You go to tend your worms as usual and what should you see but a stream of ants going into your prized worm bin. Your first thought would be to grab the ant spray and spray the life out of the creatures. Don’t! Insecticide sprays are toxic and dangerous to your healthy worms .
Ant eradication and prevention suggestions
Ants are always looking for food or a home, and your worm bin looks like a good spot for both. They almost certainly won’t do any actual harm to your worms, but they are a terrific nuisance. To get rid of the ants you see, spray a commercial window cleaner containing ammonia or lemon extract on a paper towel or rag and wipe the ants off the bin. Wipe only the outside, so the cleaner does not get into the bin. The cleaner will break the scent trail of the ants. Spray the cleaner on the trail away from the bin to kill the ants and eliminate the scent trail. When the cleaner dries, you’ll be able to effortlessly sweep or vacuum up the dead ants.
Follow the trail to learn how the ants are finding their way into your house and to your bin. Are they coming in by way of a hole or a crack in a window, or just walking through the back door? Prevention may be the crucial. Plug any holes or cracks and repair screens. Discourage ants from coming in by employing a barrier.
There are numerous substances ants will not cross, and you could use any of these to block them from entering:
- cayenne pepper
- eucalyptus oil
- lemon juice
- lemon-scented oil
- mentholated rub
- talcum powder
- tanglefoot or any sticky substance
Experiment with these; perhaps you know of some other methods. Sadly, they will not last forever and must be reapplied periodically. Bins that are on legs can be turned ant-proof by placing the legs in containers of water, like coffee cans or cut-down plastic milk jugs. Fill them with water to about one-half to three-quarters full. Keep the containers and water clean of debris. You do not want a bridge for the ants to cross.
Control ants by sending poison bait back to their nest. The ants will discover the bait and return with it to the nest. There they will feed the bait to the rest of the ants, killing all of them.
Lastly, be careful about what you feed your worms. Ants can get into your worm bin if you use fresh garden wastes within your bin. These small creatures will come in with that handful of grass clippings. Try not to use garden wastes which are not composted first within your indoor bin.
You can also try to kill the ants directly before adding them to your bin. To do this, either soak or heat the greens prior to adding them to the bin. Soaking works great for leaf material, but it’s hard for grass. One method to heat grass effortlessly would be to spot it in an old aluminum roasting pan (the level of the grass shouldn’t be higher than the best of the pan) and pop it into a warm oven. Thirty minutes in a 180 to 200F oven will need to do the trick.
A word about ants
Ants are members of the wasp order of insects named Hymenoptera. There are actually far more than 3,500 different species of ants that live in almost every land habitat inside the world. All ants are social in nature and live in colonies named nests or mounds. Colonies consists of a queen (or queens) and female workers. Males are only produced by the queen when the nest is finding crowded. Then she will create winged males and females that go out and establish new colonies. Female worker ants have quite a few jobs within the nest. Some workers tend the queen and other people tend the young; still others are scouts.
Scout ants are workers that forage for food. When a scout ant finds food, like within your worm bin, she will lay down a scent trail that the rest of the worker ants can follow back. These scent trails only last for some minutes, but which is normally lengthy enough for the ants to get from the nest to the food.
Ants are the geniuses of the insect planet. Scientists have shown that ants are capable of individual learning and passing on what they’ve learned to other ants. They can display memory, correct their errors, and communicate amongst themselves. Ants communicate by exchanging chemicals when they meet.