My okra is crawling with tiny black ands just like last year. Except last year they didn't show up until fruit was being produced but this year I have them sucking the plant before it fruits.
How can I get rid of them. I tried insecticidal soap but that didn't last long....all suggestions appreciated.
Gerry, I suspect your okra has ants because it has aphids and the ants are harvesting the honeydew (waste) from the aphids.* Here's a photo of an okra plant with ants tending the aphids.
You can use insecticidal soap but you need to spray every 5 to 7 days to get rid of the aphids.* That will get rid of the ants.* You can even make your own spray.
How often did you spray and for how long?
Any detergent will kill ants. (Makes you wonder about detergent.) Keep a mixture in a spray bottle for instant kill. The soap will destroy the chemical trail that they follow.
-- The least toxic system we've used for getting rid of the ants is a mixture of 1/3 Boric powder + 1/3 cornmeal + 1/3 powdered sugar. You mix this all up and then make little foil "boats" and put some of the mix on the boats and place them under sinks, fridges, behind w/d, etc. If a warm-blooded pet licks at them, it won't kill them at most it will cause a slight burning sensation of the mouth. This mixture gets rid of everything from the ants to those huge palmetto bugs! You can sprinkle it around the outside of your house. Ants will travel in your house via the wires. You can remove the outlet covers on light switches, etc. and put some of this mixture in there. You can go up in your attic and sprinkle it all up there (works on silverfish, too). I've seen a variation of this mixture on the shelves at stores, but it is cheaper to mix it yourself. I've NOT tried this on fire ants. If anybody does, let me know if it works!
-- I have used chili powder and raw lemons against fire ants in TX - and they are very difficult to combat. Once I went around the outer perimeter of the foundation with chili pepper and squirted lemons and rubbed the rinds around the door jambs. I never saw another ant.
-- Killing the egg laying queen is the only way to destroy the colony. Wait a day when the ground is dry and the rain is at least a day away, then gently sprinkle a teaspoon of instant grits on each fire ant hill. The worker ants carry the grits to the queen who eats them. When she drinks water, the grits expand in her stomach and kill her. The remainder of the hill dies within less than a day.
-- In a dry environment, put down dry grits. The ants eat the grits, drink something or get wet and then they swell up and explode!! They also drag them into the nest with similar results. Well, it is a relatively safe way to deal with them (except for the ants !).