How to prevent ants from taking over the lawn?
The massive and uncontrolled presence of ants represents a great threat to your garden. These insects are capable of causing considerable damages, such as stealing seeds, eating fruit pulp, and bringing aphids to plants. However, there is a way to prevent ants from destroying your garden. In this article, we tell you what are the best ways to reduce and control the proliferation of these insects on your lawn.
Why does my yard have so many ants?
There are various types of ants and they come in all sizes, but almost all build anthills where they can settle. These insects build their nests under the ground or in the hollows of trees, digging the soft part of plants. This is why yards have so many ants; it is the perfect place to settle their colony of ants.
The nests are where these social insects accumulate and process supplies to feed themselves and proliferate. Anthills are connected by a network of tunnels that run underground and are recurring places where worker ants enter and leave.
It can be difficult to notice this type of activity from the outside since the nests are usually located at a fairly deep distance. However, if you pay attention, you may notice some lumps at the entrances and ants coming and going. In the case of the burrows that are formed in the trees, it is easier to notice them, since ants climb to get in them.
Another reason that attracts ants to lawns is honeydew. This is the substance that aphids release from plants as they pass over leaves and stems. Its sugary taste attracts bees, wasps, and ants, which attack plants to feed themselves in abundance. Ants that perch in trees are as dangerous to your garden as those that make their burrows in the ground. This is why, once you identify the nests, you must take immediate action to eliminate them.
Can ants destroy a lawn?
It is important to understand the serious and irreversible damage that ants can inflict on your lawn. Especially in the spring and summer months, there is a very high danger that ants will massively infest the lawn, creating several anthills and pillaging your plants, shrubs, and trees, as well as in orchards.
Ants pose a direct threat to fruit trees in particular, but they can also, in a less direct way, influence the destruction of all other plants. Ants usually attack the fruits by feeding on the pulp and causing considerable damage due to their collective action. Since they are social insects that move in herds, they manage to attack fruit trees in large masses and, consequently, have a considerable impact on them.
On the other hand, ants are also naturally attracted to sweet-tasting substances produced by many insects, such as aphids. Another damage that ants can do to your lawn is that they are capable of creating grooves in the soil that, if they dig near the roots, can block the circulation of water and nutrients found in the soil. By doing so, they can disrupt the livelihoods that plants and trees feed on.
How do I get rid of ants in my lawn without killing the grass?
If you have noticed multiple colonies of ants settling, you are probably asking yourself, “How do I get rid of ants in my lawn without killing the grass?” Here are two preliminary options at your disposal:
- Fragrant plants
- Move the colony of ants
Some smells and aromas drive ants away and are natural methods of controlling ants in your lawn. This can be a good solution to prevent ants from taking over your lawn and forcing them to move elsewhere.
To do this, you have to plant very fragrant plants, like lavender or jasmine. But geraniums, marjoram plants, wormwood, and tansy are also very effective. You just have to plant them on the edges of the lawn for a beautiful floral effect and to eliminate ants from the lawn.
Move the colony of ants
Another very simple way to keep ants away, without using any treatment and without causing damage to your lawn is to locate the anthill and physically move it. If you cannot locate the anthill or if it is in a place that is difficult to access, you can also try to attract the ants at one point. For example, by putting a terracotta pot upside down to heat the soil and create the ideal environment for an ant hill.
What can I do about anthills on my lawn?
Deep plowing is one of the most traditional ways to get rid of ant hills on a lawn. However, if you dig deep where the grass is, as good as it may be for a garden or a seasonal crop, it can also end up destroying the roots of the seedlings that make the blades of grass sprout. There are several alternatives to treat this problem.
10 best ways to get rid of ants in your lawn
The 10 best ways to get rid of ants in your lawn:
- Powdered sugar, baking soda, and dry yeast
- Borax acid
- Mix of dishwashing liquid and oil
- Cinnamon and coffee
- Boiling water
- Tomato leaves
- Hiring experts in lawn maintenance
Have you identified a dangerous pest that is putting the health of your lawn at risk? These are the best ways for controlling ant invasions in your lawn!
1. Powdered sugar, baking soda, and dry yeast
If ants have invaded your lawn, you can eliminate them at critical points by spreading a mixture of baking soda, powdered sugar, and dry yeast which should be 1/3 of each part. The mixture has to be sprinkled in the most frequented spots by ants. Powdered sugar attracts them, while baking soda and yeast kill them.
Since ants produce an acidic substance to defend themselves, the mixture of baking soda with powdered sugar, placed at strategic points will cause the ants to succumb after a while. In addition to feeding on this mixture, if the ants transport it to the anthill, the other ants, including the queen, will probably feed on it and die. Make sure that this compound does not come into contact with water, otherwise it will cease to be effective. Consider waiting for the morning dew to evaporate.
Did you know that ants are particularly sensitive to the smell of vinegar? A good strategy to control pests and scare ants away is to spray a solution of vinegar and drops of eucalyptus essential oil near the areas where these social insects usually congregate.
3. Borax acid
Borax (sodium borate or sodium tetraborate decahydrate) is a powdery boron compound that dissolves easily in water and dries if left exposed to air. It is commonly used for cleaning and is poisonous to ants, but it is not toxic to humans. To eliminate the colony of ants with this method, you just have to prepare some baits and sprinkle the powder on the insects. When the ants are exposed to the borax, they will carry it to the anthill, poisoning the entire colony.
To make the compound, you must mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 of borax and spread the mixture on a piece of cardboard or plastic to place in the areas that ants frequent. The poison, once transported to the anthill, will slowly kill all the ants. It is advisable to place these baits at night when the ants are out in search of food.
4. Mix of dishwashing liquid and oil
You may have already heard about the magical characteristics of dish soap to kill insects on your lawn. You must prepare 1 liter of water, add half a teaspoon of dish soap and the same amount of cooking oil, which could be sunflower oil. Then, you have to stir everything and when it is mixed, pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Finally, you need to spray this mixture outside and then pour the rest into the ant nest.
If you spread cucumber peels on the lawn or next to the hotspots of ants, you will be effectively scaring them away. This is a very effective strategy because ants have a particular aversion to this vegetable.
6. Cinnamon and coffee
This is one of the most popular natural methods for controlling ants in your garden. You can create a barrier next to the entry points of the ants in your lawn by sprinkling coffee beans, cinnamon and a thread dipped in lemon juice that serves to demarcate the area.
7. Boiling water
This is a natural remedy that can be very useful to your lawn’s health. For it to be effective, you need to find as many entrances to the nest as possible and pour hot water inside. You may have to repeat it a few times.
However, if the nest is located too close to the plants, the boiling water could destroy them. Alternatively, you can use cold water. In this case, you will not kill the ants but will moisten the area, which will serve to scare away the parasites.
Although it may surprise you, dried oregano prevents ants from getting too cozy in your backyard. For this natural method to be effective, it is important to sprinkle the areas particularly affected by the ant infestation. However, you must replace it frequently.
9. Tomato leaves
For this eco-friendly natural method to work, you must take a handful of tomato leaves and boil them in a liter of water. Then, you have to let them infuse for half an hour and filter them. This solution, once cooled, is very useful and effective to prevent ants from your lawn, since the strong smell of boiled tomato leaves disgusts them and keeps them away.
As we mentioned before, to prevent ant infestation in your garden, it is also advisable to plant marjoram, tansy, or lavender plants. These aromatic plants give off a strong smell that ants despise.
10. Hire experts in lawn maintenance
The techniques we have reviewed are capable of eliminating all types of ants. However, if you see that the colony of ants appears harder to eradicate than expected, you have to rely on professionals. Experts will assess the extent of the invasion, and intervene with an effective action plan to eradicate ants in your lawn. EagleYard has offered peace of mind and personalized lawn treatment to all its customers since 1987.