How Do I Kill Ants in My Flowerpots, Home Guides, SF Gate
How Do I Kill Ants in My Flowerpots?
- 1 How Do I Kill Ants in My Flowerpots?
- 2 Removing Ants From Potting Soil and Plants
- 3 Keeping Ants Off Plants
- 4 Ant Traps
- 5 Ants and Honeydew
- 6 Puppies in orchids: how to get rid at home and how to handle
- 7 Causes of pests on the orchid
- 8 Types of midges
- 9 Puppies in orchids: how to get rid at home
- 10 Infection prevention
- 11 Further care
- 12 How Do I Kill Moss in My Flower Bed?
- 13 What Causes Moss to Grow?
- 14 Mechanical Removal
- 15 Chemical Removal
- 16 Amending Garden Soil
- 17 Ants In Flower Pots: How To Get Rid Of Ants In Pots
- 18 Ants in Plant Containers
- 19 How to Get Rid of Ants in Pots
- 20 Tiny Flies in Flower Pots
- 21 Identifying Fungus Gnats
- 22 Minimal Damage Potential
- 23 Manual Control Method
- 24 Chemical Control Method
- 25 Safe Insecticide Handling
- 26 How to Get Rid of Mint Plants
- 27 Removing Rhizomes and Roots
- 28 Smothering the Plants
- 29 Preventing the Plants From Returning
- 30 What should we do with our plastic flowerpots?
- 31 Pot recycling options limited
- 32 The future of plastic pots
Ants are attracted to sweet substances, such as nectar.
Ants have a bad reputation in the garden, even though they don’t harm plants. According to Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson in their book «Journey to the Ants,» ants are even more beneficial to garden plants than earthworms when it comes to moving soil to improve aeration and nutrient distribution. The problem is that even though they are harmless, they annoy people when they crawl on container plants, especially when the plants are indoors. Ants aren’t hard to get rid of, and once they’re gone you can take steps to keep them from returning.
Removing Ants From Potting Soil and Plants
Flush ants out of potting soil by immersing the pot in lukewarm water. The ants will come to the surface and float off. Once you have the ants out of the soil, spray the foliage with water to remove any ants clinging to the stems and leaves. Drain the plant for at least 30 minutes before putting it back in its saucer.
Keeping Ants Off Plants
If you have a plastic pot, smear grease around the edges of the saucer or the lip of the pot to keep ants out. Another way to keep ants out of your pots is to place the pot in the center of a pan of water. Keep the roots out of the water by sitting the pot in a dry saucer or raising the bottom of the pot above the level of the water by putting it on top of a few rocks. Make sure the rocks or saucer don’t touch the sides of the pan. Inspect plants carefully for ants before bringing them indoors.
Use baited ant traps to capture and kill ants in pots. Make the bait by dissolving 1 teaspoon of boric acid and 6 tablespoons of sugar in two cups of water. The sugar attracts the ants, and the boric acid kills them. Saturate a cotton ball with the solution and place it inside a breath mint box or similar small, plastic container. Leave the lid open just enough that an ant can get inside, and lay the container on top of the soil. Clean out the containers and prepare fresh bait once a week until the ants are gone.
Ants and Honeydew
Some small insects such as aphids, scale insects and mealybugs excrete a sticky substance called honeydew as they feed. Ants love honeydew, and as long as insects are leaving deposits on the plant, the ants will seek them out. Unless you have a severe infestation, you can control scale insects and mealybugs by picking them off the plants. Spray aphids with a ready-to-use insecticidal soap spray. Saturate the plant with the spray, paying particular attention to the undersides of leaves where aphids like to hide. Repeat as necessary at seven- to 10-day intervals. Remove the remaining honeydew from the leaves with a damp cloth.
Puppies in orchids: how to get rid at home and how to handle
If midges are found in orchids, you must immediately begin to get rid of them. Rapidly multiplying, they harm the plant by eating its ground parts or roots, moving to all indoor flowers in the house.
Causes of pests on the orchid
Insects can appear on plants for several reasons:
- Contaminated soil. If the soil mixture was improperly prepared and was not decontaminated before use, eggs or larvae could remain in it. If you transplant an orchid into it, and then water it, conditions favorable for the development of pests will be created. The lice will begin to breed actively.
- Excessive watering. Cats can enter the house through a window, however, not finding suitable conditions, they will not remain indoors. If there are plants inside with constantly moist soil, insects will settle there.
Insects leave noticeable damage on orchid leaves
- The use of moss. As a rule, gardeners use it to slow down the evaporation of moisture from the soil. If you do not remove the parts that began to decompose in a timely manner, pests appear.
- The use of natural top dressing: shells, tea leaves, coffee grounds. Rotting organics lures insects.
Important! To choose the right remedy for midges on plants, you need to identify and eliminate the cause of their appearance.
Types of midges
You can understand how to get rid of midges in orchids only by first determining their appearance. It is important to choose an effective remedy that does not harm the plant. Most often, 4 species of insects settle in the flowers.
Small — up to 2.5 mm — dark midges with an elongated body and wings folded on the back. It is not easy to detect them, because they are active in the dark, and when the sun hides in the soil. For pests of this species, dried soil is attractive, so you need to regularly water the flower.
A sign of their presence can serve as dark dots on the leaves. They breed fast, eggs lay on the leaves. Adult individuals damage all parts of the plant by sucking out the juice, while larvae damage only leaves.
You can learn about the appearance of white small flies by carefully examining the plant (you can see yellow traces on it) and the soil where the eggs or larvae of light color will be. If you touch the flower, the butterflies will fly around the room.
Whiteflies live on the underside of leaves, so it’s difficult to detect
The larvae feed on leafy sap, therefore, in whitefly orchids, the leaves begin to dry and turn yellow.
They are black mosquitoes, the size of which does not exceed 5 mm. The most active in the autumn or spring.
Adults (this is their second name) do not harm the phalaenopsis, but they lay their eggs in the ground. Hatched larvae feed on the roots of the plant. Affected areas of the root system begin to decay, fungus and infections penetrate inside, due to which the orchid can die.
Fruit midges do not eat the plant, they feed on rotting organic matter. As a rule, they appear in groups, curl over the areas of interest to them. They are dangerous because they multiply at high speed. If you do not remove insects, they will quickly fill the apartment.
Puppies in orchids: how to get rid at home
If there are midges in the orchid, what to do first:
- Place the pot with the infected plant in quarantine for a month, i.e. put it separately from other flowers.
- Substitute a flower under a gentle stream of warm water to wash off larvae, eggs and adults.
- Inspect the soil, stems and leaves, remove the remaining eggs and larvae with a damp cloth.
- To cut off dead and damaged parts of the plant, to cut the places of cuts with ash or crushed coal.
To remove pests from the roots, the plant is thoroughly washed with warm water
Important! If the soil is heavily infected with pests, it is necessary to transplant the orchid, thoroughly washing the roots.
What to do if midges appeared in orchids in the ground:
- Treat with soapy water. 1 tbsp. l Soaps (preferably without dyes and other additives) are diluted in a glass of water. The composition is moistened with a cotton pad, gently wipe all parts of the plant for a week. After a break of several days, another 2-3 treatment cycles are repeated. When the insects disappear, they wait a month, after which they rub the flower once to prevent the re-emergence of midges.
- Use the infusion of garlic. The cleaned head is crushed, pour Art. boiling water. The liquid is used in the same way as a soap solution.
- Make a trap of apple cider vinegar. The liquid is poured into a small jar, mixed with a couple of drops of dishwashing gel, closed with a plastic lid with small holes made in it. The prepared container is placed next to the flower pot. Frogs (fruit and scyarides), smelling, will fly in and die, because they will not be able to get out of the trap.
- Spread citrus peel or garlic cloves around the plant. This folk method is based on the fact that pungent odors repel insects.
- Prepare a weak solution of potassium permanganate, water them with soil. Disinfecting liquid will destroy eggs and larvae.
- Sprinkle the soil with mustard powder. Once a week, repeat the procedure until all midges disappear.
Spraying with garlic infusion — a safe way for the plant to remove pests
Getting rid of insects using potent drugs is recommended in extreme cases when other methods have not helped.
The hardest thing to deal with scyarides. You will need to apply several tools in the complex: the ground parts of the plant are treated with «Raid», «Raptor» or «Neo Dichlorvos», for the soil use «Bazudin» or «Thunder-2». Pests can remain not only in the pot, but also on the surfaces around it, so you need to wipe the window sill with a disinfectant.
To destroy thrips, Aktillik will do. This drug is treated with an infected plant three times over 10 days.
«Actellic» effectively copes with whiteflies. They are also excreted by Sherpa or Fury insecticides. To get rid of eggs and larvae, the soil is shed with water.
How to get rid of biological methods at home
If midges appeared in orchids, you can get rid of them with home remedies:
- Vacuum cleaner. It will help to collect whiteflies. When they touch the phalaenopsis, the butterflies immediately take off, alarmed. This feature of their behavior can be used. It is necessary to turn on the device in advance and direct the end of the suction tube (it is better to remove the nozzle) just above the plant. Touch the orchid so that the whiteflies fly up and are sucked. From once all the midges cannot be collected, you need to repeat the operation several times, taking breaks.
- Adhesive tape from flies. A ribbon hung next to an infected plant will collect most of the adults.
- River sand. It is preliminarily calcined in the oven, and then poured with a thin layer on the ground. They monitor the condition of the plant: after a few days, all midges should disappear, and if this does not happen, the procedure is repeated.
- Flushing soil. Since the most difficult thing is to remove not the imago, but the larvae, you need to thoroughly wash the soil every 4 days.
Note! If Drosophila are wound up in the house and flower pot, you need to deal with them differently. The remaining moss, tea leaves and other natural fertilizing should be discarded, if used, reduce the frequency of watering. Inspect the room, remove all food attracting fruit midges (fruits, vegetables).
To get rid of Drosophila, all moss from the ground needs to be removed
In order to prevent insects from starting again, some rules should be observed:
- Abundantly acquired soil for indoor plants should be shed with water, and then placed in the freezer for several days. During this time, the larvae, if they are in the soil mixture, will die.
- The purchased new flower should not be placed immediately in the room where others are located, but placed in a separate room. If in a month there will be no pests on it, you can rearrange it to the rest. However, it is not recommended to keep the entire collection on the same windowsill.
- Install mosquito nets on the windows so that insects do not enter the house from the street.
- Monitor cleanliness in the room where the orchid stands, throw away spoiled fruits and vegetables in a timely manner.
- Before replanting a plant in them, new pots should be decontaminated: rinse with boiling water or rinse with a solution of manganese.
When the pests are destroyed, it is important to care for the orchid correctly. The most important thing is to observe the watering regime: twice a week in the warm season, once in the cold.
Note! If the soil is still wet, you do not need to water it. Topsoil must be dry at least 2 days before.
It is undesirable to use food waste (for example, tea leaves) as a fertilizer. These substances will not provide the plant with everything necessary, but will attract pests. If there is a need for dressing, it is worth using special ready-made compounds for orchids.
Dying leaves are removed until they begin to decay, becoming food for midges.
Yellowed leaves that have begun to die should be removed.
How Do I Kill Moss in My Flower Bed?
The growth of moss on the surface of flower beds and other cultivated areas is less a menace to other plants than it is an indicator of soil and moisture conditions that may or may not be favorable for the garden plants you have chosen. In some instances, moss is viewed as a positive addition, providing soil stabilization on erosion-prone slopes, soil cooling for shallow-rooted cultivars and companion planting for ferns and other shade garden plants.
What Causes Moss to Grow?
Moss is a type of fungus. It does not have deep roots—so it does not compete with other plants for soil nutrients—and tends to thrive in moist, acidic (low pH) soils. Many shrubs and flowers prefer neutral and even alkaline (high pH) conditions. Unless you are growing acid-loving plants like rhododendrons, forest ferns or camellias, the presence of moss is a symptom of soil conditions that prevent some flowers and shrubs from thriving.
Since moss is so shallow rooted, you can scrape moss from the surface of your soil with a hoe or other light garden tool without disturbing the roots of your other garden plants. It will generally come back over time, but if the area is small, or if you want to keep the soil acidic for your other plants, this may be all you need to do.
There are moss-killing commercial products available at your local garden center. These are not generally considered appropriate for vegetable or herb gardens, but can be used in lawns and flower beds. Application forms include liquid spray or granules that you sprinkle over the surface of the soil and moss. Pay close attention to application instructions on the containers, to avoid accidental damage to other plants.
Amending Garden Soil
If your preferred flowers and shrubs need non-acidic soil that drains better, the moss is your red flag that the soil should be amended. This approach will both improve the health of the other plants and create inhospitable conditions for the moss.
Soil amendments that raise pH include limestone, wood ash, bone meal and oyster shell. Consult your local garden center for a kit to test your pH. Some stores will test it for you if you bring in a sample. The amendment packaging or a knowledgeable salesperson will give the application rate—the amount of amendment to use for your square feet of space.
If you have not already planted your garden, you can till in enough of your chosen amendment all at once to bring soil pH into line with your needs. If the garden is already planted, be more cautious and add the amendment over time because a sudden change in pH is as shocking to a plant as a sudden frost would be.
In the latter instance, scrape the moss aside, rough up the soil surface to a depth that won’t disturb the other plant roots, and sprinkle on some of your amendment. You can then let water and time take the amendment into the soil gradually. Let the general health of the plants be your guide to further applications. If they look good and the moss doesn’t come back, then you’re done.
Don’t overdo alkaline amendments. If you take pH too high, it will cause some soil nutrients to become unavailable to your plants.
Sunlight and dryness are the enemies of moss. A sunny, well-drained area shouldn’t grow much moss.
Ants In Flower Pots: How To Get Rid Of Ants In Pots
Ants are one of the most prevalent insects in and around your home, so it isn’t surprising that they find their way into your potted plants. They come seeking food, water and shelter, and, if the conditions are right, they may decide to stay. Let’s find out more about these annoying insects and how to get rid of ants in pots.
Ants in Plant Containers
Infestations of honeydew-producing insects, such as aphids, soft scales, mealybugs and whiteflies may explain why you’re finding ants in potting soil. Honeydew is a sweet, sticky substance that the insects secrete as they feed, and ants think it’s a banquet. In fact, they will go to great lengths to protect honeydew-producing insects from predators to keep a supply of this tasty food handy.
Get rid of the insects that produce honeydew before killing ants in containers to keep the ants from returning. If you catch infestations of these insects early, you can treat them with insecticidal soap. Spray the plant thoroughly, and pay particular attention to the undersides of the leaves where they like to hide and lay eggs. It may take more than one treatment to get them under control.
The way you care for your plants can also be a source of ant problems. You may see ants in flower pots when you’ve been using home remedies that include sugar or honey. Pick up leaves that fall onto the potting soil and provide a cozy hiding place for ants.
How to Get Rid of Ants in Pots
If you find ants in your indoor plants, take them outside immediately so the ants don’t become established inside your home. To get rid of the ants nesting in container plants, you’ll need a bucket or tub larger and deeper than your flower pot and concentrated insecticidal soap, available at any garden supply store. Here is a simple procedure that will eliminate the ants once and for all:
- Place the plant container inside a bucket or tub.
- Make a solution using one or two tablespoons of insecticidal soap per quart of water.
- Fill the bucket or tub until the solution barely covers the surface of the potting soil.
- Let the plant soak for 20 minutes.
Tiny Flies in Flower Pots
You can repot houseplants with fresh potting soil to eliminate fungus gnats.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Tiny insects lurking around your houseplants is a sure sign of a fungus gnat infestation. Though harmless, these tiny flies create an annoyance in the home or greenhouse. Fungus gnats live in the soil both indoors and outside, but in a natural environment, predatory insects tend to keep these insects from getting out of control.
Identifying Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats (Bradysia spp.) look like tiny 1/8-inch-long flies with transparent or dark wings and a black or tan bodies. The larvae and emerging flies thrive in wet, organically rich potting soils. You’ll rarely notice fungus gnats at the larva stage, though you might see tiny slime trails on top of the soil in your pots. Once the larva hatch, tiny flies emerge from the soil. You are most likely to notice an infestation when watering or moving plants around.
Minimal Damage Potential
When fungus larvae hatch, the emerging flies are a nuisance indoors, but they don’t bite or cause any harm to people. The larvae feed on organic matter in the soil and on plant roots. When severe, a fungus gnat infestation can cause root rot problems and damage. Minor infestations, however, don’t cause any significant harm to plants or plant roots.
Manual Control Method
Fungus gnats thrive in wet soil, so a heavy infestation may be an indication of over-watering. Letting the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil dry out completely between waterings can help kill the larvae. Once the flying gnats hatch, you can trap them with yellow sticky tape. Lay the tape on the soil or cut it into 1-inch squares and mount them 1 to 2 inches above the soil using toothpicks.
Chemical Control Method
Spray the soil around the base of infested houseplants using a pyrethrin-based insecticide. Spraying the soil will kill off adult fungus gnats as they emerge. Repeat the application every three days for as long as you notice new emerging adults. To mix the insecticide, combine 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons with 1/2 gallon of water and pour into a spray bottle. Use a clean, new spray bottle or one dedicated for this specific insecticide. Label insecticides well with a permanent marker. Shake the spray bottle thoroughly before applying.
Safe Insecticide Handling
Pyrethrin-based insecticide can cause some damage to new foliage but is safe for use on the soil and mature foliage. It is relatively non-toxic for people and animals other than cats and fish, but high doses can be dangerous if ingested. Avoid inhaling the insecticides and seek medical attention right away if you get it in your eyes or accidentally swallow straight or mixed insecticide.
About the Author
Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.
How to Get Rid of Mint Plants
When you invite mint plants (Mentha spp.) into your garden or backyard, they turn into the quintessential houseguests that just won’t leave. Most types of mint spread by underground shoots called rhizomes. This includes both peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and spearmint (Mentha spicata), two of the most popular garden mints in the U.S. To rid your yard of mint, you’ll have to dig out those rhizomes or else prevent the plants from growing by smothering them.
Removing Rhizomes and Roots
With care and patience, you can dig up and remove all of your mint plants, including their rhizomes. Mint rhizomes are white when they grow underground and can be reddish, green or purplish when on the soil surface. About as thick as cooked spaghetti, a mint rhizome sprouts tufts of thin white roots about every 1 inch along its length. Dig up the rhizomes and roots on a dry day when the soil is moist but not wet; the task can be done any time of year. Push a garden fork into the ground about 1 foot from the base of the mint plant. Lever the fork upward, loosening the soil clump, and gently pull the rhizomes and roots out of the soil. The removed plant parts should be set aside for trash disposal. Repeat the procedure across the mint-infested area, working backward so that you don’t tread on dug-up soil. Remove every rhizome and root piece you see, no matter how small it is.
Smothering the Plants
A layer of light-excluding material can be used to starve mint plants and kill them. In early spring, when the mint plants are 3 to 4 inches tall, cut them to ground level with a weed trimmer or hand shears. Spread lightproof material, such as newspaper four sheets thick or landscape fabric, over the mint-infested area. If you use newspaper, overlap the sheets by at least 4 inches. Spread a 3-inch-thick layer of wood chips, shredded bark or other organic mulch on the newspaper or fabric to hold it in place. In late fall or the following spring, remove the covering or incorporate the remains of the newspaper and mulch into the soil. By that time, most of the newspaper will have decomposed.
Preventing the Plants From Returning
Whichever elimination method you use, mint plants sometimes reappear. After you get rid of mint plants, wait one month before before replanting in the affected area. Closely check the soil for new mint shoots every three to four weeks during the growing season, and pull up all shoots that appear, removing as much of the root system as possible. Mulching bare soil in the affected area with a 3-inch-thick layer of organic mulch deters weak mint shoots and prevents mint seeds from sprouting. Garden compost, leaf mold and shredded bark are suitable organic mulches to use.
A graduate of Leeds University, Jenny Green completed Master of Arts in English literature in 1998 and has been writing about travel, gardening, science and pets since 2007. Green’s work appears in Diva, Whole Life Times, Listverse, Earthtimes, Lamplight, Stupefying Stories and other websites and magazines.
What should we do with our plastic flowerpots?
I have something lurking behind my shed, and it’s getting bigger and bigger. I don’t know how to control it and I don’t know how to get rid of it. And I know I’m not alone. I’m talking about my plastic flowerpot mountain.
Every conceivable size and colour is represented in the unsightly heap – black, brown, green, square, round, shiny, matt and cracked. I’ve tried organising the pile into neat stacks, but they never quite fit – and really, life’s too short to stack flowerpots.
While I can reuse some of the pots for seedlings and cuttings, I’ve got far more than I need, and recycling options near me are extremely limited. And so the mountain grows and grows.
Pot recycling options limited
Plastic flowerpots are one of the ignored environmental burdens of our times. An incredible 500 million of them are in circulation every year, and most local authorities won’t recycle them (they’re made from a different type of plastic to food packaging).
Until recently, the garden centre chain Wyevale (now called the Garden Centre Group) offered a recycling service, but that’s now been dropped. That means only Dobbies, which has 26 outlets (mostly in the North of England and Scotland) and Notcutts (19 stores) will take them off gardeners’ hands.
Some progress is being made – biodegradable pots (made from coir, for example) are now available, which some nurseries, like the Hairy Pot Plant Company, exclusively use. However, we have come across a ‘biodegradable’ plastic pot that not only can’t be composted in a domestic heap, it even contaminates recycling streams!
That aside, the majority of plants are still sold in everyday plastic pots and the horticultural industry doesn’t seem to be doing much about it.
The future of plastic pots
There is some hope on the horizon. A company called Axiom Recycling is carrying out a pilot ‘bring back’ scheme at garden centres in the North West of England this summer.
The company will take the pots and turn them into plastic sheeting used in the horticultural industry, or new pots. Marketing director Keith Freegard says, ‘We want to challenge the fact that plastic pots can’t be recycled.’
In the meantime, it looks like it’s up to us to say ‘no’ to plastic pots. Ask your local garden centre if they offer a recycling scheme, take your old pots to Dobbies if there’s one near you, and if you see a plant in a biodegradable pot, buy it.
Is your shed overflowing with plastic pots and are you frustrated by the recycling limitations? Or have you found a clever use for your plastic pots that you’d like to share?