Why worry about Ants?
Ants ‘farm’ and feed off of aphids, so if you see ants crawling up and down your plant stems, chances are you probably have aphid problems. You should deal with ants at the same time as aphids.
On their own, ant hills can do damage to root systems and lawn turf. However you should only treat ants IF there is a problem infestation. Ants are beneficial in the garden as soil-tillers and soil-aerators. Ants also “clean up” the soil and can also be found destroying the larvae of house & fruit flies!
Presence of ant hills at your garden means dry, sandy soil. Keep your soil healthy, moist and rich!
Things you can do to repel these pests inside and outside of your house:
- Keep the area moist and well watered to send the ants away. They like dry conditions.
- To keep them out of tree canopies, apply tanglefoot (a balsam resin) to tree trunk bases. If you do not want to paint directly on the tree, wrap a fiberglass/plastic covering around the bottom and paint this. This will also help curb cankerworm infestations.
- Make a tea of ferns and pour around affected plants.
- Apply corn meal – the ants cannot digest it and they die.
- Keep ants at bay by drawing a line with a chalk around home entry points. The ants will be repelled by the calcium carbonate in the chalk, which is actually made up of ground-up and compressed shells of marine animals. Scatter powdered chalk around garden plants to repel ants.
- Place the flowerpot upside down over the anthill. Pour boiling water through the drain hole.
- Simply mix the juice of 4 lemons (along with the rinds) with 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water and spray it in the places you encounter ants.
- You can also blend water and citrus peelings in a food processor or blender. Lemon peelings are the most effective.
- In a blender, make a smooth puree of a few orange peels in 1 cup warm water. Slowly pour the solution over and into anthills.
- Ants are looking for sugar. Give them some pepper instead. Cayenne pepper sprinkled in spots where the ants are looking, such as along the backs of your countertops or on your baseboards, will tell them that no sugar is ahead.
- If you find the ants’ home colony a little too close to yours and it is causing them to relocate to your kitchen, cayenne pepper can help get rid of it. Pour the pepper down the ant hole and say so long to ants. If you don’t manage to find the nest, you can sprinkle cayenne pepper near the opening where ants enter your home.
- Place a plastic container on the bottom of each picnic table leg. Fill with water. The ants won’t be able to crawl past.
- If ants are beating a path to your home, intercept them by sprinkling salt across the door frame or directly on their paths. Ants will be discouraged from crossing this barrier.
- For an effective organic ant repellent, scatter talcum powder liberally around house foundations and known points of entry, such as doors and windows.
- Other effective organic repellents include cream of tartar, powdered sulfur, and oil of cloves. You can also try planting mint around the house.
- Pour equal parts water and white vinegar into a spray bottle. Then spray it on anthills and around areas where you see the insects. Ants hate the smell of vinegar. Also keep the spray bottle handy for outdoor trips or to keep ants away from picnic or children’s play areas. If you have lots of anthills around your property, try pouring full-strength vinegar over them to hasten the bugs’ departure.
- Other effective products are cinnamon, strong perfumes, cream of tartar and tea tree oil. Mixing them with water and spraying all around, you will get rid of ants in a few days.
- As a last resort, make a borax solution to pour into ant hills: For each cup of boiling water add 1/2c of sugar, let cool and add 1 tbsp of borax. Pour onto ant colony. If it’s applied repeatedly or too strong of a concentration, you will end up with an area where you can’t grow anything until the borax leaches out of the soil. This may take years so USE IT SPARINGLY.
- Alternatively, mix 2 tsp borax in a 1/2L of apple jelly and drop the mixture around the mound. The ants will carry it back to the queen to kill her. Be sure to keep children and pets away from the sweet borax solution to prevent accidental ingestion!
I hope that the above tips will equip you in getting rid of ants’ population inside and outside of your house and prevent their armies from destroying the peace of your home.