Have you noticed small piles of soil on your lawn, or do you have bare patches of turf (usually between April and October)?
Lawns can get damaged from ant infestations which creates mounds of fine soil and increase the number of bare patches of turf. Ants also infest themselves into gaps in garden paths and between paving. Symptoms are often seen at lawn edges as the ants get less disturbance. Whilst unsightly, the soil mounds can usually be brushed away or flattened by passing feet and mowers.
It’s also worth considering that small infestations play an important part of our ecosystem; they help to create aeration in the soil underneath turf which aids in it’s overall health. Ants also feed on other insects and garden creatures which break down and return nutrients into the soil.
Q: What do ants feed on?
A: Ants feed on honeydew and sugary substances such as nectar, small insects and even other ants.
Q: How long does an ant nest survive?
A: Ant nests can exist for many years, with the worker ants excavating the nest, feeding the queen and larvae, and fighting off predators. Each summer new winged forms are produced.
Q: Should I get rid of ants nests?
A: Unless nests are particularly troublesome, ants are best left alone. If a colony is destroyed it is likely that its place will be taken by in-coming queen ants, which take over the territory and establish even more new nests
Q: How can I Prevent Ant Infestation?
A: Ants thrive in sandy conditions, which is why they love living underneath paving and lawns which are already patchy and sandy. So an important step in controlling ants permanently is good lawn health. A lawn in excellent health is highly unlikely to ever be a good host for ants, living between the thatch layer is totally unsuitable for them. So the better our lawns health is and the better it looks, the more uninviting it becomes to ants.
Q: How can I Get Rid of Ants?
A: Biological control is a method which uses natural enemies to combat pests. The predators and parasites are usually specific to certain pests and will not become a nuisance or cause harm to non-target animals. A pathogenic nematode, Steinernema feltiae, is an option for treating ant nests.The microscopic, worm-like nematodes are watered directly into the nests.
Chemical Control through insecticides. There are many ant killing treatments for sale and the best choice is one which is designed for the ants to take back to the nest to kill other ants with, so ensure you are buying the right product.
Finally, an alternative “green” solutions to try:
- Pipe tobacco. Soak the tobacco in water overnight and make a tea with it. Discard the wet tobacco, and use gloves when handling the solution. Pour the liquid over the ant hills and soak them. The ants will die. Find any other hills and fill the holes with glue or baby powder. Use baby powder on any trail of ants you see. Those ants will die as well.
- Another home remedy to kill ants is to mix boric acid and sugar together into a paste, about one tablespoon of boric acid to a cup of sugar. Simply drop pieces of this paste near the hills or anywhere you see ants. They will feed on the poisoned sugar and take it back to their nest.