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Natural ways to get rid of ants in the garden

Ants-how -to-get-rid-of-ants-in-the-garden

Ants

Ants are busy little insects that seem to be always involved in some sort of activity whether it’s looking for food, building a nest or doing some other form of work we can be assured that these tiny insects are on the go continually. There are many species of ants that can be found in our homes and the home garden.

The presence of ants shows that they are doing their part in bringing balance to our ecosystem, even if that means invading our gardens and landscapes. The downside to their presence is that there is a species of ants known as the fire ants which can deliver a painful bite besides causing other issues.

I can’t count the number of times I have gotten a terrible sting from such ants and am I sure many of you would agree that may have come in contact with them that the experience was not a good one.

Ants are very intelligent insects building colonies and using aphids as cows to harvest food, aphids are among the sucking insect groups that injust the sap or fluids from garden plants, the secretion of aphids is a  sweet sticky substance known as honeydew.

Garden ants harvest and feed on this honeydew so what ants dose is maneuver and position aphids throughout the garden area so they can start this process and begin harvesting, garden ants are pretty smart won’t you say I think so.

How to get Rid of Ants in the Garden

The Good and the Bad of Ants in the Garden

While this post is on ridding our gardens of ants there is a good side to their presence and then there is a bad side so let’s have a closer look as we weight the pros and the cons off ants in our gardens.

The pros of ants in our garden

  • Garden ants will feed on garden insects pests including their eggs
  • Ants have been known to pollinate garden plants
  • Ants assist with the decomposition process by feeding on the bodies of dead rodents and organic waste
  • Garden ants distribute seeds as they move throughout the garden area
  • By building tunnels and colonies inside the surface of the soil this helps in the aeration process that is beneficial to plant life
  • Ants help in adding nutrients to the soil by using foliage which has decayed to construct their nest as a result of this the soil is enriched and plants that are nearby received nutrients

The cons of ants in our garden

  • Ants have been known to feed on grass seeds hindering new growth
  • They can deliver a painful sting
  • Garden ants have been known to bring insect pests into the garden while protecting them from predators, the reason why ants bring and protect these garden pests is to have them feed while using their secretion which is sticky and sweet (honeydew) for food
  • If ants population is allowed to increase in the garden their tunneling can weaken the root systems of garden plants

Now that we have looked at the pros and the cons of garden ants what are your thoughts?

Natural ways of ridding your garden of ants

1. Pouring hot water on anthills is a safe way to rid your garden of ants.

2.  Pouring a mixture of dish liquid and water on anthills or adding to a spray bottle and applying ants will clog up their spiracles ( the organ which they breathe through ) causing suffocating.

3. The use of white vinegar in the garden by pouring it on an anthill will eliminate them.

4. Sprinkling black pepper, garlic, cinnamon, mint or chili pepper around ant hills and other areas where ants are seen will bring them under control.

5. Diatomaceous earth can be used as a barrier, as the ants seek to cross over they will come in contact with this product that will eliminate them.

6. Ensure that there are no leaky pipes in your garden which will encourage their presence.

7. Your irrigation sprinkler heads should be in good repair and not leaking.

8. According to one report crushing up chalk and using it as a barrier around your garden plants or the perimeter of your garden will keep ants away.

9. It is reported that the use of cucumber peels around garden plants will repel ants because the cucumber peels have and odor which ants hate.

10. Ensure there is no food particles or containers and food package which may be lying around your garden.

11. Beneficial nematodes are microscopic worm creature which enters the bodies of the host insects, once these worms enters the host insect they will excrete bacterias from their digestive tract that will cause death.

12. There are certain garden plants that will give of and odor which will keep ants away. Plants such as garlic, thyme, rosemary, lavender, marigold, etc… are among the many plants which ants hate.

13. Spreading coffee grounds at the edges of your garden to create a barrier will act as deter which will keep garden ants away.

14. The use of ant gel which can be purchased from your garden center will bring them under control.

15. Boric acid and sugar mixture, mix a tablespoon and a half of boric acid with water. Stir this solution until it becomes a paste then apply this paste at the entrance of ants nest as the ants come in contact with this sweet paste they will eat and take some of this paste back to their colony which will eliminate them including the queen.

Keeping ants out of potted plants

  • Sucking insects such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and scales suck the sap or fluids from plants and secretes a sugary sweets substance which is known as honeydew Ants will seek out plants where these insect pests can be found so controlling these insects will eliminate ants
  • The use of insecticidal soap has proven to give good results, before applying soap read and follow the manufacture label
  • Scatter cinnamon, mint or chili pepper  around the base of your potted plant
  • The use of ants bait will destroy the colony
  • Insecticides will kill on contact
  • Cover the topsoil with Diatomaceous earth

Additional Information

Keeping ants out of home

  • Ensure that all openings are clogged
  • All food particles should be cleaned up of kitchen counters and stoves
  • Ensure that food particles are cleaned up off the floor
  • Garbage containers both in and outdoors should be properly secured
  • Cook and raw foods should be properly sealed
  • Ants hate the scent of peppermint, a cup of water along with 8-12 drops of peppermint oil sprinkled where ants are seen will eliminate them
  • Apply instant grits in areas where you have seen ants, once the ants consume the grits will cause them to shrivel up and die.
  • Ensure that your pet food container has no food particles

Type of ants

There are billions of ants which can be found in our homes and gardens, office buildings, woods, forests, etc… Here are a few of them.

Black Ants-how-to-get-rid-of-ants-in-the-garden

Black Ants

1. Fire Ants

2. Carpenter Ants.

3. Atta

4. Bullet Ants

5. Black garden ants.

6. Redwood ants.

7. Pavement Ants.

8. Pharaoh Ants.

9. Yellow crazy ants.

10. Yellow meadow ants.

11. Weaver Ants.

12. Subterranean Ants.

The final word

The presence of ants in the garden does have its benefits but this presence can also bring issues which can have negative effects on garden plants beside giving a painful bite so weight the pros and the cons to see what is best for you and your garden as we seek to bring the ants population under control ensuring that our plants are growing healthy.

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6 comments

  1. Danijel says:

    I must say that this is exactly what I was looking for. My wife and I have a garden behind the house and we can very often find ants on our plants. I was given the advice to buy some toxic venom but I don’t want to do that. Natural is always the best method and most important, it is safe. I will definitely try some of these methods and see how it work.

    1. Norman says:

      So happy to help and I am wishing you the best of success as you put some of these methods into practice. Have a good day.

  2. Anjali says:

    Hello Norman,

    First of all I have to say that this article is very informative not only in gardening but also in housekeeping. After weighing the pros and cons I think ants are more harmful than they are helpful for the soil and plants. And we cannot control the number of ants that grows in our garden. It’s either blocking their entry completely or letting them live freely in our garden. So I believe even if it’s not now, someday ants surely will become problematic. So it’s better to take action from the beginning right? Out of all the methods to get rid of ants and anthills I think blocking their entry to our garden are the best ways to go with. Therefore crushing up chalk or spreading coffee grounds might be the best choices for me. Out of all the types of ants you have mentioned in this article, could you please tell which type would be more poisonous to us humans?

    1. Norman says:

      Some persons are allergic to ants bite while for others its no problem. I have heard however about
      the Maricopa harvester ant which has a deadly bite I did not mention this one in my post but stay clear of this one. I hope this helps and all the best to you.

  3. Boniface-AndroidBix says:

    Hi Norman,
    Another eye-opener post.
    I grew up in areas where black and also white ants were quite a nuisance. Though there are pros and cons of having them around, they more often than not will do harm than good.

    For instance, tropical safari ants (a species of army ants) could eat up small domestic creatures (like chicks, kittens) alive if not noticed in good time. They were seasonal and liked to attack at night. Black ants can also be quite an army- especially if they successfully enter and attack a beehive.

    Your recommendations- like the boric acid trick- do work.
    Boniface- AndroidBix

    1. Norman says:

      So happy to meet you and thanks so much for sharing and I am glad to help all the best to you.

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