Although ants can become a healthy part of your garden's ecosystem, they can also cause destruction by eating your plants and any fruit that they may produce. Protect your garden by first removing the feasting ants and then preventing future infestations. |
Sweet nectar from flowering plants as well as the honeydew waste from aphids can attract entire colonies of ants to your garden.When it comes to damaging garden pests, ants are pretty low down on the list. They don't eat or destroy plants and can help improve soil quality by breaking down organic matter. But that doesn't necessarily mean you want ants in your flower beds. Their unsightly hills can mar the look of your garden, and some species are known to protect plant-damaging aphids because they feed on the sticky-sweet honeydew that aphids produce. Getting rid of ants can be tricky, but there are several effective ways to deal with these pests so they stop hanging around your garden permanently.
If you see ant hills in or around your flower beds, an ant-targeted insecticide is an effective way to get rid of the pests. Some insecticides, however, also kill other insects that may be beneficial to your garden, so read the label carefully to choose the right product for your needs. In addition, ant poison is toxic to people and animals, so if you have small children or pets, you may not want to use an insecticide in your yard. You can choose from liquid or granule formulas, but make sure the product lists bifenthrin as its active ingredient for the most effective ant control. Spray the area around your flower bed where you see hills with the insecticide in the early morning or late afternoon when ants are most likely to be active. Insecticides usually work for up to six weeks, so if you notice new ant hills after that period, treat the area again.
If your flower beds are already full, you can use household items to deal with ant hills in or around your garden. To really get rid of ant populations, you must kill the queen, who's responsible for producing new generations of worker ants for the colony. She never leaves the ant hill, though, so you have to get her where she lives. The easiest way is to boil a kettle of water, scrape away the top of the hill and pour the boiling water down into the nest. Worker ants will swarm when you damage the hill, so be sure to work quickly. If the water reaches the queen, it will kill her, and the ant population will slowly die off. Leave the hill alone for several days, but if it still seems active after a week, douse it with another pot of boiling water.
Another natural ant control way to get rid of ants from your flower beds is to surround them with sticky traps made from items in your kitchen. Ants are attracted to anything sweet, so fill several glass jars with honey, maple syrup or a sugar syrup made from 1 part sugar to 1 part water and place them around your flower beds. The ants will be attracted to the sugary sweet liquids, crawl into the jars and drown. You'll need to throw away the contents of the trap and refill them weekly if the problem persists.
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