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Old 15-11-2023, 11:24 PM
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AlexN
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Keeping bugs/ants off a permanent pier.

I'm going to be building pier in the coming months to reduce the setup and polar alignment time for my home setup, however, I have ants EVERYWHERE in the yard, and when it rains, anything that sticks out of the ground gets absolutely swarmed...

I figure I have two options.

1. Have the permanent pier and mount head adapter outside, but bring in all the gear including mount head when I'm done. Obviously I can make plenty of reference lines on head and head adapter to ensure when I set it up, it's as close to exactly where it was as possible. Same for the altitude adjustment...

This really negates the "improved setup time" aspect, but should yield repeatable, acceptable polar alignment almost instantly..

2. Find a way to make the pier not friendly to climbing insects, and that way I can leave the mount head on there with an inverted water drum or bin over it to keep it out of the weather.

I would still be bringing optics/electronics inside, just the mechanical mount outside.

What are your thoughts? What's the best compromise here?

I feel like a pier where I have to move the head inside every time is not MUCH better than 3 small concrete pads with markings for the tripod legs in them, and then registration markers on the tripod head adapter to head base, head base to azimuth base, altitude to ra axis etc...

If that's my best bet, so be it.

Unfortunately, building an Observatory is off the cards for the moment, and no doubt it'd be crawling with ants within 5 days of being built anyway.

Help me decide what to do...
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Old 16-11-2023, 10:01 AM
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Ryderscope (Rodney)
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Hi Alex, I have a pier in the yard as well as one in my observatory. I simply make it a regular maintenance task to spray the base of the pier with a surface spray to keep unwanted critters away. Helps to keep the spiders out as well as ants.
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Old 16-11-2023, 10:27 AM
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Nikolas (Nik)
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I cover the pier with a large garbage bagand tie it tightly at the bottom of the bag, this keeps the critters from crawling in. I also spray the base of the pier with surface spray every so often
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Old 16-11-2023, 12:14 PM
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AlexN
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Maybe that's the plan, or with how bad my ants are here, maybe even tape the bag to the pier to create a seal, and just throw a bag of desicant in there before I seal it up...
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Old 16-11-2023, 12:25 PM
JA
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All of the above suggestions sound great. I would also test/consider a custom ant cap for the crawling insects.

Best
JA
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Old 24-11-2023, 03:13 PM
TrevorW
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Make a little moat around the bottom of the pier (plus drawbridge) filled with oil then light it, to keep ants away - attract birds to your yard to keep eat the spiders
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Old 11-01-2024, 09:51 PM
vk6kb (Keith)
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Bunnings sell a " copper" tape to wrap around things that is supposed to work really well. Thats what I will be trying soon.
Cheers
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Old 16-01-2024, 10:08 AM
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AlexN
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Thanks for the suggestions guys! I'll definitely try the copper tape idea.

I've currently been going out and spraying a VERY STRONG surface spray on the tripod legs every few days, though that will get expensive in the long run. We are getting on average 50mm of rain a week at the moment, so the ants are certainly looking for somewhere to go, and the rain washes the surface spray away a bit too...

I've brought the rig inside again recently, as I just don't want to risk it during the wetter months, and I can usually get a < 4 arcmin polar alignment sorted in about 20 minutes, so I'm not too concerned about it at this stage... During the cooler, drier months I'll find a good permanent location for the mount and hopefully get a lot more imaging time in as a result...
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Old 16-01-2024, 01:27 PM
Leo.G (Leo)
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Pardon my ignorance but what does the copper tape do and how does it protect the pier against ants invading?
I think the house and yard where I live sits on top of one giant ants nest and I'll hopefully be putting a pier in the back yard sometime soon if it ever stops raining.
I have the pier, I have the 1 metre lengths of 16mm stainless threaded rod to set into the concrete, rod which will be welded in place to 3/4" reo-bar driven into the ground radiating outwards at a 60 degree angle to lessen the size of the concrete pad I need while adding stability (hopefully).
I know ants and spiders will soon inhabit the new home.


I'm liking the moat and drawbridge idea. Not overly sure on the flammable liquid in the moat, kerosene is so expensive these days and I have hairy legs (not constrained to legs, entire body, face, head) and I hate the smell of burning hair.
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Old 16-01-2024, 08:13 PM
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I did some reading, the copper tape is for slugs and snails. As they drag their moist asses across the tape it generates a tiny electric response and repels them. Won't work for ants. Apparently peppers/mint/spices hold them back so if I need to buy 1kg of pepper a month, so be it
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Old 20-01-2024, 02:44 PM
vk6kb (Keith)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexN View Post
I did some reading, the copper tape is for slugs and snails. As they drag their moist asses across the tape it generates a tiny electric response and repels them. Won't work for ants. Apparently peppers/mint/spices hold them back so if I need to buy 1kg of pepper a month, so be it
OK, my apologies, yes it was for slugs and snails not ants
The old grey matter isn't what it was these days.
However I spoke to our local pest control guy yesterday and he told me that you can buy a liquid that they use to discourage and kill ants. Apparently you flood the topsoil around the pier and they will avoid it.
He tells me at my next yearly treatment if I show him where I want it to be excluded from he will pour copious amounts around it for me.
I also live on a massive ant hill
Cheers
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Old 23-01-2024, 03:19 PM
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gaseous (Patrick)
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I've used Zeus (Bifenthrin) at home with good results on ants and lawn grubs. It also works on spiders, termites, mozzies, and a host of other unwanted creepy crawlies, and can be used on both lawn and hard surfaces.
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