General Question

Carly's avatar

How do I get rid of an ant colony inside my compost pile?

Asked by Carly (4555points) March 28th, 2011
8 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

I just started mixing my compost pile after about 4 months of being away and out-of-state. I realized that there’s a huge ant colony living there. Is that bad for my compost pile? Will they eventually go away if I keep mixing it frequently?

What do you think I should do?

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Answers

WasCy's avatar

I’d leave it alone, unless it’s near the house, in which case I’d move the whole thing farther away. All you really want is “compost broken down”, and ants will do a fine (partial) job of that.

YoBob's avatar

You might consider something like Amdro. Keep in mind that these sort of controls are not a “poison”, but rather birth control for ant queens, so they should not pollute your compost pile.

RAMesesII's avatar

I agree with @WasCy about how if you want it simply broken down, then you may not need to worry, but it depends on the type of ant.

Assuming you do need to eliminate them though, I’m not 100% on this, but I believe that vinegar, lemon/lime juice, or another natural but somewhat caustic acid should at least deter them from your pile…
I don’t know exactly though, and as I stated before, alot is dependent on the ant species (assuming you don’t want to use a pesticide).

The radio show ‘You Bet Your Garden” on NPR talks about compost a good deal, so it may be worthwhile to check our their website for info as well.
Good Luck!!

blueiiznh's avatar

The ants have to live somewhere.
If the pile is away from the house then the airation they provide is all part of the process.
I would however be very careful of where you may use that compost.
If you are going to try to exterminate them and use chemicals, be mindful of where the runoff of those chemicals go especially if you are near wetland.

RocketGuy's avatar

My boss had a Borg-like ant infestation in his house. He tried traps, poisons, fumigation – Nothing worked! When he set up a compost pile (just for his gardening needs), the ants stopped coming into his house. => leave the ants alone, and they will leave you alone. They have a Las Vegas-style buffet, why would they go anywhere else?

kitkat25's avatar

Unless they are also coming in the house I wouldn’t worry about it. The ants will help in the process of the compost breaking down. But if you want to get rid of them put out a couple of Grant’s Ant Stakes. Those work great at getting rid of ants. The ants take the bait back to the colony and it gets rid of the ant problem quickly.

mrlaconic's avatar

Put cucumber skins in your compost as ant’s don’t like them

MooCows's avatar

Sell the ants to the guys that make “ant farms”!

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