Looking for a few safe, easy and natural ways to keep ants off of the plants growing in your vegetable and flower gardens – and stop them from building damaging nests in the soil underneath?
Ants can cause a number of serious issues for plants. When in large numbers, they will cluster on plants, often eating or damaging stems, foliage and even blooms. They have also been known to wreak havoc on small seedlings just emerging from the ground. Especially when fire ants are on the scene.
Unfortunately, it is underground where large colonies of ants can really do damage on the plants growing above. As they tunnel under the soil, they injure the root structures of plants. Many times, they will even feed on the roots.
When this occurs, it takes away a plant’s ability to absorb valuable moisture and nutrients. Even worse, although smaller ant tunnels can actually help improve soil drainage, when large colonies form a massive network under the soil, it can collapse the roots and drain all of the moisture as well.
How To Keep Ants Away Safely – How To Keep Ants Off Your Plants!
Even though there are a wide range of 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.
In addition, if using near where you grow vegetable crops, there is always the concern of contaminating your fruits and vegetables. The good news is that you simply don’t have to go down that road. Especially when there are quite a few excellent all-natural options that can do the job without the worry.
With that natural approach in mind, here are four great methods to safely keep ants off of your plants in your garden and flowerbeds this year!
How To Keep Ants Off Of Your Plants – 4 Simple Ways To Safely Stop Ants!
Cinnamon has all kinds of amazing helpful uses in the garden – and one of the best just happens to be deterring large colonies of ants from taking up residence.
Ants do not like the smell or texture of cinnamon. In fact, they will go well out of their way to avoid it. That quality makes cinnamon perfect to use when trying to protect tender young seedlings from ants. But even more, it can also keep them away from large perennials like peony bushes, which they happen to love.
To protect plants, simply sprinkle cinnamon around the base of the plant. For large flowerbed or garden spaces, sprinkle it all throughout the garden area. You can also sprinkle it around the entire perimeter of bed spaces to keep ants from crossing into the space.
For extremely bad infestations, mix the cinnamon directly into the soil. This will keep the ants from digging into the soil to create new tunnels.
Finally, if you have a large ant hill beginning to form, a few tablespoons down the main entrance can have them packing up shop in quick fashion. For even more on cinnamon in the garden, check out our article: How To Use Cinnamon In Gardens & Flowerbeds
Boiling Water – How To Keep Ants Off Of Your Plants
One of the safest and most effective ways to control ants naturally is with boiling hot water. Not only is it highly effective, it’s completely free – and easy to do!
By simply pouring hot, scalding water down the entrance of an ant hill, the water will quickly penetrate the channels of the underground colony. As it does, it kills the ants on contact as the water passes through the chambers below the soil.
Water works well because it will automatically find its way into the tunnels, meaning it can reach far down into the colony to kill it off. By adding in a tablespoon of mild dish detergent to the water before using, the water becomes ever more effective.
The oil in detergent soap helps to increase the effectiveness of the water sticking to the ants. Once you have flooded the hill, 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.
Always wear protective gloves when using hot water. Carry the water to your location in a safe container and pour down the hill slowly to avoid scalding any part of your body. When using this method, do not allow the hot water to touch the foliage of plants as it can injure them in the process.
Baking Soda & Powdered Sugar Mix – How To Keep Ants Off Of Your Plants
When it comes to homemade remedies to kill ants in your garden or flowerbeds, mixing together baking soda and powdered sugar can really do the trick!
Baking soda is deadly to ants when they consume it. By itself, ants will leave it alone. But by mixing it with powdered sugar and placing it in and around the ant hill opening in your soil, the ants consume the mixture. When they do, the colony is killed off.
There are a few things to consider if you are using this method. The first is that regular granular 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. Because of that, they will almost always leave the baking soda alone.
Powdered sugar on the other hand is quite fine and similar to baking soda’s makeup. Once mixed with the baking soda, it is nearly indistinguishable to tell the two apart. Because of that, the ants will dive right in to the sugar/basking soda mix.
Lemon Juice and Water – How To Keep Ants Off Of Your Plants
Finally, a little lemon juice and water can take care of ant issues on plants in the garden with ease. Ants simply do not like citrus! Not only is the oil from lemons toxic to them, the liquid also destroys their scent trails, keeping additional ants from finding their way back to plants.
To make your lemon juice and water spray, mix up a 50/50 solution of each ingredient. Shake it well and put into a hand held spray bottle. Apply a light spray to the plants where the ants are, and watch them disappear! Re-apply as needed until the ants stop coming back.
Don’t let ant and ant colonies take over your garden space this year – safely take control of your bed spaces with an all-natural approach, and rest easy knowing your ant problems are a thing of the past!
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