Thread: Evil ants eating my Dug-Fir

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Burns, Oregon

    Evil ants eating my Dug-Fir

    About two weeks ago I planted some Douglas-Fir bare root seedlings near my property line (along with some Poplars) for a wind/privacy break.

    I have now noticed that the dreaded red-headed ants have removed all the needles off two of my trees! As much as I hate to think of poisoning these ants, but I really do not want them killing my newly planted trees. And yes, I understand the ants were there first.

    One of the trees was planted near a small ant hill, and I tried to drown the ants first, but the other tree did not seem to have ants anywhere near it. So far the other 18 Dug-fir I planted seem to be OK, as well as the Poplars.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Hacienda de Elia
    Peruvian Paso Horses

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Burns, Oregon

    RE: Evil ants eating my Dug-Fir

    One more thing, the seedlings are about a foot tall.

    Hacienda de Elia
    Peruvian Paso Horses

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Ocala, FL

    RE: Evil ants eating my Dug-Fir

    I admit that I've never worked in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm not aware of an ant species in the US that actually removes foliage from trees. Leaf-cutter ants do that, but they're limited to tropical and semi-tropical environments. Some ants (such as harvester ants) do collect and eat plant seeds. However, most of the time when ants are associated with plants, they're feeding on honeydew, a sugary liquid excreted by aphids that are feeding on the plant.

    You can spread diatomaceous earth (try the local garden supply store) around the nests and the trees you're worried about as an alternative to insecticides.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Burns, Oregon

    RE: Evil ants eating my Dug-Fir

    I will have to ask around regarding the name of these ants. They are particularly vicious, and will bite humans (the bite stings & burns like a wasp). I think they are called fire ants, but I am not sure.

    I thought it was pretty amazing. There is plenty of foliage around right now, so its not like they couldn't chose something else to destruct. And I do not see any teeth/bite marks to make me think it was some kind of rodent. One of the trees were planted about a foot away from their ant hill, (I know that was close, but couldnt really put it much further away because of the larger sagebrush, etc.). They were fine the first few days, but then I didnt check the trees for about 5-6 days as we were getting heavy rain each day and I didnt have to water (the trees are on property that I am building a house on about 15 miles away). So then the next time I went out there there were two of the trees that absolutely bare, and the one near the ant colony had ants climbing all over it.

    The seedlings were healthy, and all the others seem to be doing fine (no needle drop, etc.)

    Maybe I will try to take a picture the next time I go out there.


    PS: I will check on the diatomaceous earth, thanks for the suggestion. Someone here local told me to put coffee grounds out around the trees, have you ever heard of this solution? I do not drink coffee, so could I just pour the unused grounds around the trees?
    Hacienda de Elia
    Peruvian Paso Horses

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