Ants are common lawn pests that can leave an unattractive mark on an otherwise pristine lawn. Getting rid of ants on a lawn can help give the grass a better environment in which to grow. |
Several species of ants commonly inhabit home lawns and ornamental plantings of trees and shrubs.
Identify and treat an ant infestation to make a home lawn more safe, lush and beautiful. An ant infestation in a lawn is characterized by a series of dirt mounds and the appearance of ants on the lawn. In addition to the dirt mounds, ants can damage the roots and disturb the soil under the lawn, giving the lawn a dried-out look even when it has received sufficient water.
Ants seldom cause serious damage to home lawns. They may cause minor damage to the turf by loosening the soil and constructing small mounds in the nesting areas. Ants also feed on honeydew (sticky sugary substance) excreted by aphids, mealybugs, and soft scales. Homeowners may become alarmed when ants swarm during spring and late summer because they associate swarming insects with termites. However, if they examine specimens for the above differentiating characters, confusion should be eliminated. Respect these small insects since they do bite and some can also sting. Many ants are considered beneficial because they are scavengers and predators on certain harmful insects.
The secret of success in controlling an ant infestation is to locate and destroy the nest, including the queen and her young. Attempt to trace the ants' line of march from the food source to the approximate nest location. There are several registered insecticides that can be applied on home lawns. Careful spot treatments of ant hills with a registered control material will help reduce ant populations. If the entire lawn is treated, water the lawn immediately to wash the registered insecticide into the soil. Do not allow children to play on the grass until the chemical has been washed in and the grass has dried. An alternative in preventing any of these ants from invading your home is to apply a barrier treatment with a registered formulation of an insecticide.
For severe ant infestations, a chemical called diazinon can be used to get rid of ants quickly. Since diazinon involves putting a toxic chemical in your lawn and can damage the soil and kill beneficial insects in your lawn, it should only be used carefully and as a last resort.
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