Problems with harvester ants

Karen Phillips kphillips at
Thu Jun 15 00:24:40 EDT 2000

Hi - I have a small market farm in the foothills of the southern
Sierra in California, and am having a terrible problem with a variety
of harvester ant.  These ants are large & black, and can strip a half
grown melon plant down to the ground in a few days.  This season,
they've completeley destroyed a number of melons and eggplants, have
totally defoliated a bell pepper, and wiped out about 6' of potato
plants.  They also have a really nasty sting.  Most varieties of
harvester ants I've come across are pretty mellow, but these guys are
threatening to be a big problem.  I've tried diatomecious earth,
insecticidal soaps and a product called Orange Guard put out by
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.  None seem particularly effective.  Does
anyone else out there have any experience with this problem?  I'm
interested in any organic controls, and would also love to find out
more about their biology & food preferences, so that perhaps we can
make the veggie beds less attractive to them.  Any ideas?

Thanks!  Karen Phillips, Buckeye Farms, Weldon California

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