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Author Topic: Ants nest in citrus plant container  (Read 3783 times)

MarcV

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Ants nest in citrus plant container
« on: July 20, 2015, 12:25:54 PM »
I have a little problem with one of my citrus plants... the container it is growing in appears to be the home for an ants nest. I don't think the ants are a problem for the tree. They do cultivate some aphids when they are "in season" but other than that I think they leave the tree alone. The issue is that I have to take the tree inside during the winter season and I don't want to take the ants nest inside with it.
The ants nest was probably already there during last winter as I occasionally found an ant running around on the floor. I just didn't realize where it came from.
So I want to get rid of the nest. I already replaced the soil as much as possible last spring but that apparently didn't stop them. Last weekend I tried drowning the ants by completely submerging the container in water for an hour or so. They survived! There must have been some air bubbles left behind in the soil so they could keep breathing...
What else could I try? I don't want to poison the soil of the plant...
My next step will be to put an ant trap in the container. I'm just not sure these traps are really effective. If the ants aren't gone by the end of the season I will again try to get rid of them by replacing the soil, and this time also by rinsing the root ball with a water jet. Is the ants do return after that, I won't take the plant inside again. And that would really be a pity as it is one of my nicest growing citruses!
...but I could be wrong...

greenman62

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2015, 04:29:00 PM »
if you use tanglefoot on the trunk
the ants cant farm aphids and should leave ?

boric acid, and Diatomaceous earth
both should work, but you have to keep the plant dry for some time
maybe weeks ?
put the container in a dry area for a week...

MarcV

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2015, 03:26:42 AM »
Hi greenman,
Thanks for replying.

Aphids are currently not the problem.
The ants run around on the tree though. I'm not sure what they are doing up there.
But they also move in and out the container via the drain holes, so they have access to other sources of food.

Can you tell me what the function of diatomaceous earth is and where I might be able to find it?
And how should I apply boric acid? Is it without risk for the tree?
...but I could be wrong...

Mike T

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 03:43:54 AM »
Neonicotenoids insecticide will clean up the ants and their minions but it isn't good for the environment.Green tree ants in my lime tree have built a nest 18 inches across and I am used to their bites as are most people in my part of the world.They are more or less a green form of the Asian red weaver ant.


MarcV

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2015, 03:53:46 AM »
I'm lucky then, the ants that live in the yards here are not agressive at all :). I just don't want to take them inside during the winter. If they're not gone by then the tree will have to stay outside and I'm pretty sure it will not survive...
...but I could be wrong...

Doglips

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2015, 06:59:24 AM »
Diatomaceous earth is a mechanical pesticide.  It kills by physically damaging the bugs.  It is like a million tiny shards of glass.  Its effectiveness is highly debated.  I personally think it is only good for sliders like slugs and snails, and it shreds those quite well.  Walkers it doesn't do much and flyers it does nothing.
Tanglefoot is far more effective on walkers.

MarcV

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 07:16:15 AM »
Hmmm yes that would help keep the ants out of the tree, but it will not destroy the nest that's inside the container...
...but I could be wrong...

Millet

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2015, 08:30:38 AM »
When a citrus grove is flooded, root damage does not start until about the second day of being under water (48 hours).  I frequently water my container trees by submerging the entire container under water over night to give them a good drink. There has never been any sort of problem doing so.  An over night soak should take care of your ant problem. - Millet

MarcV

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2015, 08:33:50 AM »
I could give that a try again then, and maybe let the water flow in slowly via the bottom of the container so the air inside the soil has the time to evacuate...
...but I could be wrong...

Millet

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2015, 11:45:04 AM »
Marc, I would raise the level of the water soak until it was a inch or two above your tree's container. - Millet

Mangorilla the Uslurper

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2015, 06:38:46 AM »
If you were to put the pot in a plastic bag and seal the bag around the trunk so that it is air tight. I wonder if the ant would die from the heat or lack of oxygen. I don't know how lit would affect your tree tho

MarcV

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2015, 12:11:12 PM »
I put an ant trap on top of the soil in the container and also one below the container. After 2 days I haven't seen anymore ants! :)
...but I could be wrong...

Mangorilla the Uslurper

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2015, 12:26:40 PM »
I had fleas in my apartment once and when we sprayed the carpet to get rid of them someone told me to seal all of the kids toys in a garbage bag and that any fleas would die from lack of oxygen. It just now dawned on me that's where I got the idea about the bag. Anyhow, I'm glad your ant traps worked and that you didn't have to spray any poison on your trees

Axier

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 05:08:26 AM »
Marc, what kind of ant trap?
I am also interested, thanks.

Doglips

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 12:04:09 PM »
It depends on what kind of ant you have.  Some like sugar some like protein.  You'd be surprised how long they can go without air, hours and hours.  Probably in part because they trap air bubbles on their body.  Don't tell the wife, but I've thrown bags of fire ant infest soil in a garbage bag and put it in the freezer.  One day was not enough, needed two.

MarcV

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2015, 12:07:12 PM »
It's a good thing we don't have fire ants here!  :D

This is the product I used:
...but I could be wrong...

Mangorilla the Uslurper

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2015, 12:09:36 PM »
They survived a day in the freezer, wow!

Doglips

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2015, 12:38:15 PM »
They survived a day in the freezer, wow!
I wonder if they died from other than freezing, like dehydration or starvation.  Gasoline kills them from dehydration, not poisoning.

Axier

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Re: Ants nest in citrus plant container
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2015, 02:55:21 PM »
Thanks Marc, I know that product.
Probably we have the same strain of ants, so it will works with my ants.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 06:17:47 PM by Axier »

 

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