Fire ants in plant container

Coolbreeze89

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I have a blackberry “bush” that I bought this spring as a twig. It has grown but just not thrived... and I just figured out the fire ant infestation is probably why! I had no idea the ants would eat the leaves. Argh! I’ve tried DE, but of course every time I water it messes that up. I’ve tried to keep the soil really wet as I’ve read they hate that, but it hasn’t helped. Has anyone used orange oil? The mix I read online was 2oz in a gallon of water plus dish soap. I’ve also read orange oil can kill plants, though, so is this safe in a container plant? The container is about 18” across and maybe 16” deep.

I’d rather not use chemicals like Amdro if I can avoid it, since I eventually plan to eat the fruit, but that’s my next step if the orange oil isn’t an option or doesn’t work.
Thanks!
 

flowerbug

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I have a blackberry “bush” that I bought this spring as a twig. It has grown but just not thrived... and I just figured out the fire ant infestation is probably why! I had no idea the ants would eat the leaves. Argh! I’ve tried DE, but of course every time I water it messes that up. I’ve tried to keep the soil really wet as I’ve read they hate that, but it hasn’t helped. Has anyone used orange oil? The mix I read online was 2oz in a gallon of water plus dish soap. I’ve also read orange oil can kill plants, though, so is this safe in a container plant? The container is about 18” across and maybe 16” deep.

I’d rather not use chemicals like Amdro if I can avoid it, since I eventually plan to eat the fruit, but that’s my next step if the orange oil isn’t an option or doesn’t work.
Thanks!
get a big bucket/tub, fill it full of water and dunk the container in there until they're drowned. i don't know how long it might take, but it may be a while.

the other approach would be to repot it, removing the ants/existing potting soil.
 

Ridgerunner

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We have a huge fire ant problem down here. When Hurricane Katrina put huge areas underwater for weeks some people hoped that would drown out fire ants. Nope. The ants gathered in huge balls and floated to a safe place to reinfest. If we get wet for a few days new fire ant mounds pop up all over the place. Water is not going to drown them unfortunately. It might get them mad.

@Coolbreeze89 I don't have any good solutions for you that I've tried. I use a pesticide but you are worried about that blackberry bush. I've read go things about orange oil but haven't tried it. What do you have to lose?
 

Coolbreeze89

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We have a huge fire ant problem down here. When Hurricane Katrina put huge areas underwater for weeks some people hoped that would drown out fire ants. Nope. The ants gathered in huge balls and floated to a safe place to reinfest. If we get wet for a few days new fire ant mounds pop up all over the place. Water is not going to drown them unfortunately. It might get them mad.

@Coolbreeze89 I don't have any good solutions for you that I've tried. I use a pesticide but you are worried about that blackberry bush. I've read go things about orange oil but haven't tried it. What do you have to lose?
I thoroughly watered yesterday, and doused the whole pot with DE again this morning. I put ant bait on the ground outside the pot (I found a trail they’re using!). If this doesn’t do it, I’ll try the orange oil. Like you said: worst case is I kill the plant and I’ll try again next year!
 
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