Worried about effect of pesticides on fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Worried about effect of pesticides on fish

Wasn't sure what category this belonged in:
Our house and yard has MAJOR ant problems (trails everywhere, some of them more like superhighways), and we're deserate to call an exterminator, but I'm TERRIFIED of possible airborne chemicals getting into my fish tanks, and getting into the water of my ourdoor pond.
Have any of you had your house/yard treated for ants/bugs, without any effect on your fish? What chemicals were used? What should I avoid?
Please help!
Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 11:56 PM
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who cares about the fish...wouldnt you be more worried about what those chemicals will do to you...?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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If you had ants coming out of your daughter's showerhead, you'd resort to chemicals too!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 02:56 AM
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boric acid

Get some boric acid, often sold as a cheap powder for cockroaches. I've found it at Dollar stores, and in pest control sections of grocery stores.

The guy that sprays my house gave me a syringe of 6% boric acid with what looks like molasses to kill ants. I've also used the straight boric acid in the attic to kill carpenter ants - the big black tree ants that bore into wood. Not good for your house! Had a hard time gettign them with ant bait, but the boric acid, puffed into holes drilled in all walls and beams suspected of harboring colonies, did them in, haven't seen any for months.

The syringe works for the tiny sugar ants that appear when it is wet outside and someone leaves dishes at the kitchen sink. I used the boric acid powder in the shower, along the pipe going into the wall -- boric acid is not good in wet locations but I guess it worked well enough.

You can mix the boric acid with peanut butter, or use it dry, for cockroaches and ants. Pretty harmless to people and to fish I think, we add it to fish tank fertilizers to get the boron I believe -- but don't quote me on that! I do think that boric acid is used as an eye wash -- but don't quote me on that either! (two big martinis and I'm hopeless)

Do not use sprays!
The vast majority of bug sprays are neurotoxins and will do great damage to fish!

Last edited by anonapersona; 12-09-2004 at 12:13 PM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 03:05 AM
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I too have made ant bait using boric acid and sugar/honey/pancake syrup. The thing about boric acid is that it's not a spot killer, but needs to be taken back to the nest where it is fed to the queen and colony. It's the killing of the queen that does the real extermination job. It takes a strong conviction to place down bait and wait it out as streams of ants come out of the woodwork! Usually by the third day the ant trail is gone...never to be seen again.

Did you know that in California it is actually illegal to mix up such home-made pesticides?


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 04:19 AM
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Go out any buy a bunch of "Grant's Ant Stakes" and place them right in the path of the ants. They make one that you can stick in the ground and one that you can place on surfaces. I use the surface one indoors. I even have taped them to walls if that is where the ants are. Every year when the rain starts and the begining of summer my home is invaded by ants. I put these things out, the ants swarm all over them for a couple days and then I never see tham again. I swear by them. Good luck!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 05:10 AM
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Have you ever tried one of those lime green, warty textured 'fruits'? Can't remember what they are called; anyone know what I'm talking about? Can be found in the produce section of the grocery store, but not for human consumption. Just place it on the floor and the bugs go away. After a few months they shrivel and brown and need to be replaced.

It kept my ants away. Seems like the natural alternative to man-made pesticides.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 12:52 PM
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OK, being a chemist this might sound strange, but:

I use ground cinnamon to ward off the tiny ants (that form the trails). It works great and smells good! Sprinkle it around areas where they are coming in - they won't cross it. If in a visible part of the house, you should be able to vacuum it up in a couple of days after the ants lose interest.

Also, for larger critters I sprinkle a diazinon "barrier" around the outside of the house - seems to work well - even on the huge "palmetto bugs" here in the Southeast. Diazinon has recently been banned due to high levels in the air when used INDOORS, but you can still buy it at the local big boxes - it is the active ingredient in many fire ant killers.



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