Monday, 13 April 2015

Bull Ants are Bullies

     The destruction of the bull-ant nest which is right next to the house site seems to be going well, if not complete. After pouring all that boiling water down there the other day, a day or two later I saw a couple of bull-ants carrying larvae uphill to what must presumably be another nest. I tried to follow them to find where they were going but kept losing them. I tried a new strategy of killing all the bull-ants individually which I found roaming around - which is quite a tricky feat in itself. You can't squish them under your boot because they just emerge from the dirt and keep going. You have to basically crunch them between two rocks, and if you chop them in half, the front half keeps walking around and trying to attack you. Very much like the Terminator. The next step was to disturb the nest and kill all the ants which came out, and when they stopped - to disturb the nest some more. Eventually I ended up digging about 10cm down into the dirt and discovering a whole bunch of larvae.
     I couldn't actually find any kind of head or mouth on these things, so not exactly sure how they feed in order to grow bigger. I felt bad that I was destroying the ant nest when they were just trying to live their ant lives - but they are so aggressive! And when they bite it really hurts! So I thought I had destroyed the nest because I couldn't find any more ants, but today there are still more ants appearing from the same spot when I disturbed it. They seem a little less aggressive these days, but I still want to remove this nest completely because it is so close to the house site. We don't want to be bitten every day while building!
     Today we cleaned out the bottom of our footings holes, which was quite a tricky task - some of the holes had roots sticking out, some of them still had wet sticky heavy clay, and all of them were difficult to access. Lots of swearing was necessary to get the job done. Just a little more work tomorrow morning before the council guy is due to come and inspect. Fingers crossed it goes well and we don't have some kind of spanner thrown in our works.


  1. Hi Sandrina - good to see you are making some progress.
    For the ants - pouring about a litre of petrol down the main entrance hole is supposed to work.(Don't light it!!!)
    If you can get your hands on some molten aluminium you could create quite an amazing artwork:
    Re your questions on my blog: the underfloor insulation isn't really squashed at all - only around the edges of the containers. There are big cavities under the containers and the batts will hopefully rise to fill these gaps.
    The water tank sand was screened river sand - I needed 10 cubic M which cost $633 incl delivery from a local supplier. Also 1 cubic M of gravel for around the base of the tank to stop water erosion. ($148)
    You'll find for most very large tanks (mine is 76,000L) onsite construction is normal. I was originally going for two 25,000L poly tanks which are delivered on a truck. A 50,000L one needs an extra large truck and was way more expensive than getting two smaller ones. But then I found I also had to have a RFS tank of minimum 20,000L which had to be metal or concrete so that is why I ended up combining them all into one metal tank. It is made of colourbond with an extra strong durable poly liner. Bit like a big swimming pool with a lid!!
    Cheers, Terry

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Terry. I am not really keen on pouring petrol down the ant hole as it will pollute the soil, in which I will probably want to grow food in the future. I am considering vinegar cos they really seem to hate that - when it is sprayed on my boots they are very reluctant to come near me. Those aluminium ant nest casts are quite artistic!
    Good to hear that your underfloor insulation is still effective, you have inspired me to look around for 2nd hand insulation for a cheap method. I am surprised that you could combine your RFS tank with your household tank - are you supposed to never use more than two-thirds of the tank water to make sure there is still 20,000 litres in case of bushfire? I guess the benefit of having 2 tanks would be that if there was a leak in one, then the other one is still there as backup. But golly your tank is HUGE!