Ants are not generally considered as the health risking insects, but they do harm to the health resources and turf in lawns. They disturb the grass-root ecosystem and unsightly mounds.
While kids are playing in the yard, these mounds of ants may cause itching to them by biting over their legs. Not only they disturb the persons and pets but have more adverse effects on the grass’s health. Ant colonies develop the huge labyrinths in the grass root systems that cause the death of the grass and ultimately bare patches.
The major defect caused by the ants is through hills produced in the lawns that are a pure hazard to mower blades and foot travelers. The ultimate disturbance awakens when you will notice that these little insects are damaging the vegetation.
At that point, the grower puts the complete focus to control the ant colonies in the lawn and gardens. The solution comes in the form of two controlling ways i.e. chemical control or natural. Both these methods have their own unique impacts on the ecosystem and controlling speed.
Most growers and gardeners lean towards natural control as chemical control has many harms to ecosystems and livings. Chemical control increases the health risk of kids and pets as they could get directly exposed to chemicals on the lawn. So the majority moves towards naturally controlling these ant mounds.
In natural control, the household ingredients lying at home are used that have no health risk to pets and children. But here comes the only question in mind: “how to get rid of ants in grass naturally?”, because most people do not know natural remedies.
Then I decided to build this guide on natural ways to control ants in the lawn, totally based on personal experience and experiments in my lawn.
In this guide, I explained all the best remedies to control ants that really works for me. Because without proper guidance and knowledge you can not get the desired results and will lose all the vegetation to ant mounds.
Lets gets move to natural remedies,
- 1 Lawn Care and Ant Hills
- 2 How to Get Rid of Ant Colonies in Yard
- 2.1 1. Rake ant mounds
- 2.2 2. Soapy Water
- 2.3 3. Diatomaceous Earth
- 2.4 4. White Vinegar
- 2.5 5. Chili or Cayenne Pepper
- 2.6 6. Cornmeal Deterrent
- 2.7 7. Cinnamon Oil
- 2.8 8. Bait With Borax
- 2.9 9. Borax-Free Bait
- 2.10 10. Baby Powder
- 2.11 11. Salt
- 2.12 12. Citrus Peeling
- 2.13 13. Save Those Coffee Grounds
- 2.14 14. Deterrence
- 3 Cares needs to be taken while controlling ants through natural methods:
- 4 Final Words
Lawn Care and Ant Hills
Ants do not only the lawns and yards through building the mounds and hills by their colonies. However, some of the species of ants do have an interest in ranching and sheltering the mealybugs and aphids, by protecting and assisting them for their daily needs. They do all these acts to keep a local honeydew source.
Honeydew is basically the substances secreted by aphids and mealybugs. It is very delicious to ants. This building relationship in your yard can be intense trouble to ornamentals and veggies. To protect them before a huge loss is by controlling the ant’s population.
Ants prefer to live in the dry and well-drained soil with utmost low traffic. Dwelling ants are not a major problem here, but some species have a habit of undermining the soil surface that is damaging for grassroots. These undermine leaves dead patches in the lawn.
The major problem that comes across the maintenance of the lawn is the ant hills created by ant colonies that cause tripping hazards to mowers and creates difficulty.
To protect the yard from such problems, it is necessary to keep an eye on the insect colonies in the yard. Raking is an excellent solution for destroying the hills and opening up the grass to sunlight. It will scatter the population and reduce hardened mounds. For effective results, raking should be done on a weekly basis from the fall season to summer.
For controlling ant colonies, a lot of chemicals are present in the market that gives excellent results. But these chemicals will surely have some hazards to pets and children, so it is preferred to control the ants naturally.
How to Get Rid of Ant Colonies in Yard
As we know that ants form social communities in a few feet area, but their population has many associated problems. Whenever you find a group on the lawn, steps need to be taken immediately to eradicate these insects.
Killing the ants in the lawn is a tricky business because kids and pets play in yards and any material applied in yards can directly affect them. Natural remedies have minute drawbacks as compared to chemical control.
Natural control of ants includes a lot of home use materials but applied after a little mixing or preparation. It includes the use of a soap water solution near the ant colonies.
The other best natural controls are borax, sugar water spray as bait, and diatomaceous earth. Many other controls are also discussed in the guide, but all these remedies depend on the intensity of infestation.
1. Rake ant mounds
Raking your lawn is the first and best step towards controlling the ants on the lawn. As ants like to stay in dry, sandy soil so if the soil is left undisturbed long enough, these mounds get harder enough to be difficult to remove.
Regular weekly interval raking is the best practice to rake these mounds and spread the dirt around. By continually disturbing the ants’ mounds, closing their tunnels and entrances through raking, they will be less likely to stay.
2. Soapy Water
The use of soapy water is the classic method to control ants. A lot of methods to make soapy water are present. Some call for baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint oil. All of these ingredients have their unique benefits but soap water is eco-friendly and does a fine job.
To prepare the 2% spray solution insecticide through using soap and water, mix 1 tablespoon of soap to 1 quart of water. After mixing them, funnel the solution into a spray bottle. Spray this solution on the visible ant trails and colonies.
Soap solution breakdowns the natural resistance of ants by eliminating the chemical trail used to communicate with other ants.
In case of eliminating the anthills, pour the soapy water solution in the ant mounds and fill them. It will kill the ants completely.
3. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is the food-grade material that is basically the grounded fossilized skeletons of diatoms and microscopic algae. These grains have sharp edges that harm the walking insects over it but no damage to humans.
It not only helps in controlling the ant’s colonies but also helps the plants through supplying nutrients. The ground material is generally mineral-based material, consisting of magnesium, potassium, and calcium, that nourish the grass in the lawn.
Diatomaceous Earth is a low cost natural solution for controlling ants in the lawn. Furthermore, it is safe for kids and pets.
Diatomaceous Earth comes in two forms i.e. food grade and industrial grade. Food grade DE is ok for human consumption and safe around kids and pets. While the industrial grade is used in pool filters and can never be replaced with food-grade DE.
All you need to do is sprinkling the food-grade DE on ant trails and around ant mounds. The best method is to pour the DE into the ant mounds.
By pouring the DE in mounds, they will penetrate through the ant’s waxy layer and absorb their body moisture. In this way, by absorbing the moisture and dehydrating the ants in a few days and leading them to death.
DE helps in controlling a vast type of unwanted pests like bed bugs, fleas and cockroaches.
4. White Vinegar
The application of white vinegar solution is another successful natural method for controlling ants infestation in the lawn.
To prepare vinegar solution, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and spray on the ant-infested areas and trails. The acidic nature of the solution will jam the body functioning of ants and they cannot withstand the acidity.
The other method of using a vinegar solution for controlling ants is by pouring the mixture inside the anthills.
The only drawback of this method is that along with controlling the ants, it also kills the vegetation. It disturbs the habitat on the topsoil so uses this solution quite safely. Make sure to apply it in the ant mounds and hills. Pouring the solution in anthills is the best and safe method.
5. Chili or Cayenne Pepper
Spreading the chili or cayenne pepper powder in the surroundings of ant mounds is the natural method to control their infestation. But the only risk attached to this method is that kids might get in touch with the powder and create health risks.
Ant controlling the efficiency of this natural remedy is high, so many homeowners use the mixture of chili and cayenne pepper with coffee grounds as a repellent. You can safely get benefits from this method by keeping kids and pets away from the application area for some days.
The pepper is a great repellent for insects like ants. Furthermore, the chili and cayenne pepper can also be used as a mixture with water to repel the ants. This mixture can be applied on the ant trails and poured in the ant mounds.
6. Cornmeal Deterrent
Sprinkling a cornmeal deterrent is another approach for repelling the ants. Application of cornmeal is used in lawn yards and also on the surface surroundings of feeders like hummingbird feeders.
Sprinkle the cornmeal around the ant mounds, anthills, and trees or plants. You will notice surprising results from this approach. Reapply it if needed.
7. Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon oil is a pantry item that is commonly available in almost every home. Cinnamon oil is also used for eliminating insects like ants. Using the precise amount of cinnamon oil makes the ants eliminate the area.
It is well known as the natural pest repellent. Mix a few drops of cinnamon oil in the water and pour or spray the solution on the ant trails.
It is the most effective way to repel the pests from infesting in an area. Spraying the solution of cinnamon oil around the ant mounds and hills will make them go.
If cinnamon oil is not available, ground cinnamon or cloves can be used as alternatives. It will not be as efficient but works.
8. Bait With Borax
A mixture of powdered Borax laundry booster and powdered sugar with equal parts does work great for killing the ant’s colonies. It works against roaches too.
Make the mixture of both items and add several spoons of the mixture on the lid and set the lid for ants to find. Sugar present in the mixture will attract the ants and ingest the fatal borax too. The borax will make them dead.
Only care needs to be taken is to keep out of reach of pets and children.
9. Borax-Free Bait
If borax is not available at time, baking soda can be used as the replacement to borax.
Mix the baking soda and powdered sugar in equal parts and pour some mixture on the lid and place near the anthills, mounds, or ant trails. The sugar will attract them and make them ingest the baking soda too.
Baking soda will make them die.
Keep the mixture out of pets and children’s reach.
10. Baby Powder
Another method adopted by creative-minded homeowners for controlling ants is through baby powder. Sprinkling the baby powder on the ant’s places helps to get rid of them in no time.
As ants breathe through pores on their exoskeleton that are known as spiracles. By sprinkling baby powder on the ants, these small pores get clogged by these fine particles and deprive the oxygen intake.
In case the baby powder is not available, baking soda can also be used in a similar way for controlling ants infestation.
The very common pantry item, salt can also be used for eliminating the ant’s colonies. Salt is a strong desiccant material and it dehydrates the ant’s exoskeleton. As a result, ants die through dehydration.
Salt is applied as a spray after making the mixture of salt with water and spraying on the ant trails and holes. The salt solution can also be poured into the anthills.
The only care while spraying the salt solution is to spray an adequate amount, otherwise, the excessive amounts will kill vegetation and plants.
12. Citrus Peeling
It is an interesting approach to eradicate or repel the ant’s colonies from the yard by disturbing their lifestyle. Ants do not like the citrus smell so placing the peels of oranges, grapefruits, and lemon near the ant trails and hills can be a productive approach to repel ants.
Save the peelings of oranges and citrus fruits and dry them. After complete drying, grind them and spread them near the ant’s trails, hills, holes, flower beds, and potted plants.
Put the citrus peel powder on the more traffic areas of ants. A very toxic material to ants is present in the peels, forcing them to look elsewhere for food and repelling them to move forward.
13. Save Those Coffee Grounds
Sprinkling the coffee grounds along the edges of flower beds, raised garden beds and yards is a productive method to create a barrier against the ants.
Find the entry points of ants to your property by following the trails and sprinkle the coffee grounds at the place of entry. Coffee grounds will surely help in controlling the ant’s infestation to much extent.
The only thing to make clear is that coffee grounds just make them move elsewhere, not kill them.
It is the most effective and major approach in controlling the ant’s infestation in yards. In this method, we do the deprivation of ants from their food sources.
Firstly, find that if any ant trails leading towards the compost pile, organic waste, or trash bins then it is the primary and effective step to control the ant mounds.
Move the waste material or bins away from the lawn. This step will strip ants from their food source and eventually make them die.
Cares needs to be taken while controlling ants through natural methods:
These are some useful tips for effective control of ants in yards naturally, while ensuring safety of vegetation. These are:
- Always try to avoid the use of any kind of chemical in the yard. Insecticides seem to be great in controlling or killing the ant mounds but a little mistake in dosage can lead to the killing of vegetation in a short amount of time.
- Never apply the boiling water to the vegetation as it is much too destructive for grass.
- If going to apply the vinegar for ants control in the yard, make sure to apply it just over the ant trails and holes. Otherwise, it will destroy the grass covering the yard.
- Try to avoid or use little use of acetic acid in the yard as it can lead to drying of the top layer of the lawn.
- Don’t use the soap water solution during the peak sun time as it magnifies the sun effects that increase the risks of sun burning and deterioration. The best time is early in the day and when the sun is out.
Controlling the ant mounds in the yard is essential before the destruction of whole vegetation. All the home-based natural remedies to control the ant’s infestation are discussed in the guide.
All the approaches have their unique way to work i.e. killing, repelling, dehydrating. The application methods along with the risks are discussed in a quite beautiful way.
Hi i am Waqar Zafar, a passionate plant pathologist. I have done graduation Plant pathology and animal science. My research papers on pest control and plant health phenomenon published in many journals. Research is not limited to some papers as agriculture and farming is a wide field so looking for suggestions from readers.