Garden Pests – Cats and Ants


The white cat from next door (the one Alf saved from hanging) has claimed our garden as its own, including the Square Foot Gardening bed.

And a black male cat has started hanging around – I can tell it’s male by the lingering smell it leaves behind.

Stinky thing.

Tipsy – get out there and protect your territory!

She occasionally chases other cats away, but I had to be proactive, as, rather than patrolling, she prefers this:

TipsySo, to protect my delicate seedlings, I cut some shadecloth to size, hemmed it to prevent fraying and stretching, and sewed ties to the sides.

I then screwed hooks into the trellis posts, and tied the shadecloth to them.

Hooks and tiesHemming might sound like overkill – but I want this to last a long time – I don’t want to replace it in a couple of months.

With the strong winds we get here, it would stretch and sag, thereby becoming ineffective.

And if it frays, the birds will try to pull bits off when they start nesting.

As it was 10 foot long, once I put it up, it sagged badly in the middle,so I hand-stitched a little pocket halfway along and held it up with a bamboo stake.

PocketI suppose the cats can still climb up it or crawl underneath it, but maybe they’ll look for easier places to dig instead.

Hopefully in their own gardens.

The shadecloth should also provide a little respite from the strong afternoon sun come summer, and maybe even act as a windbreak.

Shadecloth barrierIt’s ugly, but it’s removable.

Red Ants

They discovered the raised bed, told their friends, arrived in droves and started nesting.

Ants excavate the soil to build their nest, which can disturb and damage the plants’ roots.

Plus red ants are aggressive and quick to bite  – the bites really hurt, and they form little blisters, which itch for days.

So I’m trying a couple of things:

a) Miraculous Insecticide Chalk

I didn’t make that name up – look:

Insect chalkIt’s dirt cheap and it works.

Draw a line on the floor or wall where ants are invading your house, and they go away.

The package insert says it’s safe for humans and pets, but as it’s made in China, and so could contain melamine, lead, or God knows what else, I haven’t licked it to see.

Two other good uses for it are:

1) on the floor around pet food bowls

2) on the wall around your little tub of gecko poison


I drew around the edge of the bed with the chalk, but have to redo it every time I water or after it rains, as it gets washed off.

b) Coopex

Hopefully, this is a longer-term solution.

Coopex is a residual insecticide that I sprayed on the outside walls of the bed.

As it’s made in Australia, and not China, I believe the package insert when it says that it’s safe to use around plants, pets, and humans.

When insects walk on it, they absorb it through their tiny little feet, take it back to the nest, spread it around, and eventually it kills the entire community.

It sounds a bit brutal explained like that.

I feel like a mass murderer!

Anyway, it takes a while to work, so I don’t know yet whether it’s been effective.