Ants usually stay in the garden for a very long time. They build an anthill and form an ant colony with a Queen as its head. The main trouble is that this large family is extremely voracious and such insects’ invasion generally brings some inconvenience.
Fighting ants often goes with variable success and not always comes to the end with a final victory of the human. In addition, many of us feel sorry for the little inhabitants of the land parcel because since childhood we consider them “orderlies of the forest and the surrounding area.” However, in the country garden ants usually host, which incidentally bred aphid which is the most resilient pest.
Combating ants that have begun to threaten our garden is a very complicated task, because their population is countered in millions, underground passages in kilometers, and new anthills can appear on our land parcel at a speed of 1-2 pieces daily…
Following the advice from this article you will be able to get rid of the ants forever in the end.
Who are ants: helpful friends or persistent pests?
Nowadays agronomists often debate if it is necessary to combat ants. One group speak with a single voice that these insects are indispensable helpers of humans in gardening, while others, on the contrary, are in constant search for new and effective ways to remove the ants from the garden. Even in kindergartens teachers always tell kids not to try to pick an anthill with sticks, explaining that ants are absolutely harmless and useful beetles. However, many gardeners are willing to argue with these teachers, believing that the harm exceeds the benefit. Each owner of a kitchen garden has to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding to hunt the ants’ settlements on the garden.
Benefits of ants in the garden:
- Enrichment of soil with nutrients and oxygen. Ants are able to dig passages, leaving one and a half meters under the ground. These passages can perform the function of natural ventilation of the roots of many plants. In addition, they retain moisture, which makes the land more fertile. Scientists discovered that, thanks to the anthills, the soil is enriched with phosphorus and potassium in such a form that they can become food for the plant.
- Loosening the ground. Despite the obvious fact that the bugs are very small, and so are these underground corridors, they are enough to make the earth explosive. Such scrutinous soil drying is much more useful than digging the garden with shovels or cultivators.
- Fighting against other insects. These small and hardworking bugs can clean our garden from other unnecessary pests. The residents of a small settlement of black ants destroy about 2100 eggs of flies, maggots, slugs, caterpillars and spiders in one summer day. Ants do the work that humans cannot.
Harm which could be done to the garden by ants:
- Spoiling fruits, vegetables and root crops. Underground residents often gnaw the surface of fruits while trying to eat the inside sweet juice. Most often different berries, carrots and pumpkin (all varieties of roots that contain sugar and vegetables) suffer from their meal habits.
- Damage of flowers. Ants are very fond of buds of garden flowers. Roses are especially loved by them. When collecting the tasty juice from the bud, ants damage the petals, exposing the flower to wilting and the development of diseases.
- Increase in the soil acidity. The dug passages both feed the ground with useful minerals, and spoil it, increasing soil acidity. In such an environment, many cultivated plants become difficult to develop.
- Aphids spreading. These malicious insects are beloved by ants mainly because of their sweet milk. That is why ants carefully protect aphids from other insects, which leads to spreading of these small green bugs in the garden.
- Destruction of trees. If any tree on your garden land parcel has been chosen by an army of ants, the bugs will finally destroy it. Having settled in the bark and making millions of moves in it, they are able to turn a strong young and fertile tree into dust in a couple of seasons.
How to get rid of garden ants
If you have already decided to clean your garden from ants forever, you should first determine the most optimal method for you. As with other insects, it is possible to deal with ants using the following three methods:
- Chemical inputs.
- Physical methods
- Folk remedies.
Each of the above mentioned methods has its own pros and cons. In order to decide which method suits you, you need to learn more about their impact not only on insects, but also on the life of plants in the garden.
Chemicals will help to arrange pest control more rapidly; the traditional methods will help to save a lot of money and will not have a detrimental impact on soil and plants; the physical method of influence on ants does not guarantee a mandatory victory over the insects and is not considered the most effective.
Thanks to the thought-out and perfect arrangement of life of an anthill, it is not so easy to get rid of ants on the land parcel. Only “slaves” who build anthills and get food for the uterus and males appear on the surface. The main insects live in the depths of the anthill, which can be one and a half meters underground. No chemical is able to penetrate the ground that deep, and if it does, it will poison the soil for at least a few years.
The most popular are baits impregnated with poison, which worker ants bring to their “masters”. This results in their poisoning of all the population. The most effective tool is available in the form of powder, which insects take for food and dragged into their lair.
The vast majority of chemicals used to combat ants contain at its core two substances: diazinon, chlorpyrifos and diatomaceous earth.
Diazinon “hits the target”. It blocks the production of an enzyme responsible for the nervous system of ants. They begin to cramp and this leads to paralysis and death. In addition, it is actively absorbed by the root system of plants and protects them from pests for 2-3 weeks.
Chlorpyrifos gets into the body of insects through the respiratory system and paralyzes the nervous system. In the soil, the chemical is retained for 110-120 days, and remains effective against pests for about 1-2 months.
Physical methods of controlling
The physical way of combating ants is not very effective, because getting rid of the surface part of the anthill you do not affect its underground part, where the main life occurs. Many people place the anthill into the barrow and take to the far distance from the garden. This method makes the insects a little confused, but after a time they begin to multiply again. Some gardeners after removal of the above-ground part of the anthill fill it with boiling water. This has a devastating effect against the red ants, but cannot penetrate into the depths of their homes and does not prevent ants from coming back.
You also can try other, methods to drive the ants from the land parcel. In particular:
- Sticky trapping bands are used to prevent the ants-carriers of aphids to get to the young shoots of fruit trees and shrubs. Ants in this case will be firmly glued to the surface of the trap.
- Ants are bad swimmers, so you can protect the trees by building clay ditches filled with water. The width and depth of ditches may not exceed 3-5 cm, but in this case ants will not be able to climb on a tree;
- To cause irreparable damage to the anthill, place bricks, pieces of iron or stones near the nest and pour them with infusion of manure or any herbs (except those that repel ants). After 2-4 days pick up these items and throw ants with boiling water, pouring the moves also;
- Tie the tree trunk with cotton or wool soaked in carbolic solution. Also create a palm-wide “protective ring ” of soot and linseed oil or peppermint essential oil;
- Attach the sugar water bottles to the branches and grease their necks with syrup or anise oil;
- If the bugs have settled in the roots of the tree, use ordinary or chlorine lime. Pour quicklime on the ant piles and pour them with water.
- to scare off ants, put a cloth moistened with kerosene under each fruit bush. Next to the plantations of currants and gooseberries, you can sow calendula-it attracts a ladybug that actively eats aphids;
Folk methods that have been collected by people over the centuries are sometimes even more effective than chemicals. Fighting insects and weeds using folk remedies, you will save the ground from the harmful effects of chemicals. Many people choose to remove using folk remedies only for these reasons. Yes, you will have to work longer on their total destruction, but you will save a considerable amount of money and the health of your favorite plants.
Most of the required ingredients can be bought at the pharmacy, some can be found in the garage, and some are already prepared by nature itself. To fight the pesky armies of black and red ants you will need:
- sunflower oil,
- boric acid,
- vinegar or citric acid,
- semolina or millet,
- lemon juice.
Destruction of anthills with salt is considered to be one of the cheapest and most effective common ways, but it also has its negative sides. The thing is that salt adversely affects many plants and reduces the fertility of the earth. You can just fill the anthill with salt. But to improve the effect, you can make a boiling salt solution (1 kg of salt per 3 liters of water). Water penetrates deep into the underground kingdom of ants and destroys more individuals.
Lure of sugar and boric acid
This tool is deceptive, it helps the poison to penetrate very well into the depths of the anthill. You will need 1 bottle of borax (boric acid), 0.5 liters of water and 0.5 kg of sugar. It is required to pour this syrup near the home of insects or near those plants that suffer from ants. Sugar, or sweet syrup perform the function of the bait and the boric acid kills the ants from inside. Black pepper can be also used.
Vinegar or citric acid
Ants are afraid of any acid, so vinegar solution for them is also destructive. 1 liter of vinegar should be diluted with 3 liters of water and poured into the anthill. The effect will be noticeable the next day. You can also remove ants with citric acid, dissolving the contents of 7 packets in 2 liters of water. You can use the bottle and spray the solution.
Sunflower oil itself is not harmful to ants, but if you take the used oil from the frying pan after heat treatment, it will become a real poison for the insects. Drain the oil after frying the cutlets or potatoes and pour it into the cracks of the anthill.
Gasoline and kerosene, which can be found in every man’s garage, are often used in agriculture, ruinously affecting the lives of many pests. The ants are no exception. Gasoline and kerosene do not need to be dissolved with water.
Semolina or millet is used to kill the ants
Put these two cereals bought in a supermarket near the anthill. Insects drag the seeds into their burrows, replacing the eggs of the female.
Goosebumps cannot tolerate harsh flavors, so by spreading mint leaves, tansy or wormwood around their house, you will greatly harm their usual life.
Wood ash – the ant killer
Having sprinkled the anthill with ash, remaining in the fireplace or grill, you poison insects. This method is considered to be very effective. Ash is also a good fertilizer. This method, unlike salt sprinkling, does not harm the soil, but rather feeds it.
Also consider the following recipes:
2 tablespoons of hot water + 1 tablespoon of sugar + 1/3 teaspoon of borax, + (after cooling) 1 teaspoon of honey. The bait is to be renewed weekly.
40% sugar + 10% honey + 5% borax + 45% water. The bait is poured into tubes, which are laid out in an inclined position in the places of the greatest activity of ants (at the rate of one tube per 3-4 m2).
2 tbsp. meat minced 1.2 teaspoon of powdered borax. Spread out in places of a congestion of ants.
1 tablespoon yeast + cold boiled water to the consistency of thick sour cream +1 teaspoon jam. Apply the mixture on a piece of cardboard and set in places of accumulation of ants. Ants die after a while.
What to do if you are bitten by an ant?
And finally, let’s talk about what to do if during a difficult battle a few small ants have bitten you by the hand or other part of the body. In middle latitudes ant bite is not dangerous, but can be very painful. Man is usually bitten by warrior ants with a large head and powerful jaws.
A small itch caused by a single bite passes after a few hours and is not dangerous for a person. It is much worse if an allergic reaction develops, the first signs of which are as follows:
- the appearance of swelling, blisters, itching;
- extensive redness of the skin, accompanied by pain;
- nausea, shortness of breath, headache, loss of consciousness.
Treatment for ant bites is the following:
- wipe the bite area with an alcohol-containing medicine;
- make a compress of baking soda to relieve itching;
- remove the swelling that occurs in case of several bites with the help of a compress of steamed birch leaves or raw potato pulp;
- take antihistamines;
- in case of severe damage, consult a doctor.
In our mother- nature, everything and everybody is interconnected. So, the knowledge of the laws of nature, features of horticultural crops and life of ant colonies allow not only to determine a suitable way to fight against ants, but to consider the problem of ants on the land parcel competently and wisely.
In order to scare off the ants from our favorite plants is a more time-consuming and long way than direct chemical destruction, but it is also more humane. Especially because ants are not only our enemies, but also friends: destroying them completely, you can bring to your garden other troubles, which these small workers used to cope with.
As you can see from the article, it is quite real to deal with ant problem successfully. If the methods described above are not enough for you, or you want to know more information, then look on the Internet for videos shot by experienced gardeners. They provide detailed information and demonstrate each method.