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fire ants, long term help

updated tue 12 nov 02


k.m.whipple@ATT.NET on mon 11 nov 02

Phil, Merry, et al, i too know the taste of formic acid, and i know it does
not reflect well on me (as a life long vegetarian), but i HATE fire ants. The
best thing i know about them, is that University of Florida research showed
that crops of sweet potatoes produced bigger and more shapely taters where
fire ants were in residence. Other than that, it's bad, all bad. They are
especially famous for devouring newly hatched chicks, or the softer parts of
newborn deer (such as eyes, ears, nose and mouth). I rationalize that it's
alright to hate and seek to kill them because they are an invasive species,
but the truth is i just hate them.
In most circumstances, in my garden for example, i will force the mound to
move by leaving a hose running into it for hours, if need be. A fire ant mound
can be so extensive, you can leave a hose running into it for 1/2 hour or more
before any water reaches the surface! I realize this is not a good solution
for your firewood, and in general i second Phil and others who say that if you
are careful you can probably move your wood away from the ants. I wouldn't try
this if i were allergic to bee stings.
The only really good long term solution i've found is that fire ants don't
like shade. My present house is under a nice thick tree canopy, and i can
fearlessly walk around or even sit in my yard without fear of being bitten.
My compost piles that get 5 or more hours of sun are owned by fire ants, while
the ones nearer the house, under the trees, are mine all mine.
Perhaps if you could build a nice wide shelter to keep your wood under, it
would prevent the ants from returning.

Good luck,
Brooker, FL