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boric acid

I know boric acid will kill ants. I ahve an area where I want to put a perennal flower bed, but is seething with ants. Can I treat the area with boric acid and it still be safe to plant there?

PS I know that ants are supposedly good creatures, and don't try to get rid of them . . . I ahve heard it all before. But I get tired of being covered in ants whenever I work in the garden. Plus, they don't stay outside, either!
 
april
Boric acid is usually a natural pest killer for ants and roachs and other insect pests indoors. For outdoor control, most organic sources recommend citrus oil, neem oil, cedar oil, garlic oil, and even canola oil based pesticides.

There is even a good fire ant pesticidal recipe made of strong, undiluted, citrus oil, a little dry or liquid molasses, and compost tea. The molasses helps breed beneficial soil microbes to repel the ants, while the citrus oil kills them by destroying their exoskeleton .

Happy Gardening!
 
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Boron is an essential plant micro nutrient but in quantities just above what is needed by plants to grow it is toxic to plants, so spreading a source of Boron, Boric Acid, in quantities large enough to kill off beneficial insects could easily be enough to overdose plants and kill them too. Ants do not belong in your house and controlling them in that environment is essential since some ants can be destructive, but you need to determine why the ants are in the house and eliminate that reason so the ants leave. Ants do belong outside since they are part of Ma Natures recycling machine, although Fire Ants do not have a place (an imported species) in this part of the world. Ants nest where soil is dry, so changing the soil condition will cause them to move.
 

The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.

West central Michigan along the lakeshore.

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Might not be a bad idea to see if there are several ant hills in that area, that might be why you have some many. Got a be a reason for them to be there. I think you could probably use boric acid in and around the hills to see if you can convince them to move. Just don't get heavy handed with it. Small amount should solve your ant problem and the addition of soil amendments to that area before you plant should disperse any boric acid over a much wider area, and not hurt your plants.
 
doccat5 zone 7b(well sorta) :) I'd rather be gardening!
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Diatomateous earth is a non-toxic natural product you can spread where ants walk. It is fine and clogs their airways as they walk in the stuff. It must stay dry to be effective, and it is not toxic to plants. You don't want to breath the stuff yourself, the fine particles should not be inhaled.

I usually have success with liquid baits that contain boric acid. You can buy premade bait, a sugar water with boric acid added (look where they sell ant baits), or make your own using powdered boric acid, and sugar water.
 
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Years ago I poured a thin line of boric acid around close to house's foundation and that kept ants out all season. There's a simple way of mixing boric acid with fat of any kind, rolling into small balls and placing in strategic places, thus preventing spread of boric acid to plants. The idea is that the worker ant would take the tiny balls to queen and do her in. Can't remember the inert fatty substance, but perhaps lard would work. Can't remember, sorry. Good luck.
 
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Thanks, everyone.
 
april
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