, Salem, MA


June 20, 2014

Teeny ants a big problem for gardener

Q: I need help with those teeny little ants which live in some portions of my flower border but not in others. When I kneel on my mat (my favorite weeding position) and start digging, these little creatures climb onto my gloves, up my arms and legs, under my shirt and everywhere. I do not even know they are there until they have bitten me. Is there something I can spray on the soil before digging? What can I do about this problem? It seems to not be quite so severe a problem once the soil is disturbed.

A: Wouldn’t you think that with all the rain we’ve had, at least some of the pests would have drowned?

For use in the garden:

Look for anti-ant and insect products that are primarily pyrethrum, which is considered nontoxic. These insect killers should work well if you can find the anthills. What is happening is that you are disturbing the hill as you dig or pull a weed, and they’re mad — and have come to get you!

There are also some herbals/natural substances that seem to repel surface ants: vinegar, cucumber skins, bay leaf, eucalyptus, citronella and orange peel, to name a few.

For applying to you:

Many of the herbals listed above could be rubbed on your skin or clothing. Any of the human insect repellents that list ants on the label would also work, but I’d rather smell of orange peel. Be careful applying any herbals or any chemical product to your skin if you think you might have sensitivity or an allergy.

Hope this is helpful — let me know. You certainly don’t need ants in your pants when you’re gardening.

Q: We live in Topsfield and are wondering why there is no growth on the hydrangea sticks that we have always cut off. Is it because of the past harsh winter, or are we too early? There is green growth at the bottom of the plants. Will you advise us on this dilemma?

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Dear Abby: Younger couples weigh in on how they handle money Dear Readers: On April 11, I printed a letter from "Wondering in Washington," a man asking why young men in general today have the attitude that "any money I earn is mine" in a marriage or live-in situation. He said when he married, he and his wife c

    July 22, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Dating scene is frustrating for strong young woman Dear Abby: I am a young woman hoping to find "The One." But I have come to realize that I'm not the normal female. I don't get manicures or go shopping. (I hate shopping!) When I meet a guy, he likes that I'm "me," but if we get serious, then I'm eit

    July 21, 2014

  • Monday's Best Bets Best Bets for Monday, July 21

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20

    Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out The Salem News' Best Bets.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Shore religion news in brief The Rev. Wesley Williams will be the featured guest for the 9:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, July 27, at Holy Trinity United Methodist Church, 16 Sylvan St., Danvers. Williams will use the sermon time to lead in the singing of spirituals and give

    July 19, 2014

  • North Shore religion calendar Saturday, July 19 Church Yard Sale, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Our Lady of Fatima Church, 50 Walsh Ave., Peabody. Church-sponsored yard sale features home furnishings, clothing, children's items, furniture and more. Portuguese food will also be available. All

    July 19, 2014

  • North Shore Gardener: Can 10-year-old plant food be used? Q: As I am getting older, my gardening is less and less, but I do have three potted cherry tomato plants on my deck. I wonder if some Vigoro Water Soluble Tomato and Vegetable Plant Food that I have had in my garage for about 10 years would be safe a

    July 18, 2014

  • Dr. Kate's Parent Rap: 6 strategies to help your child build self-advocacy skills As tweens enter middle school, they are expected to manage increased responsibility and independence. Included in this set of expectations is their ability to self-advocate for their needs. Self-advocacy refers to an individual's ability to effective

    July 18, 2014

  • doughboys_2 Book Notes: Author discusses World War I at Wenham Museum All the veterans Richard Rubin interviewed for "The Last of the Doughboys," which was published in 2013, are dead now. Given that his subjects ranged in age from 101 to 113, and he started looking for them in 2003, that is hardly surprising. What re

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • womaninyard Quick pick 'East End Open Studio' An art show featuring the work of 15 artists who all live and work in the East End District of Ipswich is on view this weekend at the Ipswich Moving Company Studio at 2 Cogswell St. in Ipswich. The show is called "East End Open

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker