Natural ways to get rid of ants in the garden
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 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 the awful sting they deliver, while some ants will not bite the fire ants are different and are known for their painful sting.
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.
however 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 of 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.
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 weigh the pros and the cons of 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 helps in the aeration process that is beneficial to plant life
- Ants help in adding nutrients to the soil by using foliage that 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 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 an odor that 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 enter the host insect they will excrete bacterias from their digestive tract that will cause death.
12. There are certain garden plants that will give an odor that 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 the ant’s 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
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 that can be found in our homes and gardens, office buildings, woods, forests, etc… Here are a few of them.
- Fire Ants
- Carpenter Ants
- Bullet Ants
- Black garden ants
- Redwood ants
- Pavement Ants
- Pharaoh Ants
- Yellow crazy ants
- Yellow meadow ants
- Weaver Ants
- Subterranean Ants
The final word
The presence of ants in the garden does have its benefits but this presence can also bring issues that can have negative impacts on garden plants besides giving a painful bite so weigh 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.