Compost dirt and ants

by Donna Frazier
(Camp Verde Arizona)

My issue with compost ants is that we sift the dirt and mix it with other potting soil and it goes into plants in the hot house/greenhouse.

My experience is that ants can destroy plants in the veggie gardens. I’m happy to have them in my compost pile but I’m looking for the best ways to get them out so they don’t go into my fine dirt and then into our potted plants that we sell.

We live in North Central Arizona, typically hot and dry. But we have well and irrigation water so can keep our plants moist and happy.

Shake Them and Soak Them

My experience with ants is that seem to abandon the compost if it gets significantly disturbed.

The other thing they dislike is wet conditions. Given you have water available you can thoroughly wet the compost and shake it up. Most if not all the ants will evacuate.

Another thing you could add is an explanation to the ants. I know - a little out there. But tell the ants you appreciate their work in the compost but you are using the compost to make a potting soil and that you sell the plants to people who would not appreciate them being present. Plus they'd lose touch with the colony — a sad fate for these social insects.

Best of Luck

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