Dealing with ants in your garden

During the summer months, you may have noticed convoys of ants going to and coming from your garden. Some may have even made it into your home in search of sugar or anything else they can get their mandibles on. Like most garden pests, ants will generally do their own thing without bothering anyone else. In case they are becoming a nuisance, it is time to start asking how to get rid of ants in the garden.

Ants and your garden

Some of you may be wondering if ants are beneficial to your garden or if they really cause damage to your plants.

Ants can be somewhat beneficial to your garden. Since they are predators, they often help control pests by eating their eggs and young or disturbing them during feeding. They can also aid in pollination while they are foraging. By marching from flower to flower in search of food, ants often act as unintentional pollinators.

However, ants like to build nests around the root system of plants, which can stunt growth and leave plants more vulnerable to disease. Also, quite a few species of ant eat honeydew, which is excreted by aphids as they feast on plants. Ants have been known to protect aphids from other predators, such as ladybirds, to maintain a reliable food source. Increased aphid activity in your garden, especially when they have bodyguards, can be disastrous for plant life as they can advance unhindered through your garden, sucking out all of the tasty plant juice.

How to get rid of ants

The big difference in controlling outdoor ants is that you can often see the nest and deal with it directly. Try some of these methods to get rid of ants outdoors, while protecting your plants.

Natural methods

  • Boiling water. Rake open the nest and pour in boiling water (add liquid soap for extra killing power). Boiling water does kill vegetation, so be careful using this method on lawns.
  • White vinegar. Pouring around 1 litre of white vinegar directly into the nest can work wonders. It is not harmful to the ground or your plants, but it will kill the ants on contact.
  • Boric acid and sugar. This is possibly the most effective home remedy for getting rid of ants. Mix boric acid with sugar until it turns into a paste and then place small amounts of the paste around the entrances to the ant nest. Ants love sweet things and so they will be drawn to the paste, they will eat some and carry the rest back to the nest for the queen. Shortly after eating the sweet paste, the queen and other ants will begin to die due to the boric acid. Boric acid does kill vegetation, so be careful using this method.

Professional methods

Most natural methods don’t work immediately. It’s because of what they are – natural, meaning, the active ingredients in them are not as lethal for ants as what professional poisons will be. Therefore, if you feel the times are direr, you can turn to the below ant control products available in-store and online:

So there you have it, your guide on how to get rid of ants in the garden. As you can see, there are many ways of getting rid of ants in your garden and decimating their nest. No more ants in your plants!