How To Get Rid Of Ants In Your Lawn
Ants have significant contributions in maintaining an ecosystem and are generally considered harmless. But an uncontrolled population can turn out to be quite a nuisance and wreak havoc, ultimately being harmful to surrounding living organisms. Once the ant colony is thriving in your yard, they eventually tend to take over neighboring areas, like the pavement or your home. So, in this article we have compiled some popular and tested remedies, that can help you to get rid of the ants in your lawn for good.
Ant hills can pose a threat to your lawn mowers or other gardening equipment, as bits of a hill or the critters themselves can eventually end up inside the engine of any machine. Moreover, if you have kids or pets in your household, it becomes even more imperative to get rid of these ants, since one accidental step against a hill can launch an unexpected and painful attack within seconds. So, it becomes inevitable to get rid of these critters when they start building their hills.
Besides the above mentioned issues, ant hills are rather unsightly and can cause damage to the grass roots. These mounds are not mere pockets in the ground; instead, they comprise complex mazes with multiple tunnels and chambers, continuing deep underneath the soil.
Believe it or not, the image on the right shows one such ant hill. The structure is made of cast aluminum, i.e. molten aluminum is poured inside a nest, which solidifies as it cools down over time and retains the shape of the interior of an ant hill.
Beneath a simple dune that we can see on the surface, lies this convoluted series of channels and cells, housing millions of ants. On average, an ant hill can be as much as 3 feet deep and 4 feet wide. Imagine how ginormous one colony could become over time.
How to get rid of ants naturally
We understand the need to solve this problem 'naturally' and the preference of organic solutions over chemical based options. This is of vital importance if your household has kids, pets and if your family members are frequent visitors of the yard. Therefore, we put together this list of remedies that we have tried and tested personally, out of several viable options.
1. Boiling water
Starting with the simplest method, simply pour boiling water wherever the the ant population is highest, including the hills. Although this solution might not relieve you from the problem permanently, but regular applications will certainly alleviate the issue. Not to mention, this is the easiest way which you can try at practically no cost.
2. Soap Water / vinegar spray
Turning it up a notch, mixing soap or vinegar with water can bolster your attack. This remedy is particularly well suited for live growths in your lawn. Simply mix some dish soap with hot water (around 2 tbsp in 1 gallon water) and pour it inside a hill, or spray it on plants infested by ants. But keep in mind to use this solution on plants only when the temperatures are low, like in the evening. Other wise it could burn the leaves.
Vinegar has quite the reputation as an insect deterrent due to its strong smell. Mixing equal parts of vinegar with water and using this solution in the same way as soap water will give similar results. Both these solutions require frequent applications.
3. Spices with sharp odor
Ants generally prefer sweet smells and leave food trails via which they communicate with each other, along with their pheromones. Spices like cinnamon, cloves, chili, pepper and likewise can disrupt this trail of smell. Crush either spice, or a combination of spices, into a fine powder and leave them in high concentrations around the problem areas of your lawn. You can also mix the spice powder with compost when using it around your lawn to avert future colonization. This remedy works as a deterrent and drives the ants away rather than killing them altogether.
4. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring soft, sedimentary rock made of fossilized diatoms - a type of protist. These rocks are crushed into a fine powder and used for different purposes. Diatomaceous earth is so pulverized that the particles can easily enter the ants' exoskeletons and hamper their anatomy, eventually killing them. Simply spread out the powder throughout the yard, concentrating on the populous areas, including the interiors of the nest. Wear a mask while using this product to avoid inhalation.
5. Friendly nematodes
Nematodes are roundworms that can repel not only ants but also flies, moths, fleas and beetles. The worms can enter the insects' bodies and release bacteria from their digestive system, causing death of its host within 48 hours. But this solution is applicable to areas with temperature of up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit and in soils with temperature from 45 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to get rid of ants without killing the grass
The remedies we mentioned above are all natural and harmless towards your grass. But if you are looking for commercial products that are not toxic for your lawn, you might consider the following items:
- Orange Guard Water Based Indoor/Outdoor Pest Control Spray
- ECO Defense Home Pest Control Spray
- EcoSmart Organic Home Pest Control
These products are made of natural, organic ingredients and are safe for plants and grass. Although they claim to be safe for pets and children, we would still recommend allowing some time for the product to dry out completely before resuming any outdoor activity in the yard.
Did you find this article useful? How do you solve this problem? Let us know in the comments!