Revenge of The Thrifty Mama

Those words seem kind of ironic, don’t they?  I consider myself a child of The Most High.  I am a very loving person, and care for others deeply.  But when a predator comes against my garden and doesn’t want to leave, it’s WAR!  Those ants just did not want to leave my garden!  I tried the grits, I tried the garlic, I tried the cayenne pepper, I tried the vinegar poured down into their home and nothing seemed to work.  These things have moved/destroyed ant colonies for me in the past, but not this time.  They did not want to budge.

So here is the disaster that I blame completely on the ants!


I present to you the place where my watermelon and cantaloupe plants once stood. The cantaloupe were almost completely shriveled, so there was no saving them.  I transferred about five of my watermelon plants to a pot, but I don’t know that they will survive.  It was very hard getting them out with ants swarming everywhere.  So after I moved them, I took out my shovel and dug that ant colony out of there (as best I could). And can you believe I was only bit once?

Hopefully they will now reside away from my garden,  where I can do my best to get rid of them without hurting my garden. In my garden area that I dug, I sprayed with Melaleuca Tough & Tender (I can here the grunts now – sorry I was out of vinegar), and then I sprinkled salt around the edge closest to my other plants in hopes that the ants that are left will go the other way.  I don’t even know if this is going to work, but I wasn’t really able to get much information on what to do other than put chemicals in my garden.  And that is something I just could not do!  The Tough & Tender was bad enough.

So that is my revenge.  All invaders prepare for battle!

  1. Are you opposed to putting chemicals in the garden because it is not “natural” per se, or are you concerned about the effects it might have on he food, etc.? Just curious of your reasoning.

    Personally, I would have sprayed those suckers with a chemical of some sort from day one (I can hear everyone gasping now, lol!), as it unfortunately seems to be the only way to kill some of the bugs that eat gardens or crops in this rural part of the country.

    My dad is a farmer, and sadly, there are no “natural” remedies that will kill the “bugs” that eat the grains he grows.

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  2. Not sure how it would affect a garden, but boric acid gets rid of them effectively.

  3. Yes, I am completely against putting chemicals because I want all organic produce.

    My father recommended boric acid to me, and I have used it for ants in the past because it is fairly non-toxic to have in the home. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

  4. So sorry to hear/see what happened with your garden! We were having something start to eat at our tomatoes and I put the newspaper and grass clippings down and it really stopped them. It even got rid of the little black ants that were starting to come in. I hope the watermelons your transplanted make it!

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  5. I wish I would have read about your ant dilemma sooner.
    Here’s the simplest way I’ve found to “dispatch” most insect.

    FYI: I’ve used this biodegradable solution for years. It won’t harm you, your plants, or animals., and is 100% effective.

    1. Take a empty and washed 1Gal plastic milk jug.

    2. Add 1Tbsp Dawn liquid dish soap and 2cups cool water.

    3. Apply the jug cap and shake.

    4. Now shake some more! At least half of the water and soap should be suspended as bubbles.

    5. Apply the BUBBLES a.k.a.,(Foam of Death) to your insect of choice by lightly squeezing the jug.

    6. When your running low on bubbles, simply re-cap and re-shake the jug. The remaining liquid will make more bubbles.


    The BUBBLES not the soap and water is what “dispatches” the insects.

    Quick science lesson, This method works by suffocating the insects. All insects breath through openings in their exoskeleton called spiracles. These openings lead the oxygen through a complex system of tubes which are called trachea. The trachea run through the whole insects body. This solution clogs their spiracles.

    To tell if you’ve applied the solution correctly. Watch the insect you’ve applied it to, usually it will start to raise its abdomen (tail) up and down in an attempt to breath.

    For ants I like to pour a 2″ moat around the target colony.
    This contains them; then coax as many to the surface as possible i.e.,(stomp on the mound).
    Now fill in the area inside the moat with the bubbles.
    After about two minutes of carnage; I mix up another batch of solution. This time I use 1Tbsp of Dawn to 4cups of water.
    This lower viscosity solution will penetrate further into the mound, and finish off what the first solution missed.

    Also, don’t put salt in your garden, and use vinegar and boric acid sparingly as both can raise the pH of your soil and affect plant growth.

    How salt damages plants
    Salt, which is made up of sodium and chloride, becomes toxic to plants when it dissolves in water and the sodium and chloride ions separate. The sodium ions take the place of the much-needed phosphorus and potassium in the soil, making these two nutrients unavailable to the plant. Chloride ions are absorbed by the roots and transported to the leaves, where they accumulate and interfere with photosynthesis or chlorophyll production.


    P.S., If you decide to try this on the ants you removed from your garden; I’d like to hear about your results.

  6. Your ant dilema reminded me of something my boys did when they were young. We had ants in the backyard so they took the hose, turned it on and blasted the anthill with water – not satisfied with the results, they put the hose into the anthill and started pushing it down to get to the bottom of the hill – well almost 50 ft later they realized they couldn’t get the hose out of the hole and it was pulling on the water spiket – so they had to tell their dad what they did, and he had to cut the hose off by the spiket so it wouldn’t pull that out of the ground. The hose is still buried deep within the anthill and it didn’t kill the ants. Hope this makes you laugh :)

  7. Haven’t tried this ,but for a natural solution I was told by my local nursery to use cornmeal!!! The ants eat it and cant digest it and die. HTH

  8. Here’s an organic idea. Try sprinkling cornmeal over the ants. They take it back to their home to eat and they can’t digest it. It kills them within a few days. Just a suggestion. :)

  9. I second David’s solution of using Dawn dish detergeant. I admit I have a lazier approach to it though. First I use the regular Dawn and not the ultra, which does not seem to work as well for me. I fill a gallon jug almost of the top and squeeze about four good squirts of Dawn in it. I swirl it around until it is evenly blue and pour it on the ant beds. Then I walk away. By the next day I see a mound of dead ants. The ants do not move to another location. They just all die. If I am feeling really lazy, I just squeeze some Dawn on the ant bed and spray it with water.

    Dawn works better than anything even those “amazing” ant poisons. It is also a fairly cheap solution to an annoying problem. Give it a try!

    Dawn’s last blog post..A June Challenge

  10. sorry to hear about your garden. next time pour boiling water into the home of the ants… kills them all!! Problem solved!

  11. Sorry to hear about your ants! There are several great solutions that have worked for us in the past for a varity of ants. Several of them have been commented about above. I’d also like to second the no use of salt in your garden. It really is bad for your garden, grass, plants, etc. It is one of the big reasons why the chemical based fertilizers do so much damage to lawns and then leach out into our water.

  12. Oh, that is just WRONG!! I came over to comment with the exact same suggestion David made (regarding Dawn liquid detergent). it has been my only resource that REALLY hass worked for me in the past! Good Luck!!

    Diann (a fellow gardener and a sympathizer…LOL)

    Diann @ The Thrifty Groove’s last blog post..A new coupon site

  13. google the bugman – he writes about getting rid of bugs – has a column in the San Fran. Chronicle. He is always against pesticides and I think he has great advice.

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