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The Ants Are Marching . . .

This is a discussion on The Ants Are Marching . . . within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I carried my three new vandas to the sink today to give them their daily ...

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  1. #1
    sadie's Avatar
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    Default The Ants Are Marching . . .

    I carried my three new vandas to the sink today to give them their daily spray down and noticed a bunch of ants on the honeydew of one of the spikes. As soon as the water hit the pot, ants by the hundreds came crawling out! Aaaah!

    Because I haven't yet moved into the greenhouse, and in an attempt to keep a little more humidity for them in the house, they are currently potted with the plastic hanging baskets inside of larger pots with some coconut husk.

    In the pot with the honeydewed spike there were literally hundreds of ants. I submerged that pot completely and let it sit for a bit and drowned literally hundreds of ants, but of course the smart ones just climbed up the plant. Over the weekend, I had noticed that ants seemed to be coming in the back door (the orchid shelves are right next to it), but I didn't think to look. I also must admit that over the weekend I cheated and sprayed down the vandas without taking them off their humidity trays -- but still the ants set up a serious home in less than 3 days!

    HOW DO I KILL THE REMAINING ANTS? I am hesitant to use serious pesticides because the plants (and my toddler) are in the house. WHAT SHOULD I DO? ONCE THEY ARE DEAD, HOW DO I KEEP THEIR FRIENDS FROM COMING BACK?
    Last edited by sadie; September 10th, 2007 at 06:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
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    Maybe your OH could take them outside and spray them down with a pesticide and after they are ant free, wash them down again with water and return them to their normal home?

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    I have kind of already done what you suggested Bruce. After I had submerged the pot and drowned all the ants I could, I took them outside, sprayed them with a pyrethrin based insecticide and let it sit for a little bit. Unfortunately, most of the ants had gathered in the leaf axils, so I really had to spray pretty heavily and let it run in there. Then I used a spray bottle of water to rinse off the dead ants and the pesticide and brought them in the house to drip dry. Hopefully by hanging them upside down, I'll keep water or pesticide from standing in the axils.

    Any thoughts -- I just don't want to get rot or something from having to soak them down so much, particularly the leaf axils.
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    They will be fine. Make sure they get air movement and have no worries.

    Cheers,
    BD

  5. #5
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    I had the same problem in a vanda basket even after watering heavy there were dry pockets with 100s of them under pieces of large bark , I put the whole thing in a barrel of water with soap in it . Have a running fight with them this year . In the greenhouse i use Revenge . Gin

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    You might want to try Neem oil. It's safe for people and pets. But bugs don't care much for it. Just don't let a sprayed plant sit in direct sunlight.

    I cooked some Catts this summer by doing that. The oil sheen on the leaves acts like a magnifying glass. One of my big Catts lost about 10 leaves from severe burn. And it was all in one afternoon.

    McJulie

  7. #7
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    Default

    I think the ants are supposed to protect the plant.

    Also, if you want to keep them out Boric Acid is the safest to use around the perimeter of the area (not on the plant). It comes as a roach control product and is less toxic to us than asprin.

  8. #8
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    Thanks all -- I was so grossed out by the colony of ants that had set up home that I panicked! Although there were some serious ant casualties, I think everything is back to normal. I'll check the plant again tomorrow to see if I missed any little buggers. I also checked all his neighbors and for whatever reason, most didn't have any problems. I guess it was the honeydew on the spike that attracted them.

  9. #9
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    Honey dew is a special treat for ants.... I'm glad I grow indoors!

  10. #10
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    Default ants

    When I brought one of my Catts inside, there were ants on the counter.. yuk, but... do the ants actually do any harm to the plant??

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