Just when I thought I’d seen everything (relating to vermicomposting), our good friend Larry “The Garbage Guru” Duke had to go and surprise me!
In this video Larry demonstrates his blow torch method for killing off lots of fire ants in his bed. Let me say right off the bat that this is definitely one of those “don’t try this at home” sorts of approaches – at least NOT indoors (as Larry points out in the video)! To be totally honest, for me this would be a “don’t try this at all” approach – HaHa – being the critter advocate that I am. But as I told Larry, I’ve never had to deal with fire ants in my worm bins (we don’t have them up here – yet). I DO have a childhood memory of their nasty bite though! We were down in Florida for a vacation and I literally ended up with some “ants in my pants” – not a pleasant experience at all! Even some of the ants up here have a pretty annoying bite – so I can only imagine what it would be like to constantly be bitten by fire ants while working with your worm bed!
While I won’t likely be torching my own worm beds any time soon, I am really glad that Larry brought this topic up! Ants can definitely be one of those frustrating worm bin/bed “pests”. I myself do not yet know of a “perfect” method for ant control (and generally just let them be), but here are a few suggestions you may want to test out for yourself:
1) Assuming the ants don’t actually set up a nest in your bed, you may want to see if you can find ant nests on your property, so you can get ’em where they live instead. I’ve read that pouring a pot of boiling water onto an ant hill can be effective.
2) Boric acid is supposed to be quite effective as well, and a mix of borax and honey will certainly be a lot more eco-friendly than some of the other pesticides/traps you can buy. I have never tried it myself though, so I can’t say for sure how well it works.
3) Cinnamon is supposed to be an effective ant repellent, as are various types of mint, although I haven’t had much luck when I’ve tried catmint.
4) Diatomaceous earth is another possibility. I wouldn’t put it in the actual worm bin (not 100% sure how it might affect the worms, not to mention lots of other critters), but if you happen to be using a bin that sits up on legs, adding a little field of it around each leg should ensure that the ants are required to walk across it in order to reach the bin.
5) If your bin is small enough, putting it in a mote of water (maybe with a few drops of dish detergent to reduce surface tension) may discourage the ants from attempting to reach it.
If anyone happens to have their own tips and tricks for getting rid of ants (especially in worm bins/beds) please share your thoughts! This is definitely one of those topics that comes up a lot in reader emails so I know there are a lot of people wondering about this.
Thanks again to Larry for providing us with a different perspective on things, and for just…well…being Larry!
We lova ya, buddy! Don’t ever change!