Ants in nest

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rescuebuddy
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Wellington, FL

I am a new landlord this year. I was checking one of my nests that has 8 eggs in it and noticed that there are tiny ants crawling on them. Need some advise on what to do about this.
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Get them off the eggs change nest if have to and vassaline ur poles.
rescuebuddy
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Wellington, FL

Thanks much. What's your thoughts on 7 dust (1/4) tsp under the nesting box?
Mary Wilson-SW Ont
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:24 pm
Location: Leamington Ontario

Hi, greasing the pole with vaseline or automotive grease will keep the ants out.

But wanted to mention a caution about changing the nest. Mother bird makes a "nest bowl", the purpose of which is to keep eggs/nestlings confined to an area which she can cover and keep warm with her body. When we change a nest, we cannot duplicate that nest bowl, and then eggs / nestlings can sprawl outside of the mother bird's ability to incubate and keep warm. I would avoid changing a nest out, always, until nestlings are feathered. Hard experience taught me this, when, as a new landlord, thinking I was doing the right thing for my birds, I changed a "messy" nest and caused the death of all the unfeathered nestlings because the mother bird could not "gather" them back under her brood patch. They died of hypothermia on a cold floor after she dragged my nesting material out (which was another thing I learned that day - to momma bird I was a nest usurper, bringing in strange nest material, which she did her best to throw out despite the fact that her babies were still in there.) After the babies are feathered, they can regulate their own temperature, and are able to move out of the "nest bowl" by themselves.

If you carefully lift up the entire nest, sweep out as many ants as you can, without disturbing the nest bowl, and grease the pole, that should take care of the ant problem. I have to routinely do this with our tree swallow nest boxes, and I can never rid of every single ant. As long as the ants can't crawl back up into the nest, a few left behind won't matter, and the birds will probably take care of them.
www.ontariopurplemartins.ca ..... the website of the Ontario Purple Martin Association, in SW Ontario, Can
rescuebuddy
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Wellington, FL

Thanks for all the help!
GeneP
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:35 am
Location: Kansas, Lawrence
Martin Colony History: 1 gourd rack with 24 gourd capacity. 2018, my 11th year hosting martins.
18 pair in 2017.

Are they ants or mites?

Some of the pros should step in here and talk about nest changes.
PMCA Member, Single Gourd Rack, 2019 marks 12 years hosting martins.
Gary W
Posts: 431
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 7:29 am
Location: Florida/Pinellas Park

I place 1/4 teaspoon of sevin dust near the bottom of the nesting material, before I raise the housing. I put it towards the front of the nesting material, where the Martins do not build their cup for eggs. It works great, and has reduced the mortality of young which were previously being smothered with mites. I am sure any ants would succumb to the dust too.

Gary
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Mary, sorry to hear of your trouble and loss of babies when you changed a nest. I have never experienced that. In five years with bb and ts I have had to change a few nest with young that did not have feathers. And I used the same grass they used and must say I did a pretty good job with putting the bowl back in the nest. Iv never had a problem. But I guess each person should do what they feel comfortable with and with the amount of experience they have. In any situation I guess its best to leave it be if you can depending on the infestation. But I like a clean bug free nest and am totally comfortable with changing it if need be. But iv always had a good out come. And greasing the pole always works for the ants for me.I have used seven before in a martin gourd.
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Curious what you consider a pro?

Mary,
Great advice in regards to nest changes. It makes sense as the bowls in the nests martins make would keep nestlings much closer and easier for the mother bird to keep warm. I suspect it all depends on the weather but, the weather is never predictable and from what I've been reading it appears as though a lot of people are experiencing some very cold weather.

I see you have 180 pairs of martins way up there in Canada. Very nice job. Since we moved out in the country in 1995 we are still trying to get a little colony going. It has been challenging to say the least. It's nice to know others further north have had such success. Thank you for sharing your experience. It is much appreciated.
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
GeneP
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:35 am
Location: Kansas, Lawrence
Martin Colony History: 1 gourd rack with 24 gourd capacity. 2018, my 11th year hosting martins.
18 pair in 2017.

DakotaLady wrote:
Curious what you consider a pro?
Those who wrote this article

http://www.purplemartin.org/update/92nestrep.html
PMCA Member, Single Gourd Rack, 2019 marks 12 years hosting martins.
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Dakotalady, that's a good question! I have seen so many post titled question for the pros. And iv also wondered what do people consider a pro. And iv seen people with 2-1o yrs experience answer these post. I fall between their with five yrs 4 here at my house and one year at my last house. Five years ago I started reading books and doing research I never new this site existed. But I don't and won't ever consider my self a pro. I'm guessing when they say pro people are talking about ten + yrs experience. And with a lot of birds? I'm just guessing. But a lot of post labeled like that its a question I think someone can answer that just become a landlord. I think no matter how long someone has been doing it. They have their experience and things that have happen to them at their site that can be shared and help others. I am always still learning. And I think theirs know wrong or right answer. Its just about what others have seen and it can be very helpful to any landlord or want to be landlord. Just like with nest changes its worked for me but not someone else. A person can use the info and look how bad their situation is and knowing it could go either way do what's comfortable with them to help their birds. And I think the only real pros is probably scientist and people working at research sites or a lot of sites. Just my opinion hope to hear others take on this.
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Genep, you type faster then I do.lol) but people who write adds like that I would consider a pro. Did not know they respond to these post. What helpful info they would have to offer! And I forgot to mention that some nest I have replaced just had some leaves on top of pine needles not a nest bowl in the nest at all.
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Thanks for the information Gene. That is a very good article.
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

We don't have blowflies, but we do have mites here in S Texas. Truthfully, I have never changed a nest during the season unless the nest was wet, but I do use sevin dust. I see no reason at all for me to change nests. Even when I had a small colony with only 9 cavities, I never changed nests.

In fact, I didn't change nests this year, they are using the same nests that were in the gourds from last year. The martins choose those with old nests first, so they must like them. Some of the gourds are getting heavy, so I will change the nesting material after this season.

We are having a very dry year, the nests are dry, so they really are not messy at all. If your housing is built so that the nests do not get wet, then nest changes are not necessary (no blowflies down here) here. Excellent drainage also helps, and when I purchase plastic gourds, I always add about 5 drain holes.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
GeneP
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:35 am
Location: Kansas, Lawrence
Martin Colony History: 1 gourd rack with 24 gourd capacity. 2018, my 11th year hosting martins.
18 pair in 2017.

My purpose for posting was to get others who support nest changes to weigh in. I'm not one of the pros, but I've been on this forum enough to know that the PMCA supports nest changes when necessary. The article I linked to is in the PMCA Archives. Dr. Hill, one of the authors, is the founder of the PMCA. When I posted, I hoped that Louise would have posted the PMCA views.

I'm more like Emil, I use Sevin to control mites. But that's because I'm comfortable using Sevin. Others may not be comfortable using the dust so they have to consider nest changes. That's why I linked to the article, so they could see how to correctly do a nest change.
PMCA Member, Single Gourd Rack, 2019 marks 12 years hosting martins.
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Oh no worries Gene, I knew that you were just looking for different ideas. I was just curious what kind of pros we had and who they were. I'm FAR from experienced enough to provide good sound advice. Just my mere observations that I've had.

Thank you though for answering. I appreciate that.
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
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