Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

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MikeDom
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Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by MikeDom » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:58 am

I have a large Pachypodium planted in pumice/coir in which ants appear to have set up a nest There are no sap feeding insects on the plant itself so I think it was targeted because the substrate tends to be on the dry side. As this is a show plant, taking it to a show isn't an option until the ants can be eradicated.

I don't want to remove it from it's pot and would prefer to soak the pot to the rim (with a cover round the pumice to stop it floating away) for a short period of time. Research shows that insecticidal soap can be used but doesn't mention a brand, has anyone used this method? Also, that Permethrin works by killing just about any insect, but is an expensive option and not very environmentally friendly.

Can anyone offer a tried and tested solution please? I'm after a quick solution rather than using baits and other powders that are transported to the nest.
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el48tel
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by el48tel » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:16 pm

Elsewhere suggested, and used by my Pest Control consultant (daughter who does this for a living), you could try Diatomaceous Earth
Attempting to grow Echinopsis, Lithops, Aeoniums, Gymnocalycium, Rebutia, Sulcorebutia and Aylostera.
Just discovered Echinocereus.
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Tony R
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by Tony R » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:23 pm

Permethrin is 'best' - not expensive is Wilko Ant and Insect Killer Powder 450g £1.75, contains 0.5%w/w permethrin. A few puffs top and bottom of the pot will do the trick.

Personally, I use it mainly for dealing with unwanted wasps rather than ants which mostly grow wings and fly away.
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by Apicra » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:06 am

Well, ants are very welcome in my greenhouse (although perhaps not a nest). I was pleased this week when black ants discovered my Adromischus collection and cleaned up all the nectar oozing from the flowers within a couple of days. Since they enter in one corner of the greenhouse and have to climb up a meter high (via staging and a strategically placed wooden cane), it is not an easy route. They are now busily patrolling regularly all over the plants following their scent trails, mopping up the nectar as it is produced (but they do not pollinate the Adromischus flowers). However, they are small enough to get inside a few Tylecodon flowers to rob all the nectar.

This year for the first time, they have also discovered how to climb up onto the cactus staging and have cleaned up nectar from the few Ferocacti, etc.

So I don't understand why you want to eradicate them with some chemical! I would have thought plunging your Pachypodium pot into water outside the greenhouse would force them to de-camp and go elsewhere (as with leaf-cutter bees). In this weather, you could leave the pot somewhere where the sun will shine directly onto the pot to dry it out quickly, but shading the plant foliage of course.

Best wishes,
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by el48tel » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:28 pm

Update
Since my earlier post, my daughter has tried diatomaceous earth around some mealy bug infested plants ... they definitely don't like it and die!
Attempting to grow Echinopsis, Lithops, Aeoniums, Gymnocalycium, Rebutia, Sulcorebutia and Aylostera.
Just discovered Echinocereus.
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by MikeDom » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:40 pm

el48tel wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:28 pm
Update
Since my earlier post, my daughter has tried diatomaceous earth around some mealy bug infested plants ... they definitely don't like it and die!
Thank you, yes, one for the future as the current problem is solved. Permethrin has come to the rescue in this case.
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by el48tel » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:30 pm

And one more tip ....
Some plastic tub ant traps can contain a higher level of permethrin than the puffer bottle ... worth checking ... and breaking up the traps for the powder.
Attempting to grow Echinopsis, Lithops, Aeoniums, Gymnocalycium, Rebutia, Sulcorebutia and Aylostera.
Just discovered Echinocereus.
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by Chris L » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:28 am

el48tel wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:28 pm
Update
Since my earlier post, my daughter has tried diatomaceous earth around some mealy bug infested plants ... they definitely don't like it and die!
Is that just scattered around the neck of the plant?
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by Kees » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:53 am

Chris L wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:28 am
el48tel wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:28 pm
Update
Since my earlier post, my daughter has tried diatomaceous earth around some mealy bug infested plants ... they definitely don't like it and die!
Is that just scattered around the neck of the plant?
Anywhere you see them walk.
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el48tel
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Re: Removing ants from plant pots by soaking

Post by el48tel » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:42 am

Chris L wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:28 am
el48tel wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:28 pm
Update
Since my earlier post, my daughter has tried diatomaceous earth around some mealy bug infested plants ... they definitely don't like it and die!
Is that just scattered around the neck of the plant?
Hopefully we'll both be at next week's Manchester meeting - I'll get her to fill you in with the details - basically it's silicate based; you dust it around the plant or on the affected area; you can use a puffer spray but that's not advisable without a face mask; you can use a DRY paint brush. Just found a couple of my plants with some "fluff" this morning and she's bringing me some across later.
Attempting to grow Echinopsis, Lithops, Aeoniums, Gymnocalycium, Rebutia, Sulcorebutia and Aylostera.
Just discovered Echinocereus.
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