I have a recurring problem with sugar ants farming scale on all sorts of plants in one window on the second floor. Nasty sticky soot everywhere - plants languishing.
Have used boric acid bait for the ants, systemic pesticide as a soil drench to kill scale (stinky stuff - plants go outside for awhile) and not using that great window for a year. And the ants keep marching on. Have also used boric acid bait outdoors but there is no sign of ants on that side of the house. The granules did knock out the Spring infestation in the kitchen on the opposite side of the house where I could see mounds to apply it to.
All the other windows which are full of plants are, knock wood, pest free.
Last edited by Daneborg on Fri Aug 06, 2021 8:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
I have had excellent results with an ant bait/poison called Terro Liquid Ant baits. It's a clear liquid with a texture like syrup in little plastic covered trays. You cut an opening in one end where they can enter and take home the tasty poison to the ant nest.
But, IMO, the bigger issue is really getting rid of the scale on the plants(s). Most scale species are very well controlled by application of dormant oils in spring, but I'm not sure you can do that inside the house. The horticultural oil basically suffocates the overwintering stage before it can hatch, but their usual life cycle timing may be altered by living indoors, with no real winter. I think I'd try moving them outside in spring as soon as temperatures are warm enough and treat them out there.
Either that or just get rid of all the infested plants.
@Mayfield Thanks for that! I'd completely forgotten about dormant oil. I do use Terro ant bait but may need to buy new as I noticed it was crystallizing when I squeezed it out onto cardboard squares the last time around. Haven't seen it in trays but will look into it.
I can get rid of the plants as I have the parents (uninfested) for new starters. There is a way forward!
If I catch it early a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol works well but this had gotten out of hand. Will dump them and start again.
Oh I've had my share of unwelcomed guests: piss ants, fire ants, Norwegian Brown cockroaches (thanks to a new neighbor — we moved elsewhere), "water bugs" (Texas-sized cockroaches), and even a few baby water moccasins when I had an apartment next to a river. (Really nothing when compared to my brother and his brood.)