• PATRONS: Did you know we've a chat function for you now? Look to the bottom of the screen, you can chat, set up rooms, talk to each other individually or in groups! Click 'Chat' at the right side of the chat window to open the chat up.
  • Love Gotmead and want to see it grow? Then consider supporting the site and becoming a Patron! If you're logged in, click on your username to the right of the menu to see how as little as $30/year can get you access to the patron areas and the patron Facebook group and to support Gotmead!
  • We now have a Patron-exclusive Facebook group! Patrons my join at The Gotmead Patron Group. You MUST answer the questions, providing your Patron membership, when you request to join so I can verify your Patron membership. If the questions aren't answered, the request will be turned down.

Ants!! :(

African Bronze Honey - 50% off for GotMead members

scout

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 4, 2005
229
0
0
44
scoutbrewblog.blogspot.com
Okay, so I am pretty ticked right now, so I apologize in advance if I sound pretty nasty. I just had to dump my first batch of wine down the drain. I just pitched the yeast this morning, and when I went to check it this evening as I putting a batch of strawberry wine must down to cool, it had a layer of ants all over the top. Not exactly a taste I would want to try. My cranberry mead doesn't seem to be to the ants' palate though, because it has been bubbling away since Sunday, and there were only a couple of ants on the outside of the bucket, none inside.

Does anybody know of a way to keep the buggers off my wine/mead?!?!? Or do I give up this hobby altogether, seeing as I live in Houston, the fire ant capital of the world?

In general I try to adopt environmentally friendly ways of dealing with pests, but the two ways I know of that are, well . . .I didn't actually want cinnamon in these meads or wines, and as for wiping the sides with vinegar, I think you can see the problem with that one. I am currently using a plastic fermenting bucket with a towel laid across the top. Someone please help!
 

Mynx

NewBee
Registered Member
Apr 8, 2005
449
0
0
40
Get a lid? Ants are sneaky buggers and a towel sure as hell wont stop em...closefitting lid and an airlock should tho
 

lostnbronx

Senior Member
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Dec 8, 2004
1,020
1
0
Mynxy is right about airlocking -- many people do this in primary, and just mix it up good and well (and periodically) to aerate. Another solution is to set the primary buckets into a shallow container of water, like one of those Rubbermaid bins, so that there is open water on all sides. The ants won't usually cross this, and it can help to keep your primary cool.

-David
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
Administrator
Dec 26, 2004
7,874
5
0
31
The OC
One thing about the shallow water is to put a small amount of liquid soap into it to reduce surface tension so the ants will immediately sink to the bottom. I have seen ants make it across a water barrier to get to my dog's food in the back patio, so the soap makes it even more of a lethal barrier for the ants.

Another solution is Chinese Chalk. For some reason ants don't like and won't cross this stuff. I use it in the patio to keep them out of my dogs food as well. Works like a champ.

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

Wolfie

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 14, 2005
1,386
1
0
39
Twin Cities
one last thought: a cinomon mead is not unheard of, and I have read many great reviews of spiced meads.

By the by: I keep critters out of my must with a lid and airlock. If there are real problems, I can rubberband a rag over the top of my bubbler to keep flys out.
Have you tried wiping down the outside of the bucket with vinegar? It shouldnt hurt your must one bit.

best of luck
~Wolfie
 

hedgehog

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 8, 2005
258
0
0
43
Anteaters!!! Buy one, Rent one, Borrow one!!! If you are lucky it will be a slow picnic week and you can get one cheap. Not only are they earth-friendly, but everyone knows they are more into beer than wine or mead, so your stuff will be safe. (at least from the ants, unfortunately they do nothing about cellar rats and Oskaar).

I know.. bad joke, but someone was gonna put in on here, so it mighta well been me.

On a serious note, sitting your batches in pans of water might work the best. And if nothing else, using David/Oskaar's suggestion of adding some dishsoap in the water, means that if on the bizarre chance the ants DO get into your batch, their feets will be clean, so you can pick them out. :D Although another suggestion is to put a little beer in the dish under your batch. The beer is a little harsher than the soapy water, but the ants drown happy, although the singing might get a little much.
anyhow.. more rambling
hedgehog
 

Miriam

Senior Member
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Feb 2, 2005
643
0
0
66
According to T.H. White, ants sing "mammy...mammy...mammy..." Too disturbing to lie in bed, listening to the poor little creatures getting drunk and going off to a watery grave with this song on their little ant-y lips. I'd go with the soap. Although the anteater solution sounds pretty good too. ;D

Miriam

Also, a couple of layers of plastic film, tightly secured, should keep them out of the bucket. I'd still stand the bucket in a moat of soapy water, though.
 

abejita

NewBee
Registered Member
Aug 31, 2005
147
0
0
43
bottlebombs.blogspot.com
Eek! I'm in Houston, too, but no ant problem thusfar.

I used to live on a farm in WV where we had a serious ant problem. I walked into my bathroom one day and one wall was entirely covered in ants, like something out of a horror movie. I actually screamed, and I am not a squeamish girl. Our solution was turmeric. The spice, used in Indian cooking a lot. Ants HATE it. We laid down plastic and put it EVERYWHERE. So my suggestion is to put down some towels under your carboys or jugs and sprinkle them with a good amount of turmeric. But be very cautious, turmeric stains everything a very intense yellow. When we did this in our bathroom, the ants were gone within hours.
 

storm1969

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 13, 2005
600
1
0
50
Columbia, MD
Anouther enviroment friendly solution is boric acid powder. Find where they are coming into your house and spread a thin layer. They track it back to their nest and wipes it out.

Have used it over the years, it is always effective.

Brian
 

scout

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 4, 2005
229
0
0
44
scoutbrewblog.blogspot.com
Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions, guys! Since my local grocery store is all out of anteaters right now, I think I am going to try to find some kind of container that is not currently packed that is large to stand the bucket in and fill with soapy water. I didn't get lids for my primaries, so I will also be putting some plastic wrap on top (will this let enough oxygen get in for the first part of fermentation?) and I think that I am going to go ahead and rack my mead into a secondary and get it under airlock today instead of waiting until Saturday. The ants don't seem to like it was much as the peach wine (tasteless ba*****s! :) ), but I'd rather them not go after it once they figure out they can't get to the strawberry.

Thanks again for al the helpful solutions. Turmeric, eh? I'd much rather use that for cooking . . . :)
 

scout

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 4, 2005
229
0
0
44
scoutbrewblog.blogspot.com
Okay, so I got my strawberry wine started, the bucket is sitting in a pot full of soapy water with at least a 1/2" gap around all sides, and I have a layer of that press and seal plastic wrap on top (it's the only plastic wrap I have since the other kind turns into big wads of garbage in my hands). The recipe I'm using says to stir it every day for a week, and then transfer to secondary, so I figure there will be ample opportunity for the yeasties to get their oxygen for the beginning.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. And to think . . I thought my biggest worry was my CATS getting into the brews . . . *shakes head ruefully*
 

Mu

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 1, 2005
215
0
0
34
Melbourne
Do what you do if you have a hive, just put it in a dish of water, so the ants cant get to it. Sit it in a tray with water around it. Have a moat about it. Ants won’t go over water.

Mu.
 

abejita

NewBee
Registered Member
Aug 31, 2005
147
0
0
43
bottlebombs.blogspot.com
They were definitely sniffing after the mead. I moved it and I'm putting it in secondary a day early so it'll be under airlock. I'm going to mop out the closet with Castile soap and add tea tree oil to the water. I'm hoping that works, it's a bit more eco-friendly than ant poison.
 

David Baldwin

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 29, 2004
860
1
0
Grand Rapids, MI
OK, so I'm late in reading and responding to this but...

Always the curious type, I read that and my first thought was: "Hmmm natural yeast nutrient..." Maybe I spent a few too many weeks out in the field during my stint in the Army...

I've heard that bears like ants because they are sweet. So when life gives you lemons - make hard lemonaid. When life gives you ants...??

I've seen it quoted often enough here. "Take a chance...Custer did."

Too bad you lost an entire batch - right off the bat too.


David
 

lostnbronx

Senior Member
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Dec 8, 2004
1,020
1
0
With so many thousands of species, ants are as all over the map as you can imagine. Some members of honeypot ant comunities store up sweet liquids in their bodies, and are considered yummy treats by animals and humans around the world. But many ants use formic acid and other noxious chemicals as defense mechanisms and those are far from tasty! Besides, ants travel all over in their restless search for food, and they often walk over, and taste, some pretty nasty stuff. They'd be bringing these gifts along with them if/when they come and sample your mead!

-David
 
African Bronze Honey - 50% off for GotMead members