Like all other living organisms, ants depend on food. They are most likely to be found in areas with abundant food supplies. Garden soil is traditionally rich in decomposing waste as most individuals prefer natural means of fertilizing their garden soils. Also, garden soil is generally soft and easy to dig through, making it a good place for ants to establish colonies.
Some ants are good for your garden soil since they burrow into the soil and increase aeration. Ants also increase soil fertility and organic decomposition by feeding on dead leaves and garden insects. However, certain ant species might be destructive if they infest your garden soil in large numbers.
Disposing kitchen waste in gardens to enrich the soil can also attract ants. Some ants in plant roots dig for shade, shelter, and natural temperature regulation when it’s hot. If ants in your garden are a concern for you, it is important to first establish the likely reasons for their infestation, especially in your garden soil.
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How to get rid of ants in garden soil
Getting rid of ants in the garden soil may be easy yet tricky at the same point. People have different considerations when planning to eliminate ants. For instance, one may have concerns about the methods to be used.
There are various ways to eliminate ants from your garden soil, ranging from very hazardous methods to less hazardous ones. The least hazardous methods are natural elimination methods that employ natural means to eliminate or deter ants.
You may also have considerations about whether or not to kill the ants. Eradicating ants from your garden soil includes natural remedies and professional approaches. Depending on your most preferred choice, the following are methods you may use to get rid of ants in the garden soil:
1. Boric Acid
Boric acid is probably one of the most effective ways of eradicating ants in garden soil. The substance kills ants almost instantly the moment they ingest it. When using this substance, mixing it with a considerable amount of sugar to act as bait would be advisable.
Ants cannot be attracted to boric acid unless it contains some sugar. Therefore make a paste of sugar, boric, and some water. Then place the paste in strategic areas where the ants frequent your garden soil.
Notably, moderate boric is rarely harmful and may not affect the plants growing in your garden. This is an environmentally-friendly way to get rid of ants in your garden soil.
2. White Vinegar
White vinegar is an awesome way to get rid of ants, as it does not negatively affect your soil when used in small portions. It can kill an entire colony if poured directly into the nesting area.
The advantage of using white vinegar for ants is that once it mixes with the soil, it leaves an unfavourable environment for the survival of ants. It is also easy to wash away as it easily mixes with water. However, it should be used moderately as too much of it may affect the soil PH.
3. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
This substance is also an excellent way of eradicating ants in soil. To use diatomaceous earth successfully, sprinkle it along the paths ants use to reach their destinations. It is important to note that diatomaceous earth works best in dry areas. Therefore, ensure that your garden soil is dry before sprinkling diatomaceous earth.
Professional methods often involve killing the ants using various agents. In most cases, the professional killing of ants may not always be environmentally friendly and usually requires controlled actions.
4. Ant-Killing Poison
Ant-killing poisons are mostly presented in dust form. They work by being sprinkled around ant colonies and along their paths. Please note that the poison you use will likely alter your garden soil structure and may also harm other organisms that help make your garden soil more fertile and productive.
It may also harm other animals that feed on the dead ants. You must clean your garden soil of dead ants as one way of observing caution following the use of poison to eliminate ants. When using powdered poisons, please apply them on calm days as wind will likely carry the dust poison to unwanted areas, increasing their dangerous effects.
5. Ant-Killing Gel
Compared to dust poisons, anti-killing gel is much safer for use, even on windy days. The substance works in the same way as a boric acid and sugar mixture. Ant-killing gel is usually sweetened to attract ants, which naturally attracted to sweet substances.
The worker ants are responsible for feeding the queen and will carry some of the sweet gel into the nest for it to feed. Most ant-killing gels are relatively safe for use on your garden soil to get rid of ants.
6. Planting Insect-Repellent Plants
The most awesome way to eliminate ants in your garden soil would be to introduce plants with repellent properties against them. For instance, mint and other plants that produce essential oils are good at warding off ants. This intervention will be essential in keeping ants away from your soil and the garden.
Garden soil is not just meant to be left without care. You will most likely have some of your favourite plants in your garden for different reasons that may include fruiting and shade, amongst other reasons. These plants depend on the soil for their growth, and you would wish to maintain the soil quality as one way of preserving your garden.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that are known to devour ants. Introducing nematodes in your garden soil is an excellent natural method of ridding it of ants.
Ants will avoid living near their natural predators. Hence, they will move away from nematode-infested garden soils to seek safer habitation elsewhere. This is one of the best ways to kill ants without killing the plants in a garden or house plants.
Do ants ruin garden soil?
Have you ever wondered about the contributions of ants to your garden soil? Ants are known tunnelling insects that help to aerate your garden soil. Ants establish tunnels under the garden soil to connect their nests to food collection points. Your garden soil needs that aeration to support other living organisms that inhabit the soil.
Tunnelling helps loosen the soil to allow plant roots easy penetration into the soil. Another key contribution of ants to your garden soil is that they carry various decomposable substances in the form of food into the garden soil. This action enriches the garden soil from below. Ants also undergo natural processes like excretion and death.
Ants’ excrements and decomposing dead ants help increase the soil’s fertility. Despite all these contributions, it is notable that certain species of ants ruin garden soil in various ways. For instance, termites are also excellent in tunnelling, but they usually mix garden soil with saliva to form hardened mounds that may not favour other uses like plant growth.
Termite mounds are very unfavourable for your garden, and you might consider eliminating them from your garden. Therefore, it is certain that despite ants being generally helpful in enhancing soil quality, other species might be harmful to your garden soil.