Help with ants

Texastortmom

New Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2017
Messages
1
Location (City and/or State)
Houston, TX
Hi, we recently adopted a Russian tortoise from my friend's daughter who could not care for him. He is a little over a year old. I am quickly learning about our new pet and this forum has been very helpful. I have to admit I'm a bit overwhelmed with 3 teenagers, 3 cats, a dog and now a tort! We are in Texas (HOT & humid) and he lives in an outdoor enclosure. Recently, I have noticed more ants in his enclosure, which tend to be plentiful here this time of year (yes, we have red ants, fire ants, black ants). I need to find something that is safe to put in the enclosure because there are some tiny mounds actually in his pen. I have looked on this site, but I haven't found anything that's safe to use.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Feb 11, 2015
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48,166
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Fes, Morocco
Hello, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum :)
Food grade diatomaceous earth works well, I hear.
But if it gets wet it will stop working.
 

Maitaimommy

Active Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
239
Location (City and/or State)
04005
Hi, we recently adopted a Russian tortoise from my friend's daughter who could not care for him. He is a little over a year old. I am quickly learning about our new pet and this forum has been very helpful. I have to admit I'm a bit overwhelmed with 3 teenagers, 3 cats, a dog and now a tort! We are in Texas (HOT & humid) and he lives in an outdoor enclosure. Recently, I have noticed more ants in his enclosure, which tend to be plentiful here this time of year (yes, we have red ants, fire ants, black ants). I need to find something that is safe to put in the enclosure because there are some tiny mounds actually in his pen. I have looked on this site, but I haven't found anything that's safe to use.

Wow! You sure have a full plate!
Nice of you to take him in:)
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi, we recently adopted a Russian tortoise from my friend's daughter who could not care for him. He is a little over a year old. I am quickly learning about our new pet and this forum has been very helpful. I have to admit I'm a bit overwhelmed with 3 teenagers, 3 cats, a dog and now a tort! We are in Texas (HOT & humid) and he lives in an outdoor enclosure. Recently, I have noticed more ants in his enclosure, which tend to be plentiful here this time of year (yes, we have red ants, fire ants, black ants). I need to find something that is safe to put in the enclosure because there are some tiny mounds actually in his pen. I have looked on this site, but I haven't found anything that's safe to use.

It takes different strategies for different ant species in different parts of the world. I'll share the two strategies that have worked for me:

1. Terro Liquid Ant Baits. This is basically boric acid mixed with sugar water, so it is relatively non-toxic. Here in the dry CA desert, it works really well indoors, but it can also work outdoors. Since its cheap and it won't poison your animals, give it a try. Place the baits right in the ant's path or near their hole and let the ants swarm the bait and carry it home.
2. Amdro Ant Granules. This one is a toxic pesticide, so care must be taken with its use. I ignore the directions on the package. It says to scatter the granules over a large area. No thank you. We have small red ants (similar to fire ants, but a different species), large stinging red and and large black ants. I pour some of the bait granules directly into the entrance of the ant hill to block it and make a little mound. Then I put something over the area like a milk crate or a laundry basket with some weight on it, or a puppy pen, or just put the tortoise somewhere else for a couple of hours. The ants quickly go to work clearing their entrance and they carry all of the bright yellow granules down into the nest to feed the colony. It usually takes an hour or two for them to fully clear the granules away. At that point you can remove the barrier or replace the tortoise since there is no longer any bait topside. This usually kills the entire colony in one application. Occasionally, part of the colony will survive and try to start a new hole a couple feet away from the original. A second application wipes out these stragglers. I try to leave most of the ants alone when they are not in or near my animal enclosures, but from what I've seen of southern fire ants, I would try to knock them out anywhere on or near my entire property. They are bad news, and they can easily kill your small tortoise.
 

Redfool

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Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
380
Location (City and/or State)
Central Florida
Years ago I lost a juvy redfoot to fire ants so please stay on top of the ant problem. Amdro works great here in Florida, just need to use on a dry day. If they are in your pen your tort can be relocated to a tote for a day or so. I also use Orthene (smells bad, works great) around the outside perimeter of my pen as a barrier. If you use Amdro in your pen, relocate tort, treat mound for day or two, vac out excess after ants get their fill so it doesn't get accidentally ingested by your Russian.
 
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