pile again.

    Depending on how worm bins are set up, you can set the legs inside containers of water, and the ants can't cross.  Or set bricks in the water containers and place the bin on top of them. Some people pour a little oil (any kind) on top of the water to prevent mosquitos and refill the water regularly.

    There are organic fire ant baits that aren't too expensive and can usually be found at your local nursery but I wouldn't use them inside worm bins.  I would spread this near worm bins, and let the ants harvest it.

    I'm jealous of your soldier flies.  I've been trying to start some.
  • princessalilock
    princessalilock Posts: 3
    edited April 2018
    Sherry, I found it quite EASY to get soldier fly larve :)  If you do not have to worry about fire ants, then get a bin (think garbage can) and put some water drainage in the bottom.  Put in some leaves, paper, cardboard, and your "green stuff".  Leave it uncovered outside and forget to turn it for a bit :) Apparently, Soldier flies like "stinky things" :/  I've read somewhere that if you get them then it means that your compost has become anaerobic...aka...STINKY.  First you might notice the flies, they sort of look like they have stingers...but so far I've never been stung by them.  I didn't even know what they were until this year, in previous years...at a previous house, I just called the larve "compost critters"...go figure.

    I have started a worm bin...unfortunately, my worm "colony" is VERY small...I've got...30!  My local stores carry the worms, but they want outrageous prices and my DH does not understand why I would want to order "fish bait" online :(  The poor man doesn't have a clue!!  To him, they are fish bait...to me, they are a non electric garbage disposal :) Right now my husband and I are disagreeing about my worm bin....I have it in...the kitchen for the time being.  I find this convenient for checking on the worms and also so I don't forget about them.  He wants me to put them outside, but I know my black bins will get too hot...I have "critters"...possums, raccoons, etc that could get into my bin and eat them, and then there's the dreaded fire ants....and we have an abundance of spiders too as well as one "rogue" chicken :)  The chicken is not mine, and last year she was part of a small flock...but this year she is a lonely chicken as all her "friends" died thanks to foxes getting into the neighbors coop.  Last year the small flock was referred to as "the clucker ladies" and they are allowed to "free range" the neighborhood by their owner...which poses problems for me...last year they cleaned off my hot pepper bush, ate half my asparagus fern.......yeah.  This year the one, rogue chicken is referred to as "Ms. Clucky" and she visits pretty much daily.  She gets on my porch, socializes with a stray cat that has taken up residence here (just learned yesterday that his previous owner went into a nursing facility without giving away her cats...instead she left the door of her house open for them to just leave...and they did...she was a cat horder :(  But Buddy is welcome because he's friendly, doesn't cause problems, and he reminds me of a previous cat that a former neighbor at another location used for target practice with an arrow :(  My poor, poor Garfield!

    I will have to try the citrus oil mixed with dish soap on the ants.  I know that lemons work wonders for getting rid of fleas indoors, and that is so very simple to do.  Just cut up some lemons...rind and all, and place in a nonreactive sauce pot.  Fill with water, allow to simmer until water reduces by 1/2.  Let cool, and pour the water into a spray bottle.  Spray your carpets, furniture, etc. with the mixture for several days and within about 3 days or so there will be no more fleas!!  You can also add it to some baby shampoo and shampoo your cat (or dog) with it :)  I had a kitty who was a rescue who was infested...and thus my house got fleas a couple of years ago.  It took FOREVER it seemed to get rid of all of her fleas...two lemon water/baby shampoo baths done 3 days apart, and combing through her fur with a lice comb (needed a flea comb but couldn't find one in my small town).  Eventually I had a very happy rescued kitty, and a flea free house within a week's time :)

  • Cami J.S.
    Cami J.S. Posts: 4
    edited May 2018
    Oh my gosh, not a good find in the outbuildings at all! Wish you guys had some forethought to ask how they took care of the existing trees. Since you are not continuing with chemicals, the trees will get rest. Drop all the hazardous chemicals, bottles and boxes at a haz mat dropoff in town, usually at landfills or a county extension office of some kind. Make some calls to find out where.  I agree with the above, I have an organic fire ant formula called Ortho Eco Sense fire ant granules and it supposed to kill the whole colony in 24 hrs. You shake it on the hill or wherever you see a huge quantity. It worked, my ant hills are gone. And so far its been 2 yrs and no new any hills. Can't believe your neighbor burnt a igloo cooler!!!! Sheesh, they could have donated or reused it, makes no sense. If it was unusable anymore, it should be recycled.  So sorry to hear that your husband is now disabled. You have alot on your plate now, will be keeping you in my prayers. I have heard really good things about natural methods and an organic, less processed diet helping autistic people. Essential oils, too. Also, high quantities of some vitamins. If there is a way to contact you through this network I can send you some info. I can look into how. Blessings!
  • Alison
    Alison Posts: 179 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    My thoughts are regarding the 'overwhelmed' aspect. At times like that I find the most essential things and do them, while giving yourself the time to sort out some of the other challenges. Which it sounds like you may be doing with the fire ants.

    Have you considered raised beds for vegies so you aren't growing in contaminated soil? You can have your soil tested to see if it is still contaminated as you said the couple were unlikely to have used anything for about a year due to poor health.

    Mulch. Deep mulch will help beneficial fungi and worms to move into your garden.

    Can you ask neighbours...one's that don't burn baby nappies...about safe disposal options? Does your region/ county have a safe disposal option or drop off point?

    'David The Good' [he has a youtube channel and his own webpage] talks about composting, with a book called 'compost everything'. One method is to dig a hole and shallow bury your green waste/ kitchen scraps. Then plant your vegies on top in a short period of time. This would mean fire ants wouldn't be an issue if they had a visit, but wouldn't likely move in permanently as it would rot faster and not provide them a longer term home - particularly if you are watering your plants regularly. Doing the composting in place would mean more time to save for a tumble composter and spreading out the goodness to encourage earth worms in a diverse area as well.
  • karen
    karen Posts: 80 ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Alison: burning baby nappies? what a good idea unless they are made of plastic of course.. around here I have problems with people who burn trash on their properties instead of putting out garbage. We used to do that when i was a kid. doesnt sound that bad but people use more and more convenience foods packaged in styrofoam and plastic, etc. The smell is dreadfull and my understanding is that once the wind picks it up it is dangerously unhealthy.
    David the Good recommends the buried compost so that you dont worry about dairy, fish and meat products attracting rodents. If it isnt a problem as in well secured/covered &/or cats and dogs on your property I wouldnt worry.
    I have a three part composting system. By the time my waste products hit the raised bed I am building, it is already breaking down very nicely. And dont be sqeamish - any paper you use such as paper towels, kleenex, etc (!) plus old clothing/cleaning cloths made from natural fibers.
    1. My system starts in the kitchen with a small tightly covered container. When full it is emptied into a smallish garbage pail - about three to four times larger than the kitchen container with a lid and weight on top. When that is full it is emptied in my compost/garden bed along with any carbon materials i can muster up - I can get rice hulls, peanut shells and wood shavings/sawdust really cheap here - and goes on top.
    2. My beds are long and narrow so i fill one section, approximately 3 ft wide, at a time. When it is time to empty the pail i rake back the mound that i am working on, pour in the contents of the pail, then some new carbon, water it well,then rake back the older material. I keep repeating this until the mound is a bit over the top of the sides of the bed.
    3. The next time I need to empty the pail, i will rake most of that mound into a new section and go back to the original, dumping the pail, covering with carbon, watering and refilling the top with the much older material.

    It is no more work than a regular compost pile which needs turning on a regular basis. Meanwhile you are building a new garden bed, in place, and when really full, you water well and let it settle to within a few inches of the top of the sides of the raised beds. Then start planting.
    I am thinking that with a lid of some kind on the bed you can keep doing this all winter even with a lot of snow cover. I should have a lid on my beds regardless, worth thinking a bout. Rats and racoons, and snakes here, can get into anything. But i am also thinking you may not want to water in each addition during winter ;) I do wish I had freezing temps for this process because by spring I would imagine the winter has done the job for you, But the heat here does a pretty good job. BTW if you dont have enough carbon/brown materials your compost will smell "to high heaven". For me this is still a problem with the two containers but once into the bed the smell goes away.
  • bmaverick
    bmaverick Posts: 175 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2018
    Princessalilcok,  WOW.  Sounds like you have a big mess to clear out and a long road to heal that land.    Do not use the areas where the previous people had gardens or chemically treated the areas for at least a few years.  Also, avoid having anything near the property line with the neighbors and their bury of the trash.  In certain counties, it's illegal to do this sort of thing with plastic waste disposal.   Wonder what they do for used oil and what not???  Hopefully your well water isn't being contaminated by any of this stuff.   Prior to occupancy of the place, was the well water tested?  Did you get a detailed report???