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In some gardens, ants tirelessly dart around. They conquer the herb bed, vegetable bed or even the compost in droves. Ants are just everywhere. They don't nibble on plants, so they don't seem to pose a threat to them. But that is deceptive. Their massive presence entails considerable disadvantages that only become apparent at second glance. What are the causes and how can we get rid of the insects quickly?
A garden without a single ant will probably never exist anywhere. Basically, these insects are useful creatures that devour countless herbivorous pests. However, when they build their nests in the vegetable patch or compost, their numbers can become a nuisance. What are the reasons why your own garden is so inviting to these creepy crawlies?
Causes of ant nests
There are two decisive factors for the settlement of ant nests in the garden:
- dry earth
- Mildew producing lice
The ant colony builds its nest where the soil is dry most of the time. On the other hand, the excretions of various species of lice serve as food. They don't just look for it, but specifically promote the reproduction of lice so that they can harvest as much of their sticky honeydew as regularly as possible. The lice are, so to speak, the pets of the ants.
Consequences of an ant plague
Although the worker ants do not eat our plants directly, they can damage them indirectly and even contribute to their death. Valuable yields are lost in the vegetable patch and herb patch. There are two reasons why the plants suffer:
- Disturbed root contact due to ant nests in the root area
- Loss of sap by sucking lice
Of course, migratory ant insects are also a disruptive factor for us humans if they constantly cross our paths. It is quite possible that they will even find an entrance into the house. These well-organized insects are unlikely to go away on their own. If you want to get rid of them, you need to get professional help or take action yourself.
unearth ant nest
Individual ants are buzzing all over the garden. Catching them at their busy work and fighting them is not really practical. They are too numerous and too widespread for that. The focus of the fight must therefore be their nest, its
But you have to find the location first. It is not always immediately apparent.
- follow the tracks of the creepy crawlies
- Vegetable beds, herb beds and flower beds are all suitable
- Search lawn and compost
- plant pots can also house an ant colony
- Stone slabs are a good hiding place
These are mainly dry and shady locations where the ant brood is protected from the sun.
get rid of ants
Water plants extensively
Ant colonies like to build their nests in the root area of plants. They churn up the earth with their constant coming and going, even larger cavities can form. The plant roots lose contact with the ground in the truest sense of the word. As a result, the water and nutrient supply is disrupted. If this condition persists for a long time, the plant can wither. Water the plants affected by the ant plague extensively and continuously. This will bring soil back to its roots and allow it to recover. Since these insects do not like a humid environment in the long term, you will also get rid of this annoying people.
Relocate ant nest
Here is a gentle method you can use to get rid of the entire ant colony in one go:
- Put a flower pot filled with wood shavings over the found ant nest. The open side should of course face down. Alternatively, you can place the pot directly on a spotted ant trail.
- Wait about 24 to 48 hours. During this time, the animals move to the pot with their brood.
- Lift the pot slightly to see if the resettlement is complete. You can tell by the numerous dolls that are inside.
- Push a spade or plate under the opening of the pot to prevent the contents from falling out.
- Bring the pot and its contents to a place where the ant colony can no longer disturb you.
tip: The new location should be at least 30 meters away from the old one, otherwise the animals will find their way back.
Use unpleasant smells
Some scents can also be of great help in repelling ant insects. Use the following fragrances, the smell of which this insect population does not like:
- chili powder
- Lavender flowers or lavender oil
- lemon peels
Sprinkle one or more of these fragrant substances liberally on the nests or along ant trails. Always add something. Action must be taken again, especially after rainfall and watering, as water washes out the substances.
tip: Plant manure made from comfrey or stinging nettles and a garlic broth are also suitable for spraying the nests, as their scent also has a repellent effect.
disrupt sense of direction
A few more smells so confuse the ant workers' sense of direction that they can no longer find their way to the nest. The nest is thus cut off from the necessary food supply and cannot survive for long.
- Use vinegar water or a tea tree solution
- Spray nests and access routes with it
- repeat every few days
- do not wet the plants with it
tip: You can set limits for the ant colony with garden lime or chalk. The alkaline substances are a barrier that the insects do not cross during their migration.
use home remedies
If ants are everywhere in the herb or vegetable patch, the use of chemicals is undesirable. This also applies to an ant nest in the compost. In these cases, use the following home remedies:
- baking powder/ baking soda
- stale beer with some honey
- boiling water
The beer mix is poured into a shallow dish and placed near an ant trail. The walls must be vertical so that the animals cannot crawl out. Baking soda only works if the insects come into contact with it and get burned. Dousing the nest with boiling water, on the other hand, is only possible if it is not in the immediate vicinity of a plant.
tip: Mix baking powder with sugar so that it is indirectly eaten by the ants. Only in this way does the agent have the opportunity to develop its effect as desired and kill many ants.
Use natural predators
If the beneficial ants mutate into pests because of their numbers, other beneficial insects can help us to combat them.
Birds, beetles, dragonflies, spiders or toads eat the tiny animals as long as they are in the same garden. They are rarely to be found in a "tidy" garden, whereas a natural garden is attractive on its own.
Attracting these predators quickly and specifically for this purpose is neither easy nor desirable. With the use of nematodes, so-called roundworms, we can get rid of the ant colony much more effectively. You can obtain the tiny little worms easily and inexpensively from specialist garden shops or over the Internet.
Fight lice promptly
The last measure focuses on combating the causes of the spread of ants. Wherever ants crawl around, lice are usually not far away. Identify these food suppliers and initiate appropriate control measures immediately. The lice can be found on the leaves, flowers and stems of almost all garden plants, but also hidden on their roots. If you observe the migration of the ants, they will quickly lead you to the lice.
- Fight lice infestation immediately
- with agents based on neem or rapeseed oil
- alternatively spray with soap solution
- Garlic solution and plant manure are also suitable
- repeat spraying several times
Without lice and their delicious honeydew, the garden loses its original attractiveness to ants. They move on hungry.
Large chemical companies fulfill their self-imposed and extremely profitable mission to cover the earth with chemicals across the board by also offering poison against ants. But does poison really have any place in a herb bed, vegetable bed and compost? In view of the gentle and environmentally friendly alternatives, there is not a single reason for and many against their use in the home garden.
ants in the house
It is not far from the garden to the house. The small insects find a crack everywhere through which they can easily get inside. Individual specimens are undesirable, but they cannot cause too much damage. The situation is different, however, when the entire ant colony settles under the floor. For this reason alone, keep your garden free of ants as far as possible.