Ants in the yard!

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by pilotcoplawnboy, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. pilotcoplawnboy

    pilotcoplawnboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Does anyone know of a good solution to get rid of ants in the yard? I just built a new home and there are ants all over the place. Driveway,patio and front and back yards. I took out a few ant hills when I first moved in. Is there something I can put in my speader to put on the yard? Thanks!
  2. Lawn Sharks

    Lawn Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    At my house I use the following. (Can't say it is an organic solution but it works)

    2 teaspoons of boric acid

    1/4 cup of hot water

    one cup of corn syrup (light or dark)

    put it all in a jar and shake it up to mix

    place small amounts in jar lids in areas that you see ants, preferably out of the rain

    depending on the current state of the nest ants will seek out sugar based or protein based foods, if you see the traffic to the sugar mix above try peanut butter and boric acid
  3. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,389

  4. Catmann

    Catmann LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    All you need to do is sprinkle some boric acid around the mounds and anywhere you see ant traffic - they will get into it and die. However, if you have pets, be judicious as boric acid can be toxic if enough is ingested. Obviously it takes a lot less for ants than pets or humans.

    Talstar would probably work too.

    An organic solution would be to apply crabshell. This material is very high in chitin and induces high levels of chitinase, which basically are organisims that break down chitin. Most soft bodied insects have chitin-based exoskeletons and this stuff really deters them.

    It has been successfully used for fire-ants in Florida. Ants have sensory capacity for the chitinase and will avoid it - literally walking around the material if you apply it in their path (once the material starts to break down - maybe not the second you apply it). If you treat the whole yard you get some NPK and strong ant protection. Worth a try unless you have a lot of property becasue the stuff is not really cheap, about $25.00 per 50-lb bag and is used at 10 lbs per 1000 in the lawn and about 3 lbs per 100 (yes 100) around the perimeter of the home or in gardens.
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Boric Acid is a pesticide and the active ingredient of many Pesticide products. BTW There is no antidote for Boric Acid and dusting with it has been advised against strongly. How can you claim to be chemical free.


    Controlling Ants with out insecticides is like doing Cuban 8's while doing a search. You need to add some carb heat and use the flaps to get down on it. Do a search here on LS under Fire Ants and look for my screen name. No I am too lazy to look it up for you. Yes Talstar is an excellent general insecticide.

    Ps. MOS 061, FAC
  6. Lawn Sharks

    Lawn Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Boric Acid is used as a food preservative. The antiseptic activity of boric acid is also used in commercial "artificial tears" and eyewash products and as a yeast infection treatment for women. It is a chemical like any other but I never use it on an organic client's lawn. Read some of my other posts I actually recommend that some people use Weed B Gone (gasp!). I am not holier than thou, just give people what they want in a responsible and businesslike fashion. This is not a crusade it is a business.
  7. Lawn Sharks

    Lawn Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Oops. forgot to mention that you missed the "at my house" part of my original post. Please reread so as to minimize confusion in the future.
  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Then why don't you just breath a bunch of boric acid dust and watch you lungs fill up. Yes a small amount the body can get rid of. Eye and female products are contact not systemic.
  9. Lawn Sharks

    Lawn Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Perhaps I should do the same with asprin or table salt. Borates, including boric acid, have been used since the days of the ancient Greeks for cleaning, preserving food and other everyday activities.

    Today, boric acid is found in more every day uses and products than ever before. Among them are eye wash solutions, flame retardants, insecticides, glass products and fertilizers. And yet with all these uses over all these years, the question, "Is boric acid toxic?" seems to be raised with regularity every year.

    Asking "How toxic is boric acid?" is sort of like asking "How hot is hot?" The answer clearly needs to be qualified...and, yes, scientists have figured out a means to compare one chemical to the next. In fact, on this scale, scientists and/or regulators can compare most anything that can be swallowed, inhaled or put in one's eyes.

    The scale I am referring to gives a figure known as the LD50 rating - a dose that would cause the deaths of 50 percent of a specific animal population. One method used to determine the LD50 rating for most substances is via laboratory-controlled oral doses to rats. The following table lists the LD50 (oral-rat) for several common substances as published by the Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances.

    (milligrams of dose
    /kg of body weight)
    Aspirin 1,000
    Boric Acid 2,660
    Table Salt 3,000
    Boron #10 3,500
    Baking Soda 4,200
    Grain Alcohol 14,000

    Based on this data, boric acid and Boron No. 10 are not significantly different in toxicity than common table salt. In addition, both boric acid and Boron No. 10 are less toxic than aspirin. The greater the LD50 rating the safer the substance is. When compared to these common household items, boric acid and Boron No. 10 are not particularly dangerous, and, if used properly, will not cause poisoning. It is important to remember that there have been no known deaths resulting from the use of boric acid in their use as an insecticide.

    So are borates toxic? Certainly, and so is virtually every and anything else you come in contact with. It is simply a matter of quantity. If you believe aspirin or table salt is dangerous, poisonous or in some other way life threatening, then you probably should not use borates. If, on the other hand, you can rationally look at the comparative data, you will probably come to the conclusion that boric acid and Boron No. 10 are among the safest of choices for ant control in the home or garden.
  10. Lawn Sharks

    Lawn Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    And by the way do you know the LD50 rating of Telstar? I don't but would be willing to bet it is lower than boric acid.

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