Leafcutter Ants and Chicks

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by KnobbyOaks, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. KnobbyOaks

    KnobbyOaks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2012
    Central Texas
    I am posting this in a new thread and in a new forum so maybe someone will have information that can help me: (I'm classifying these ants as a pest!)


    While most everyone has posted about fire ants (and having just moved from Houston I've dealt with fire ants for 30 years), I have a different ant that causes different problems: LEAFCUTTER ANTS. Just built a new house and I've been doing battle with them for a year. I'm sure they sting but I've never been stung by them unlike the fire ants who attack and hurt. Ouch, ouch and more ouch.

    Normally leafcutters saw up pieces of green leaves to their liking and haul them down into their monstrous caverns where they grow mushrooms to feed to their babies and themselves so baits will not work on them since they don't eat the foraged material. They are reddish-brown, large and about half the size of a large red ant and twice the size of a fire ant. Until now, I wouldn't have thought they ate anything but green leaves since they've never gotten into any food around the house.

    So, now this morning I wake up to the attack of the leafcutters on my chicks feed, hauling for the hundreds of feet until they reach the mouth of their multitudinous entrances to their tunnels. At the rate they are working, the chick's feed will be gone today even if the chicks ate nothing else. So I proceeded to move the feed to a hanging feeder which I was prepared to do anyway when the chicks got a little bigger.

    So here's the questions:

    1. What can I use in the coop, which is on the ground with DE and pine shavings, to keep them away. I have liquid sevin and intend to spray their trails and all around the coop. Can I spray in the coop, knowing that some of it will get on the chicks, contaminate the food under the shavings that the chicks will eat?

    2. Why don't chickens eat ants? Here's more protein than they would ever get from their own food, just prime for the taking? They look at them, sometimes a peck at them and then just walk off. Think maybe they want the crumb of food that the ant is hauling. They are everywhere.

    UPDATE: So I used the Sevin spray and sprayed around the coop first. The Sevin did not faze them at all. If the force of the spray blew them over, they got up and kept on going, never once losing their chick feed. Drenching didn't work either and I have now 1/3 of the new spray bottle left. They have found the wire that goes down to the hanging feeder and are going up and down it.

    Help! What else can I use safely around the chicks and for starters, just around the coop?
     
  2. cbenson6820

    cbenson6820 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2011
    i would spray pyrethrin or permethrin(synthetic pyrethrin) in the coop but i would try to avoid getting it on the feed but you can spray chickens with it, just not sure about chicks. That will kill the ants and keep them away. it works wonders for flies and spider mites as well.
     
  3. KnobbyOaks

    KnobbyOaks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2012
    Central Texas
    Thank you for that suggestion. I will try it the next time I go into town. I was just so surprised that I couldn't kill one ant with Sevin and it's got ants on the label. New bottle too.
     

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