Ants??

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Mar 12, 2016
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So I have noticed the enclosure is starting to get alot of black ants and I'm very worried for them to harm or eat the tortoises! :/ I found a little ant hill a while back and I took the tortoises inside for about a weekend and I dug it out and I sprayed it and tried to drown the ant hill as much as possible and then I raked about 5 inches down across the entire enclosure and hoped it would never come back. Now I havnt found any ant hills but still alot of ants. ... What do I do?
 

JoesMum

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I know you are in California so someone like @Tom is better placed to advise than me.

Basically you need to follow the trail back to the nest(s) and kill them. If the nest is outside the enclosure an proprietary ant bait can be used easily. Usually you just have to place it in the ant trail so they find it and can take the poison back to the nest.
 

Tom

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It depends on which species you have. Are they the little Argentine ants like what you get in your house? Or are they the large carpenter ants that you get outside in a desert type dirt area?

For the former, Terro ant baits work well and are safe.

For the latter, I use Amdro ant granules. Find the entrance to the nest by following where the ants are coming and going, and dump a bunch of the granules right into the entrance hole making a small pile of the granules. Keep the tortoise away from this area one way or another until the ants have carried the poison granules down into their nest. Sometimes the nest will have a resurgence 3-6 feet away from the original hole after a few days, that needs a second application. I've never needed a third application. I would treat every ant hill within 50' of the enclosure to keep them away.

There are some people who seem to think ants are no big deal because they live in cold Northern climates, and ants have not yet caused them a problem. Ants can and do kill tortoises on a regular basis here in warmer southern climates, so consider that as you hear different advice from different people. I lost a russian to a sudden and unexpected ant attack last year. Still have the shell.
 

Rue

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There are some people who seem to think ants are no big deal because they live in cold Northern climates, and ants have not yet caused them a problem. Ants can and do kill tortoises on a regular basis here in warmer southern climates, so consider that as you hear different advice from different people. I lost a russian to a sudden and unexpected ant attack last year. Still have the shell.

Do tell.
 

jdarends

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Food grade diatomaceous earth. It is not poison, won't harm any animals and is fatal to insects with exoskeletons (ants) microscopic scratches cause the ants to dehydrate and die. I use it on fire ant mounds in my outdoor sulcata enclosures
 
Joined
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Messages
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It depends on which species you have. Are they the little Argentine ants like what you get in your house? Or are they the large carpenter ants that you get outside in a desert type dirt area?

For the former, Terro ant baits work well and are safe.

For the latter, I use Amdro ant granules. Find the entrance to the nest by following where the ants are coming and going, and dump a bunch of the granules right into the entrance hole making a small pile of the granules. Keep the tortoise away from this area one way or another until the ants have carried the poison granules down into their nest. Sometimes the nest will have a resurgence 3-6 feet away from the original hole after a few days, that needs a second application. I've never needed a third application. I would treat every ant hill within 50' of the enclosure to keep them away.

There are some people who seem to think ants are no big deal because they live in cold Northern climates, and ants have not yet caused them a problem. Ants can and do kill tortoises on a regular basis here in warmer southern climates, so consider that as you hear different advice from different people. I lost a russian to a sudden and unexpected ant attack last year. Still have the shell.

Thank you for telling me this information. What do you mean with latter Or former ? And yes I have read horror stories about ants eating the tortoises. And I am terrified every time I go out and see ants walking around the enclosure. I will look for the type of things you mentioned but when you say safe for the first one do you mean the tortoises could be around the ant bait? Please and thank you ! I like the granule idea just don't know where they are coming from. I do not have a trail just scattered of ants
 
Joined
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Messages
52
Food grade diatomaceous earth. It is not poison, won't harm any animals and is fatal to insects with exoskeletons (ants) microscopic scratches cause the ants to dehydrate and die. I use it on fire ant mounds in my outdoor sulcata enclosures
Where can I find the diatomaceous earth ?
 

jdarends

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Feed stores can order it. Make sure it is food grade, not pool filter DE
 

Tom

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Thank you for telling me this information. What do you mean with latter Or former ? And yes I have read horror stories about ants eating the tortoises. And I am terrified every time I go out and see ants walking around the enclosure. I will look for the type of things you mentioned but when you say safe for the first one do you mean the tortoises could be around the ant bait? Please and thank you ! I like the granule idea just don't know where they are coming from. I do not have a trail just scattered of ants

In my post I mentioned Argentine ants first. That would be the "former". I mentioned the big carpenter ants later. That would be the "latter".

Terro and baits are just sugar water and borax. Pretty mild and not toxic to your tortoise. The Amdro granules are a toxic pesticide, but the ants carry them underground and you won't let your tortoises have access to them.

It takes some time and observation, but your ants are not randomly scattered. They are either going out searching for food to bring back, or they are going back to the nest. You'll need to observe them and follow some for a while, but they will show you where the nest is if you take the time.
 

jdarends

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May 28, 2016
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I have used it for years with tortoises and around my ponds it isn't fast being it isn't a poison. Put it on pretty heavy stir it in a mound and wet it for larger mounds.it comes in a 50lb bag. You cant really use too much
 
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