Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
I moved to the south about a year ago. Originally, I was thrilled about the long growing season and the amount of acreage my family owned. Unfortunately, I later realized that the more acreage they possessed, the more fire ant colonies I had to conquer.
Recently, I made a second attempt to defeat these ants with a commercial fire ant killer, which used spinosad as an active ingredient. Having tried a similar fire ant killer before with no success, I certainly didn't have high hopes for this one. But, raving comments about the product from those at the store drove me to purchase it since I was beyond desperate.
After spreading it, I gave the ants about a week and a half to consume the fire ant killer and serve it to their queens. After that time had passed, I began moving from mound to mound, kicking at the soft mounds of clay to check for ants. It only took me about 5 minutes to assess the outcome - I had finally found success.
All the mounds I had treated were deserted. Even so, I worried that they would return, immune to spinosad, which seemed to be the only effective organic poison the kill fire ants.
After a week went by, the treated nests remained dormant. A few nest popped up, although they were all quite small. This supported my thoughts that had plagued me beforehand. Although these ants could possibly be treated with the commercial fire ant killer that I used to take out the majority off the population, it would eventually become ineffective. Of course, these new mounds could have come from untreated nests, but nevertheless, I continued to worry. What I really needed was something to repel them after the major colonies had been taken out.
I found the solution in the hands of an unlikely product - molasses.
When I first became aware of this solution, I simply couldn't fathom how molasses would help. How could it deter fire ants? Sure, molasses made good cookies, but it evidently contained no poison or anything that would affect them if they were not to vacate the treated location.
This treatment was first discovered when molasses was used on trees and then they observed that the fire ants vacated the area around the tree. After testing this elsewhere, the farmer concluded that molasses was effective to drive away these ants. The reason this works is because fire ants hate sugar. Since molasses has such a high sugar content, it forces them to move from the area, without physically harming them in any way.
When used, molasses is normally mixed with water and then sprayed where fire ants are wanted to be repelled. Though many people are formulating other solutions by mixing orange oil and compost tea in as well. Nearly everyone has found that either of these solutions works to repel these pesky critters.
I have tried everything from boiling water to vinegar. Finally, I have found that the combination of molasses and spinosad does the trick. Although I would have to continue watching for returning colonies, I was no longer overloaded with these pesky creatures. After a year of searching, I have finally learned how to finish off fire ants.