General Discussion : HELP! Ants in box!

Help! My nest box is getting many ants! Is this normal or dangerous for the chicks (8 & 9 days old now). My video from overnight indicates they appeared sometime in the later afternoon yesterday and were in the box and very active since then. We put diatomaceous earth at the ground near the box, but do not see where the ants are they are coming from. We were able to get the ants out of the box this morning, but they are back. We have a no-poison policy on our property, because of the rich layers of desert ecosystem we strive to protect. What can be done that will not injure the chicks or parents?


Delorahilleary's picture

Hello Laura!
I'm sorry you're having troubles! Putting diatomaceous earth around the bottom of the pole is about the best thing you can do. Perhaps keep applying that. Don't put it inside the nest box, however, as it is bad for the nestling's lungs.

Other than that, the best thing you can do is observe. Will it effect the nestlings? We honestly don't know. This could be a valuable observation, here!

Keep us in the loop!

NM-Kestrel-Laura's picture

OK! Many thanks for your speedy reply, Delora. No DE is in the box; we just brushed the ants out of there.  But as you know there is plenty to attract ants--poop, uneaten guts, etc, so I'm wondering what happens in the wild. Do ants ever take down the infant chicks. We reapplied the DE after a brief rain shower washed some away and will continue to monitor. So far, the ant numbers have reduced, but still appear to be around. I'll update you when I know more.

My husband has already developed an "ant-proof" mount for the box for next year, but can't implement that until the nest is empty. 

Thanks again, Delora!

Delorahilleary's picture

Thanks for the update. We'll see what happens next!

NM-Kestrel-Laura's picture

Update: We have been reapplying the DE daily for the last 5-6 days, and the ants are fairly gone, now, at least in the box and on the ground nearby. Ironically, the adult kestrels may be contributing to a local increase in our ants because of the large numbers daily of lizards that are brought to feed the chicks and themselves! Yesterday, I counted 9 lizards--not a daily record, by any means--that I could identify brought to feed chicks. The adults eat some, too, that don't get recorded in our videos. 

Anyway, hoping for the best for the little ones. :) 


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Posted in General Discussion by NM-Kestrel-Laura 10 months 3 weeks ago.