Is it really possible to control ants on and around plants without resorting to harsh chemicals and sprays? You bet it is!
Ants can be big problem on and around flowers, vegetable plants, bushes and shrubs. Although they rarely feed on foliage, they can hinder and damage blooms when appearing in large numbers.
The large underground colonies of ants can also disrupt and damage the root structures of plants, taking away access to valuable moisture and nutrients the plant needs to survive.
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Although there are many commercial insecticides available to combat ants, they have their drawbacks. Not only can they be potentially hazardous to household pets, they also kill beneficial insects as well.
But there are more natural and less invasive options. Here is a look at 5 natural methods to control and stop ants in your landscape.
5 Natural Methods To Control Ants In The Landscape
#1 Lemon Juice and Water
Ants simply do not like citrus! Not only is the oil from lemons toxic to ants, the liquid also destroys their scent trails, keeping additional ants from finding their way back to plants.
To use, mix up a 50/50 solution of lemon juice and water, and spray on affected plants. Re-apply as needed until the ants stop coming back.
#2 Mint Leaves, Cinnamon and Cloves
Much like with citrus, ants do not like the scent of mint leaves, cinnamon or cloves.
Because of this, all 3 are great natural solutions to use around the base of potted plants to keep ants from climbing on board. Simply sprinkle around the top of the soil base in the containers to create a natural repellent.
Not only is vinegar great for controlling weeds in driveways, sidewalks and walkways (see : Controlling Weeds With Vinegar), it’s also a great to control ant colonies.
Basic, store-bought vinegar (5% solution) is all you need. Simply open and pour down the opening of the ant hill. It is best to use early in the morning, or late in the evening, as the majority of the ants will be present, and not out foraging.
Wait a few days to see if there is still activity, and reapply if necessary.
#4 Boiling Water
One of the most effective ways to control ants is with good old-fashioned boiling hot water.
Simply pour the scalding water down the entrance of the ant hill. The water will penetrate the channels of the underground colony, killing the ants as it moves through the chambers.
For even better results, add in a tablespoon of mild dish detergent to the water before using. The oil in the soap will help increase the effectiveness of the solution.
Wait a day or two after applying and re-check the hill. If you still see a few signs of life, re-apply again until all signs of life have vanished.
#5 Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar
Baking soda and powdered sugar is another homemade remedy that works well to control overbearing ant colonies.
Baking soda is deadly to ants when consumed. By mixing it with powdered sugar and placing it in and around the ant hill opening, the ants consume the mixture, and the colony is killed off.
Regular sugar will not have the same results as powdered sugar. The grains of traditional granulated sugar are large enough that the ants can tell the difference, and will leave the baking soda alone.
Here is to maintaining control of the ants in and around your plants and landscape – without harsh chemicals! For more info on natural pest control, check out the our Natural Pest Control section on our Old World Garden Farm blog.
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