Jenny Scott leading the charge against the ant invasion in Raumati South. Photo: Jonathan Mitchell, RNZ
Jenny Scott from the Raumati South Residents' Association says a huge thankyou to all those who have registered to take part in Ant Baiting Weekend, 6/7 October. She says good luck to everyone. If it is wet, it will take place on the first fine weekend after that.
"More people can still take part. If you have no ants, or very few and are not going to bother about ant-baiting weekend, please reconsider. Lay some borax baits round your boundaries, and check whether they are being taken," says Ms Scott.
"Great care must be taken with baiting. The two ants we are trying to combat, the brown Argentine and the black White-footed House Ant, are notoriously difficult to exterminate. If they suspect a threat they move, divide and multiply and multiply and multiply.
"People may not mind those little brown ants under the drive, as long as they stay outside. But within two years, that one small colony may multiply into a super colony which spreads all over the neighbourhood, invades homes and gardens by the millions, destroys the biodiversity of the soil, and even kills baby geckos and birds. Not everyone can afford pest controllers and expensive baits, year after year. Nor is this good for the environment.
Ms Scott says by all baiting together on the same weekend there will have a better chance of reducing ant numbers, and a better chance of identifying problem areas which will need further attention. Talk to your Neighbours, she says.
"Take a careful look at individually owned properties, at vacant properties, at rented properties, at street frontages and park boundaries. Everyone needs to have checked with the owners of all the properties on their boundaries, and talked about who has got what problems. Talk to your neighbours and take responsibility.
"I believe there has been a lot of ant movement in Raumati South over the last two years, because the black White-footed House Ant, is being pushed out by the newly arrived Argentine Ant. The only defence the White-foots have against the Argentine is to multiply and multiply and multiply, so more and more people are getting their houses invaded by vast colonies of black ants. Argentines have established themselves in a property, then spread out in all directions into surrounding properties until they are so numerous and so hungry they start invading houses, and the Black Ants are driven out."
Ms Scott says both the KCDC and The Paraparaumu/Raumati Community Board have given grants to run this.
"We have been responding to people from north of Waikanae to Paekakariki, and sending out information on how individuals can organise their own mini ant-baiting programmes.
"There at two types of eradication methods, home made borax bait or the commercial Vanquish-Pro:
Recipe: 5gr (1 rounded teaspoon) of borax powder; 250gr (1 cup) of sugar; 1 litre of boiling water. Dissolve, cool, and pour onto cotton wool stuffed into the bait stations. Saturate the cotton but don't leave any unabsorbed liquid, or the ants will drown.-
"Use borax in a liquid solution, at exactly the right strength, and in little screw-top containers with 4mm holes drilled in the lids to let ants in but keep bees out. These are available for $5.00 for 50 from firstname.lastname@example.org. The aim is not to kill the argentines but to keep them alive and feeding, unaware that they are taking a toxin back to the queens. The same dose will kill the black White-footed house Ants directly which is great.
"Borax baiting is slow compared with Vanquish-Pro, scatter multiple borax bait stations round the house and section, every 2 metres or so. Leave them for up to 3 months, replenishing if they dry out.
"The Vanquish-pro we recommend for Argentines comes in 325gr cartridges, enough for an 1100 sq metre section. It was developed in Australia for the argentines ants, and is very fast. The cartridge has a carbo- hydrate added to it to attract the White-Foots as well as the Argentines, so care must be taken not to lay it out in the open near active bees. People may squirt blobs of it into empty borax bait stations as a safeguard, then reuse these containers later for borax baiting.
"Vanquish-Pro, is $64 a cartridge, if ordered through the RSRA, E-mail email@example.com to find out what is right for you.