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    • September 11, 2020 10:11 AM EDT
    • That's a very cool video!  I have had to deal with fire ants in Oklahoma and Florida.  There are very good poisons that the ants carry back to the colony and destroy it.

      .

      When I was young, my Grandfather's Farm had many Red Ant hills.  These could literally kill a full grown steer.  My Uncles' solution was to poor a ring of gasoline around the main hole about a foot out and light it.  The ants outside the ring would run toward the flames to get back to the nest and the ants in the nest would run toward the flames trying to escape.  Sometimes, the ring of dead ant carcasses would be a couple of inches tall when it was all over.  Terror for the ants, but useful and utilitarian for the farmer and  exciting for a 12 year old boy, with his 20 something uncles.

      .

      Nasty little buggers. 

    • September 10, 2020 7:49 PM EDT
    • scalding hot water

    • September 10, 2020 7:47 PM EDT
    • That I just had to Google!

      University of Redlands
       
       University of Redlands students work with Dustin VanOverbeke, biology professor, and Raúl Acero and Qwist Joseph, studio art professors, to create an aluminum cast of an underground colony of invasive fire ants. Biology students, who are studying insects in the area, were responsible for discovering the colony in the field next to the art building, Ann Peppers Hall. The aluminum cast will be on display in Hedco Hall, the site of many biology classes.
       
      https://youtu.be/58gSnW2FiFs

    • September 10, 2020 6:58 PM EDT
    • Vic;

       

      Not recommending this, but I remember watching a video on YooToob where some guys poured molten aluminum into the nest.  Got rid of the ants and made a beautiful freeform sculpture once they were done!  Probably should not have mentioned it to the guy who shows Gomez Adams blowing up his trains in every post.  Oh, well you will decide what is best.

       

      Pyrotechnically yours, David Meashey

    • September 10, 2020 4:08 PM EDT
    • YOU CAN'T GET RID OF THEM, all you can do is move them around, if you have a close neighbor hopefully they will go to their yard. All the stuff you purchase to kill them doesn't work, or if it works it doesn't work very well, every time it rains here we have hundreds of new up cropping of them, we try to move then off the property, but when you have as much land as we do, good luck.

      trainman   

    • September 10, 2020 3:57 PM EDT
    • I have usually just 'fed the ants' at their mounds. Just toss a hand full around the mound. They take it down and feed the queen which, as I understand it, sterilizes her and no more ants.  It does sometimes take a day or two depending on the size of the mound.

    • September 10, 2020 2:43 PM EDT
    • Bob, is that a lawn surface treatment or can it be spot applied over holes?

    • September 10, 2020 2:29 PM EDT
    • Vic,  I have had good luck with this stuff  https://www.homedepot.com/p/AMDRO-5-lbs-Kills-Fire-Ants-Yard-Treatment-Bait-100511025/204020090

    • September 10, 2020 2:04 PM EDT
    • Hi all, I've been trying to cope with a fire ant nest I discovered in my backyard, I know they are fire ants and not pavement ants, Red body brown butt and two sizes big and small. The nest in under the pavers making surface soil treatments not possible, and they have multiple entry points in the nest area. Tried a multi spectrum spray, just annoyed the. Diatomaceous earth also seems to just annoy them. I have tried borax powder over the entries but I just read that won't work I'm going to need to trick them into eating it for the borax to work. So anyone have any remedies, mixes or ideas. I want these little %$^#@ gone because they are aggressive and they bite!

    • September 4, 2020 8:28 PM EDT
    • I need to write down some of the stuff that Nancy told me so I don't forget:

       

      • need to be more aggressive at taming (i.e. cutting back) some of the ground cover that was encroaching on neighboring plants
      • the conifers need to be trimmed once a year, in November.
      • the lemon cypress will need to be trimmed back to about 1 foot less than our target height, picking a new "apex" for the tree and then pruning them to let the trunk show as we did before we planted them in the first place
      • the dwarf alberta spruce didn't grow as much as the lemon cypress. most of the pruning will be to just trim out some of the growth to show the trunk as we did before planting
      • the japanese maples need to be pruned in January when they are dormant. we can use our hands to strip the leaves off the branches if we want earlier, but they should drop all their leaves relatively easily. Nancy did cut back the maple near the (future) sawmill, but the other maples are going to wait. if we start pruning now it will just stimulate growth. waiting for when they are dormant will be better for the plant
      • currently we are watering 15 minutes, twice a week. I've been watering the durango succulents every 2 weeks and that's clearly not enough. going to a good soak once a week and we'll see how that works
      • there are surprisingly few weeds. yay! not by accident: lots of rock and fine fill, ground cover is crowding out the weeds. when weeds show up, drenching them with vinegar kills them pretty handily without causing any evil effects (well, if you inject vinegar, it probably isn't so great). also, I was reasonably diligent early on at picking weeds while the ground cover was getting established, so that was a good (not completely on purpose) thing to have done
      • some of the ground cover has dead stuff underneath. need to cut that out, as it ends up being attractive to snails and other pests. some of the ground cover that has little flowers had grown in too far and covered our nice dry wash, and it was looking shabby (some dead stuff), so Nancy cut that back "hard" (as she said). this is in the Jasper forest near the mine: Sweet Alyssum and Lobelia

       

      I hope I captured it all. I'll add more if it occurs to me.

       

      [edited to add the last ground cover bullet]

       

    • September 4, 2020 8:06 PM EDT
    • Looks good!

       

      Succulents are weird.  I find, like the old hymn,  they "blossom and flourish, like leaves on the tree, then whither and perish" just to irk me!  Same species, same soil, same conditions, and one fires, one drowns, and one does fine.  Sedum?  Forget about it.  We've had some cover our "mountains" only to sizzle away, then reappear in little nooks elsewhere.  Anyway, I thank you for sharing your experiences!  It helps us move from "trial and error" to deliberate planting!

      Eric

    • September 4, 2020 6:57 PM EDT
    • Nancy Norris came by today for a pruning/teaching session. It seems I have not been watering my desert enough. My bad! Also: Nancy has suffered through Covid-19 but has pretty much recovered (some lingering weird side effects). Whew! She recommends strongly against having it.

       

      Here's some photos of the desert town of Durango after Nancy has given it a good makeover:

       

       

      Cheers!

       

    • September 1, 2020 3:09 PM EDT
    • Here is the one we displayed at all our train meets and was on the back of your shirts back in the 80s

      the mascot bug logoclub logo

    • September 1, 2020 9:02 AM EDT
    • That's a pretty rare to see a Praying Mantis, thanks for the photos.

    • August 31, 2020 10:53 PM EDT
    • Not the far side, but good enough!

       

    • August 31, 2020 9:00 PM EDT
    • Jim;

       

      I remember seeing a cartoon once (possibly The Far Side).  Two preying mantis males are sitting at a bar.  A female preying mantis is getting ready to bite the one male's head off.  The other male says, "Dude!!  I think she likes you!"  Dark humor, but still kind of funny.

       

      Best, David Meashey

    • August 31, 2020 2:53 PM EDT
    • Had an interesting visitor in the Jasper forest area today: a praying mantis!

       

       

      About the (scale) size of a Shetland pony. If it sticks around and keeps growing we might have a remake of Them! [link].

       

       

    • May 23, 2020 10:51 AM EDT
    • Pete Lassen said:

      thats photoshopped, the train is arrow straight , but the track is curved !

       

       

       

      LOL I am just kidding , who cares if they are not to scale/guage/size that looks great Vincent!

       

      Not photo shopped, angle at which picture was taken 

    • May 23, 2020 10:28 AM EDT
    • thats photoshopped, the train is arrow straight , but the track is curved !

      LOL I am just kidding , who cares if they are not to scale/guage/size that looks great Vincent!

       

    • May 21, 2020 8:45 PM EDT
    • Sean McGillicuddy said:

      I love this shot ...Vinny who .. 

      Me too Sean even though he's into gnomes as they are over rated these days. Love it !