Ants!

Tranz

Arachnobaron
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My G. Pulchra spiderling molted six days ago. His keeper was cleaned before he molted, so there were no prey items introduced before yesterday. I'd say he's been in there for a couple of weeks. I have periodically noticed tiny red/brown ants on the kitchen countertop. The T's keeper is over 20 feet from the kitchen. About a month ago I got a "peace lilly" plant and placed it beside the T's keeper, to help shield light. Lately I had been watering the plant more. The bag of Jungle Mix is kept in a bottom kitchen cabinet, but is tightly sealed.

Three days ago I noticed that the crickets I keep in a tamale jar in an upper kitchen cabinet had died, perhaps of dessication - though they looked fine the day before. Swarming around them were masses of these tiny ants. I quickly washed the jar and sprayed the ants with Windex, which killed them. Yesterday I brough home fresh crickets and immediately fed one to my T, which is the first he's eaten in over two weeks. The T ate it readily, and nothing looked unusual. An hour later I looked in on the T and noticed it standing in an exaggerated way that lifted its body off the substrate (see attached pic). It even pointed its rump in the air. Then I noticed them - dozens of these tiny ants. Not as many as were on the crickets, though. I didn't notice any on the T, though there probably were. I noticed them crawling on the side of the keeper and on the substrate. Later, I found 3 on the heating pad, but have not found any around the keeper since. I swear, it's almost as if the ants appeared suddenly out of nowhere.

I transferred the T to a temporary container and cleaned its keeper, killing all the ants. I throw out the plant. After the T was transferred to its cleaned keeper, I noticed it "cleaning" its fangs/pedipalps, front legs in a rythmic side-to-side motion. I could see its sharp thin fangs moving in and out like cat's claws. Maybe it was cleaning soap residue from walking briefly on the bathtub.

How dangerous are ants this tiny to a T, especially a 1 1/2+ spiderlling? How do you get rid of an ant infestation without hurting a T? How can you protect a T from ants, especially when you're away?
 

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MrDeranged

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The easiest way other than eradicating the ant infestation is to put the entire keeper in a pan of water. The water will act as a moat that the ant's cannot cross.

Scott
 

Code Monkey

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I have battled ants with Ts in the past. In and of themselves, the ants probably offer little danger to a healthy T but Ts's don't care for being crawled on by them. I can still remember watching a female smithi as she methodically and continually was cleaning herself off of the "vermin" (and eating a fare amount of the ants in the process).

Two things: ant navigate by chemical trails so once they've found a source of goodies (leftover prey in your Ts tank) they're going to keep coming. Thoroughly clean the shelf and surrounding are where your T is. Also, if you can find where they're entering you home, cleaning and treatment with boric acid is effective for stopping the influx.

The second thing you can do which is full proof and I have used in the past during the ant invasion is to set your T's cage in a shallow pan of water. The ants can't cross the moat and this gives you plenty of time to get them out of your home without letting them stress your T in the meantime.

EDIT: I see that Scott has beaten me to the moat method.
 

Tranz

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Originally posted by mrderanged
The easiest way other than eradicating the ant infestation is to put the entire keeper in a pan of water. The water will act as a moat that the ant's cannot cross.

Scott
Wouldn't the water evaporate if you were gone for two weeks? Also, wouldn't the water tend to attract the ants that would go after the T when the water had evaporated? I had an idea of smearing a thick band of Vaseline around the base of the container - not to make them slip, but on the theory that they'd get stuck and not be able or want to physically cross it. Someone mentioned boric acid - a thick band of that in a dish might work, but as long as it is not an attractant to the ants to begin with.
 

Wade

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A small amount of soap in the water will break up the surface tension and trap any insect that may try to cross the water.

The moat method is probably at best a temporary fix. As you suggested, it will get to be a pain after awhile!

I have heard of ants swarming and killing captive T's, but most of the cases I've heard of are on the west coast. I belive it's the Argentine ant that is the most common culprit?

I know other keepers who mixed boric acid and sugar as an ant bait. The ants take the sugar and poison back to the nest. Eventually, the whole colony is destroyed.

I've used the ant baits successfully, including terro, grant's, and combat brands. Same princple, the ants carry poisoned bait back to the colony. You might want to mix brands, as different ants are attracted to different baits. Some like sweet, while others go for fat/protien ("grease eating ants").

As Code Monkey said, cleaning surfaces is helpful to get rid of seant trails. I've heard that dilluted wite vinegar is especially good for this.

Vaseline would probably work, but YUCK! It'll be everywhere before you know it!

Wade
 

Tranz

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Originally posted by Wade
A
Vaseline would probably work, but YUCK! It'll be everywhere before you know it!

Wade
I just read that ants will not cross a line of unscented talcum powder. Perhaps, before going on a long vacation, it might be a good idea to put the keeper on an even surface and pour a ring of talcum powder around it. Also, I've read that unscented talcum powder is good for stopping minor T wounds, so it might not be a bad thing to have around.

I just got some Terro buttons. They have borax, which is not specifically listed as a pesticide that kills spiders. The down side is that it only seems to kill "sweet" ants, not "fat" ants. Some of the pesticides listed as killing both "sweet" and "fat" ants are also listed as killing spiders. Something to think about - you don't want pesticide-bearing ants eaten by your spider, though I'm not sure how realistic a possibility that is.
 
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Wade

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Originally posted by Tranz

Something to think about - you don't want pesticide-bearing ants eaten by your spider, though I'm not sure how realistic a possibility that is.
It's not very likley. Ants forage by picking up food and taking it back to the nest, so unless the return trail actually passes through a t cage, it won't happen.

I'm not sure if a t is likley to eat ants anyway, the formic acid repels most predators.

Wade
 

Lycanthrope

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just my humble theory at play here, but wouldnt talcum powder absorb alot of moisture from the air, detracting from the humidity?
 

krucz36

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i've had personal experience of T's being killed by ants, three gorgeous C. cyanopeubescens slings, about an inch or so, were brutally cut down before their time by the common black ants we have around here (under an eighth of an inch).

some things that work:

borax is a desiccant that will keep away ants, and i've found that spreading it on the carpet, then vacuuming it up later, will keep down mite infestations.

ants won't walk on cinnamon powder for whatever reason. i don't know why, but it works like a charm for me.

of course, nothing works like chasing down the ants and taking out their home. a full pot of boiling water down an ant hole, or some judicious ant-staking, can take care of a hive. i don't like chemicals so i rarely use stakes, but they can be effective.

i'm reading all the other stuff...cool ideas. the thing it try to do is not necessarily kill the ants completely...i don't like them, but killing off a hive makes more room for other hives to expand, or more to move it...i try to rearrange them so they stay out of my house. they will kill t's, so make sure you have some kind of protection if you're prone to ant infestations. I've read that if you're hunting wild t's, and find an ant hill, just keep walking cuz t's won't be around. (i think it was in TKG)
 

atavuss

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ok, I am at wit's end with ants in our home (mainly in the kitchen) my wife even found them in the coffee maker when she went to make a pot of coffee.
what is boric acid, where do I get it and what is it mainly used for?
Ed
 

MrT

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Check out this thread Nick

Ernie

BTW, sorry every body for bringing this thread back up , but I dont know how to post links for threads.:confused:
 
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nocturnalpulsem

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Originally posted by MrT
Check out this thread Nick

Ernie

BTW, sorry every body for bringing this thread back up , but I dont know how to post links for threads.:confused:
I'll keep that all in mind. What about the substrate question?

N.
 

JDK

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The best way to get rid of ants is red pepper. The hot stuff i mean. Put it around where you notice the ants, " Not in the cage," and if you feel the need to, make a ring of powder around the kritter keeper to provide a maximum security anti-ant stronghold.
 

Paladin

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i hate the ants we have in socal. You leave anything on the counter and a swarm of ants will be invade in under an hour (if you leave your house unattended)

ive lost a few batches of crickets like this when i kept anoles.
 

dennis

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As far as i know, ants dislike copper. Shiny copper looks cool, so you can make some copper thingy's around your spider enclosures, and voila, no more ants.

Ðennis
 

jezzy607

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If you call a good PCO (pest control operator) they can identify your ant and give you the best and/or least toxic method of destroying the entire colony. I work at an "urban pest control" lab, in which one of the species we research is the "Pharoah's Ant", a tiny orange ant that lives in buildings in the north and everywhere in the south. well anyway, NOTHING seems to repel them, except for insecticides, which they will avoid if used incorrectly, but only some baits work well enough to eventually kill the colony. hope that helps someone.
 

galeogirl

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I've had success with letting house geckos roam loose in my animal room. So long as you have a few plants that you mist to keep them hydrated, they do a great job of keeping down ants, flies, and other pest-type insects.
 
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