Get Rid of Ants in the Garden: Are Ants a Threat to Your Plants?

Now that milder temperatures are finally here, many people across New England have starting tending to their outdoor gardens. Between all the watering and pruning, you might find yourself faced with a particularly plentiful garden pest: ants! While most homeowners have to contend with the occasional ant crawling on their kitchen counter, those of us who have outdoor gardens know that they can quickly become overrun with ants. But are ants harmful to the health of the plants? And if so, how can homeowners in Wilbraham, East Longmeadow and Ludlow get rid of ants in the garden?

Are Ants Harmful to Gardens?

Like many other garden pests, ants generally go about their own business without causing any harm.  They can actually be somewhat beneficial to your garden, because they hunt other, potentially harmful insects that live in your lawn. Ants can also aid in pollination when foraging from plant to plant.

However, ants in the garden can quickly become a nuisance. They often build nests around the root systems of plants, which can stunt growth and leave the plants vulnerable to various diseases. And depending on how close your garden is to your home, it may be easy for the ants to start wandering inside the house!

Get Rid of Ants in the Garden: 4 Natural Ways

If you want to kill ants without harming plants, consider trying a more natural approach.

  • Boiling water. Locate the nest entrances and pour boiling water inside. This may take many tries before all the ants are dead.
  • Dish soap and oil. Mix half a teaspoon of dish soap with 1.5 teaspoons cooking oil, and one quart of water. Pour into the nest, and the mixture should soak into the ant exoskeletons and suffocate them.
  • White vinegar. White vinegar isn’t harmful to the ground or the garden, but it should kill the ants on contact.
  • Boric acid and sugar. Mix these together until they form a paste, and place small amounts around the nest entrances. Drawn to the sugar, the ants will carry some of the paste back into the nest. Once the ants eat it, however, the boric acid should kill them.

Get Rid of Ants in the Garden: Bring out the Big Guns

The natural approaches are not as lethal and might not work immediately, or at all. If they don’t work, you can always turn to commercial ant treatments.  Most hardware or garden supply stores sell ant poison in gel or powder form. If you feel overwhelmed, consider calling your local pest professional.

As always, feel free to give Graduate Pest Solutions a call if the ants are getting the best of you.

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