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Fire Ants and Scale

This is a discussion on Fire Ants and Scale within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I moved this past spring, and situated my greenhouse in a pasture next to my ...

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  1. #1
    jensoca's Avatar
    jensoca is offline Member
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    Default Fire Ants and Scale

    I moved this past spring, and situated my greenhouse in a pasture next to my home, since this time I have been battling unrelenting scale all over my Cattleya and Cattleya hybrids with no luck. Now I have FIRE ANTS in every single one of my pots and in a large amount of my mounted plants. They seem to like the tree fern mounts especially, also they have moved into my hanging schomburgkias. I am at a loss of what to do, I have used bait traps (which worked in the past for me) and granules in and around the greenhouse but with no luck. It is so bad that you can't water at all without them coming out of the pots and swarming the tables and plants. I has only been two weeks since I noticed them but they have infested all of my 100 potted plants and 20 of my mounted and hanging baskets, I am fearful of going in the greenhouse now because they are so bad, and I don't want to be bitten. I need a solution, so if anyone has ideas of how to combat this serious infestation (ants and scale) please let me know.

  2. #2
    Chris in Hamilton's Avatar
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    Well, the good news is that the ants will probably eat the scale.

  3. #3
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    Has anyone else had to deal with this problem?

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    gchen is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Jen, you will need different type of baits for different kind of ants. I am no ants expert, but sharing my experience. I have this problem with black ants, more to the nectar loving kind. Got myself some ant granules for this category of ants. The ants will carry these granules back to their nest and basically, in time, the ants will all "check out". Fire ants are probably more to the scavenging type, probably you will need some expert in the store to help you out on what bait to use. If it is heavy infestation, you will need the service of a pest control company. All the best!

  5. #5
    ksriramkumar is online now Senior Member
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    sorry to hear that. making a small pellets made out of cornmeal and boric acid could work in keeping the population under control.

  6. #6
    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    For a fire ant infestation of that magnitude I think professional extermination would be my choice. With luck, the ants have eaten the scale by now.

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    Ants will eat scale? I had no idea, I hope they do. It is this weird scale that has these small white to yellowish flat circles accompanied with small white bar shaped friends, and I have tried everything to get rid of them, cinnamon oil, insecticidal soap, and neem oil. Nothing has worked.

    I purchased a granular based fire ant killer to place around the greenhouse and a powder with diatomaceous earth for the ground, cornmeal and baking soda to put in dishes to place on the benches (I found several posts that claim these things work) and more bait traps that claim they will work on fire ants, although I am skeptical of its claims. Wont professional pesticides be harmful to the plants?

  8. #8
    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    My understanding is that some fire ants will eat other insects. There's always hope.

    I wouldn't expect insecticides in general to be necessarily be harmful to plants. More likely that the carrier material in a spray would be if it got directly on the plants. Anything that works as a bait or for fumigation rather than a spray could be perfectly safe for plants. Any exterminator should know and be able to tell you about any risk to plants from the products they use.

  9. #9
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    78Terp is offline An Avant Gardner
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    I know nothing about this issue, and observing the thread, if the ants are going to rid the plants of scale, I'd wait and ensure the ants do their work before getting them gone. I haven't experienced scale yet, but I hear it is hard to be rid of it.

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    Safari works well for scale, costly though.

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