Ants, they are everywhere…. in the house, in the lawn, and in your garden. They are found on every continent, except Antarctica. Being a gardening website, we will focus on controlling ants in the garden. But, you may find that some of the organic ant controls are effective around the home, too.
As gardeners, we worry about all kinds of ants in our plants. Carpenter ants, which chew wood, are of most concern to homeowners. Campers and hikers are most concerned with fire ants, as they bite.
While ants cause anxiety among gardeners, most species are not harmful to plants. They are in and on plants in search of nectar from the flowers. The leaf miner ant is one of the few that harm vegetation. Ants can also be beneficial, acting as pollinators, as they go from flower to flower.
Ants are social creatures, living together in colonies. The entryway to an ant colony, are telltale ant hills. A colony consists of worker ants, males, and the queen.
Chemical controls may be okay for the home, yard, or even the flower garden. But, vegetable gardeners usually prefer to keep the chemicals out of the food they ultimately eat.
Here are some organic controls for garden ants:
Check for the presence of aphids. Ants are attracted to the sweet secretions of aphids.
Apply diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of the garden to repel them
Mix 1 part sugar and one part borax together. Sprinkle it around. They digest the borax and die, often bringing it back to the nest.
Sprinkle cornmeal, They digest it and die.
Mix 3 parts vinegar and one part water. Spray it on and around plants to repel ants.
Tansy and mint repels ants. Grow these plants, or mix it in a spray.
Sprinkle Epsom salts or mix in a spray.
Baby powder repels them.
Coffee grounds are a natural ant repellent.
There are a wide variety of chemical sprays that are very effective. Perhaps the best known to homeowners is Ortho’s Home Defense, which can be used indoors or out. Indoors, homeowners also use ant traps or ant buttons. The ants take the bait from the trap and bring it back to the nest, hopefully feeding it to the queen.
Chemical lawn insect controls are effective against a wide variety of insects, including ants.
Most chemical garden insect controls are also effective.
Looking for a more environmentally safe ant deterrent?
Cornmeal is an organically effective ant control
Cinnamon is another organic natural ant control. It will not kill the ants, but they will avoid it, or go around it. Cinnamon oil works best. Try it in your kitchen pantry and cupboards.