0
points
Ant control for vegetable garden

General   

I have been noticing that I have a few more ants in my garden this year than I did in previous years. I know that they won't do much harm to my fruit and veg but they are really annoying and I don't like them crawling on my kids when they help me tend the plants. Is there anything I can do to control them without using nasty chemicals and killing off beneficials?


Posted by: D. Thompson (2 points) D. Thompson
Posted: May 31, 2013




Answers

2
points
Ants can be a problem for food plants when they tend aphids and other insects feeding on plants. The ants can increase the numbers of these injurious pests which they protect. In return the ants get sugar that the aphids and other insects release as a byproduct of their feeding on plant tissue.

So, do check to see if you have aphids on your food plants and ant tending them.

Other ants can be beneficial in your garden as they can keep pests down by predation.

Controlling ants without chemicals is very hard. They have large populous colonies. In the Southern USA where fire ants are common hot water is used to kill ants (pour it into the mounds).


Posted by: David Hughes (22 points) David Hughes
Posted: May 31, 2013




2
points
In my gardens, ants like dry areas and move away from moister areas. In midsummer I used to see lots of ants in my compost bins, which meant they were too dry. If I wanted to harvest my compost, I'd water it and then come back the next day.

When I water my garden, I sometimes see ants scurrying away, which indicates that the garden had gotten quite dry. If I want to be working in a part of the garden and I see lots of ants, I water it and come back to that area in half an hour.

Other than that, I don't control ants. I plant lots of plants for pollinators and beneficial insects, so that they will stay around and eat the aphids. Ants provide many ecological services, including eating flea eggs. The book Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens by Eric Grissell is a good resource.


Posted by: Tanya in the Garden (128 points) Tanya in the Garden
Posted: May 31, 2013




2
points
I know most folks say ants in the vegetable garden are harmless / beneficial, but I've found that they can be downright destructive. I've had garden ants chew through the base of and remove entire rows of young beets, kale, and lettuce, clearing areas for some reason that must make sense if you're an ant... but is beyond frustrating if you're a gardener. :D

I've also had them sift through newly planted beds and delightedly carry off all the seed.

As far as control, I go with borax mixed with sugar and water to form a paste, put out on a plate where I tend to see the offenders. The ants carry the borax back into the nest along with the sugar, and when it gets ingested there it kills off the colony. Borax is quite safe for humans, especially in smaller quantities, and is non-synthetic.

Good luck!


Posted by: Naomi Schoenfeld (3 points) Naomi Schoenfeld
Posted: June 6, 2013




1
point
Ants HATE cinnamon! Sprinkle it onto small plates or containers and they usually will go away. In the house I sprinkle a fine line around the area they seem to be coming in from. I have used this in the garden and in the house. It is a REPELLANT, not an eradicator. Borax is also very good mixed with sugar. Because it has a delayed "killing" effect, the (very smart) ants don't learn what it is that killed the other ants and will continue to eat it.


Posted by: Jean (7 points) Jean
Posted: June 6, 2013




0
points
Wish I had ants in the garden they good for getting rid of pests and then they wouldn't invade my house and have continuous lines of them marching across my kitchen work tops and floor.. Now the weather has warmed up they have finally left us alone oh for a long hot summer


Posted by: cathy barker (3 points) cathy barker
Posted: May 31, 2013




You need to log in if you'd like to add an answer or comment.