Are ants in the garden a good thing or a bad thing? Should you leave them or get rid of them immediately? Well, ants have advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to decide if the benefits outweigh their drawbacks.
If the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, you should your garden ants alone. If the drawbacks are more than the benefits, you should get rid of them.
In this article, you will learn everything important you need to know about garden ants. And if you decide to get rid of them, you will learn exactly how to go about this naturally.
Advantages of garden ants
There are two main kinds of garden ants – tiny black ants and red ants. These two types are also common in lawns. This is why sometimes they are referred to as lawn ants.
Below are the advantages of having garden ants in your garden.
- Aeration. Ants promote soil aeration. They do this by digging a lot of holes and tunnels in the soil improving the movement of nutrients, oxygen, and water.
- Pollination. Ants are pollinators. They carry pollen between flowers looking for nectar.
3. Natural pesticide. Ants are a natural pesticide. They help control various pests by devouring their young.
4. Caterpillar killers. Ants kill caterpillars by attacking them in big groups at once.
- Natural indicators of aphids. When you notice ants, you might be worried about them but you should not be. What you should be worried about is the possibility that they signal the presence of aphids. Aphids secrete a sweet substance, which attracts ants and other insects.
- Decomposition accelerators. Ants can help accelerate the decomposition of decaying leaves, pests, twigs, shrubs, wood, and branches by helping break them down. In other words, they help create organic matter which is great for plants.
Disadvantages of garden ants
Below are the disadvantages of having garden ants in your garden.
- They signal the presence of aphids. When you see ants in your garden beds, then you very likely have an aphids problem in your hands that you should address quickly.
- Multiply rapidly. Because of their numbers, ants multiply rapidly to become a problem within a few days or weeks. They can quickly turn an attractive garden into a no-go zone.
- They can bite. Ants can bite to protect themselves. And the bites, especially of the red ants, are usually quite painful.
As you can see above, garden ants have both their advantages and disadvantages. If after seeing the above, all you want to do is to eliminate ants from your garden, read the section below for ideas.
How to get rid of garden ants naturally
If you are growing vegetables in your garden, then you should avoid using an insecticide or a pesticide to eliminate ant
s from your garden. This is because the insecticide or pesticide could get absorbed by the vegetables and could end up in your body where it can cause damage in the long run. Because of the danger of using an insecticide or a pesticide, we compiled ways to kill ants naturally.
- Aspartame. This compound is toxic to ants but safe for humans. To use it to kill ants, you should sprinkle it around ant hills and hiding places. It will kill them by making their senses malfunction and destroying their brain cells.
- Citrus peels/ citrus spray. If you have citrus in your fridge or garden, you should spread citrus peels around your garden especially where there are ants. The peels contain d-Limonene. This substance is toxic to ants (suffocates them) but not bad for soil or the environment. If you do not have citrus fruits, you should get the citrus spray to use.
- Cinnamon. Cinnamon, especially fresh cinnamon, has a strong scent that is known to protect garden beds by repelling ants. Ants like to eat nectar and similar sweet things. Cinnamon is not on their list of preferred foods. To use cinnamon, spread it around anthills and the affected plants. This will disrupt their activities and affect them very negatively.
- Diatomaceous earth. This white powder is made by crushing fossilized diatoms (hard algae). But don’t worry, you do not have to make your own to use. You can simply buy a diatomaceous earth powder online or anywhere else. To use this powder, spread it around plants. The powder will kill the ants by suffocating them slowly when they enter their bodies. It is not harmful to humans.
- Dish Soap. Dish soap can be mixed with water utilized as an insecticide. To use it, spray plenty of it around the affected garden plant. Dish soap spray kills ants and destroys pheromone trails preventing them from attracting more ants.
- Borax. Borax can kill all types of ants found in the garden. The compound is made using a natural compound that does not affect humans or pets but is deadly to ants. To use borax to kill garden ants, you should spray it on ants especially on and inside the hills, they have built. Borax can eliminate ant colonies in less than 48 hours.
- Vinegar. This is one of the best natural compounds for eradicating garden ants. To use the vinegar in your home to get rid of ants, you should mix it with water and then spray the mix on ant colonies in your garden. Spray the mix everywhere where you see ants. Ants hate the scent of vinegar. Therefore, whenever you spray vinegar will be a no-go zone for them.
- Lemon juice. Lemon juice is a great way to remove ants from your garden. Because its citrusy scent is something that ants do not like. They will stay away from wherever they smell it. Moreover, the fact that its acidic will make it difficult for ants to navigate using scent markings like they normally do. So spray lemon juice throughout your garden to get rid of ants. Or soak cotton balls in it and position the balls near ant hideouts.
- Cucumber peel. Ants do not like the scent and taste of bitter cucumbers. So if you have some bitter cucumbers in your refrigerator, you should peel one or two of them daily, and spread the peels throughout your garden. This will act as a deterrent for the ants. The only problem is that you need to add fresh cucumber peels to your garden after every two days for this to work.
- Cayenne pepper. This pepper is one of the strongest in terms of heat and pungency. And while its pungent odor can make you shade a tear, its effects are far more deadly to ants. Ants do not like it and can die when exposed to it. Moreover, even when not exposed to cayenne pepper, just the smell of it can make it difficult for ants to navigate and communicate like they normally do leading to the disruption and elimination of their colonies.
- Fresh garlic. Almost every garden pest can be removed using fresh garlic. Fresh garlic is an effective pest control tool because of its strong scent. Ants cannot stand its strong scent and neither do many other bugs, insects, and pets. So if you have fresh garlic in your house, you should spread two or three cloves near the anthills in your garden. Within moments you will see ants leaving.
- Chalk. Using chalk lines is a great way to eliminate ants. This is because chalk lines make it impossible for them to leave pheromone trails that they utilize to communicate and navigate. So by drawing chalk lines in your garden, you make it impossible for ants to continue operating with impunity in it.