Among the common ants that infest sandboxes are the pavement ants. Those ants will dig deep into the soil to make a nest. The worse part is that they can sting your kids as they play in the sand.
To keep ants out of your sandbox, mix 1 liter of white vinegar with 3 liters of warm water and spray it on the sand. Then let it dry under direct sunlight for 1-2 days. Keep food away and change the soil after every 40-60 days depending on how frequently it is used.
A sign of ants in a sandbox includes bites and stings on the children’s legs. Those will be a cluster of red bumps in one area that are itchy and swollen. This shows that the ants have nested in the box and they are protecting their territory.
How to keep ants out of sandbox
A simple way to repel or kill ants in a sandbox is to spread a hand full of cinnamon on the playground soil. After that, you need to ensure that the box is positioned in an area free from ants.
1. Keep food and sweets away
The main attraction of ants to your sandbox is food particles that kids carry to it. Even if you have purified sand in there, ants will still be attracted to it if they can find food. It is advisable to check and regulate what the children carry into the sandbox to keep ants away.
If need be, you can monitor the kids and make some rules when it comes to eating time. They should avoid eating while playing. A simple rule of separating food from sandbox toys and the box, in general, will keep ants away from it.
2. Use play sand
When getting sand to use in a sandbox, avoid non-sifted dirty sand because it will attract ants. Dirty sand is their natural habitat and they will try and nest in it.
While the kids are playing, the ants may feel threatened. Ants bite when they sense danger since that is how they naturally defend themselves. Instead, get play sand that has been purified to remove any unwanted particles that may naturally attract ants.
Advice: The best sand to use in a sandbox is that which is free from dust and silica. Play sand which is also known as table sand will not attract ants because it is always clean and safe for children.
3. Change positioning
Change the sandbox location after every 7 days and avoid keeping it under a shade. Keeping the sandbox in one place for a long time will encourage ants to nest and live under it. They will soon find their way into the box and this is why you should always move it.
Avoid keeping the sandbox over moist grass for a long period of time will attract pavement ants to breed under it. They will make holes on the ground just below the box and once they make a colony, they will crawl around the sandbox looking for food.
4. Avoid moisture
Placing the sand box near a shade or under a tree will keep the sand moist to some level. Ants like moist soil and this is why some of them live around the beach. The moist soil will attract them and they will burrow and settle at the bottom of the sand box.
Always keep the sandbox under direct sunlight so that the rays can kill any unwanted bacteria and keep ants away.
Ants will never stay in hot dry soil that is clean and free from moisture. If it is rainy, keep the box raised and use a waterproof cover to keep the sand dry.
5. Sand box cover
Keeping the sand constantly covered will encourage moisture and this will encourage the growth of mold. A sandbox with mold will attract carpenter ants and they may damage the outer layers especially if they are made of wood.
You should have two types of sandbox covers. One should keep it from rain when it is outside and that means it should be waterproof. The other one should allow free flow of air when the sandbox is kept under a roof during the cold season.
6. Clean sand toys
A toy box comes with several toys like shovels and construction toy vehicles. Those are sometimes smeared with sweets, ice creams, and other sugary snacks that kids like. These toys should also be kept in a clean area that is free from ants.
Ants are very fast at detecting sugar and they will crawl into the sandbox to have a leak. It is therefore advisable to clean those toys as often as possible. Ensure there are no ants hiding in those toys before they are taken into the box.
Diatomaceous earth for ants in sandbox
Diatomaceous earth is known to be one of the best ways to get rid of ants both indoor ad outdoors. However, never use this in a sandbox because it can be toxic to children. There are high chances of kids having the sand in their mouths and they could accidentally ingest it.
It is therefore not safe at all to add Diatomaceous earth into an ant-infested sandbox. Instead, use the above steps to remove the ants. If you do not have time for disinfection or you cannot do it, simply dispose of the infested soil and fill the box with a new one.
After replacing the soil, it is advisable to check the sand box surrounding to ensure there are no ants. You should also relocate the box to a new area because there are high chances of infestation on the old spot.
You can also use baby powder to keep ants away. Simply spread it around the box in case the area has ants. If you must use diatomaceous earth, just spread it as a perimeter around the sandbox to deter them. This will also get rid of worms in the soil that ants feed on.
Avoid the use of industrial or regular soil if possible. Use natural river or beach sand that is free from unwanted organic materials. A clean and safe sandbox should always contain pure natural soil to keep insects and bugs away.