Organic Gardening: Are ants a problem? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I noticed today that my compost pile is saturated with ants.

Is that a problem?

I don't know what benefit to a garden ants might bring. Wouldn't they eat the vegetables?

On the other hand, to kill the ants would require chemicals, and therefore terminate the organic aspect of the situation.

Should I disregard the ants, or scrap the compost?

-- GA Russell (, May 11, 1999


DE from any nursy will work the legs off those little critters

-- Ark an Saw (, May 11, 1999.

G.A. ... If you have leaf/vine sucking aphids, some ants herd AND milk these little fellows for their sweet drops of sap, there by increasing the amount of fluid loss. The tiny , all red ants, will not. Most drag off weak/living bugs to the nest; generally the large winged type . Red and black ants will bite anyone the comes near their mound type nest and, is stupid enough to disturb them and stays around to see what happens. They always seem to crawl waaay up your pant legs , before starting their attack. Many a time I went looking for the foul tipped ball in the lot where we played, forgetting the nests were behind the batter , only to have to drop my pants to get the last two or three , who bite till they are killed . Eagle

-- Hal Walker (, May 11, 1999.

If you have ants living in your compost pile it's not getting hot enough to do what it's supposed to do, decompose. It should get hot enough to kill weed seeds. When it starts to heat up they will leave.

mb in NC

-- mb (, May 11, 1999.

Um ants - yum. High in protein. Roast em and grind em into flour. You think I'm kidding?

-- R (, May 11, 1999.

Formic Acid! Trivia question I forgot the answer to- was it a Bradbury Sci-fi story about the boy who ate ants (Not aunts-that's King) & lived in the carnival/side show????

-- chuck, the Night Driver's wife (, May 11, 1999.

That compost pile is either too dry, or needs turning to allow oxygen to reach the aerobic critters, molds, etc. that should be doing the job, or both. Unless the pile is well started (heated up to over 100o F., any kitchen garbage in it will attract scavengers, ranging from ants to raccoons. A properly made compost pile will reach 180o F. Fresh or rotted cow manure makes a good inoculant.

MAKING COMPOST - The Art of Backyard Composting is a useful guide.

-- Tom Carey (, May 11, 1999.

Thanks for your suggestions!

I'll get started right away on the idea of doing the compost pile right before I decide to do anything about the ants.

By the way, I haven't heard any radio commercials this year about Ortho fire ant killer - the ones where the announcer promises a "see you in hell-dead" future for the ants. I always enjoyed hearing them last year and the year before.

-- GA Russell (, May 12, 1999.

The topic is compost, but the subtopic is ants. So....

If the ants are still hanging around, you might be able to avoid using bunch of chemicals (which might not be available in the future). This site I just found, has tips for non-toxic pest control -- started a new thread. Hope it's useful. Do I ever!! The ants are here again, right on schedule.

-- Debbie (, May 13, 1999.

Link for non-toxic pest control--

-- Tom Carey (, May 13, 1999.

Heard my first Ortho fire ant killer radio ad of the year today! Life is good.

-- GA Russell (, May 13, 1999.

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