Simply, to get rid of ants in your garden without harming your plants, try using natural deterrents such as vinegar or peppermint oil or Manual action. Besides these techniques, some most influential and widely used methods are (category-wise)-
Physical Barriers and Repellents:
Natural Deterrents (Non-Toxic):
Bait and Control:
Though there are chemical methods to deter ants these naturally effective methods benefit your garden as well without harming them.
Let’s discuss the above methods in detail on how to implement them and how effective it is.
Gardeners seeking to eradicate ants without harming plants can begin by identifying the specific ant species in their garden.
This can be done through observation and recognizing common ant species known to inhabit gardens:
|Ant Species||Garden-Friendly Description|
|Argentine Ants||Tend to protect aphids; considered garden-friendly.|
|Pavement Ants||Generally garden-friendly; not directly plant-harming but can be a nuisance.|
|Carpenter Ants||Not garden-friendly; can damage garden structures.|
|Odorous House Ants||Can be a nuisance, potentially not garden-friendly depending on infestation.|
|Fire Ants||Not garden-friendly; harm plants and their painful bites are a concern for humans.|
The proper management of getting rid of ants must be done natural way. From physical barriers to natural, or biological and bait control, all methods can be effective as per garden requirements.
When your task is hand, tools, or components then physical barriers and repellents are effective methods. In fact, the majority of gardeners choose these methods to eradicate the ants from the garden. Let’s know some of them-
The Manual method specifically refers to taking away or pushing ants from the garden by using hand picking or sweeping.
It should be done when the ant infestation in the garden is initial stages. If you see ants start moving a place in your garden, then use other natural methods.
But initially, some ants may easily pick up and be thrown away from the garden area.
You can use the sweeping device, thin cloth, or water spray around the garden.
When you find that the ants are moving in a constant place, you can make a barrier by using natural repellents. Such as curry powder, baby powder, or hot pepper flecks.
Simply crush the pepper flesh as silty type and make a thin line around the place where the ants are moving parts.
You must use this underneath covering because without shade this powdery line will disappear due to rain splash, flog, or dew.
This is one con of this method, that it may need to be applied every day if the powder line disappears.
Though extreme boiling water will kill the ants directly if the temperature is near about 70 degrees, this will get out of the ants easily.
You may see, what the ants are doing, but with this boiling water, their pheromone spreads will minimize and ultimately decrease the ant population in your garden.
It’s a risk, if you don’t want to kill them. Because water temperature fluctuation can kill the ants easily.
This is an important reduction process of ants without killing them in the garden. Most of the methods here are organic and easy to do-
Peppermint is a versatile element for getting rid of different rodent pests to mini pests. Generally mint consists of pulegone, which is a naturally-occurring pesticide.
Besides these, some other components destroy (Menthol, menthone, cineol) the ant’s body and work as proactive measures.
When you use this oil on the ants, it masks the pheromone’s strong smell and confuses them to get away from the place where the oil is sprayed.
By the way, peppermint is naturally an irritant for ants. So using this property eventually helps you to decrease the ant population.
Here are some ways to use peppermint oil to get rid of ants:
To get the maximum benefit in your garden, you should examine 3 ways of using the Cayenne Pepper.
It is also a natural repellent like essential oils, but the thing is that with Cayenne you can apply multiple applications.
The first method is to make a spray of cayenne pepper powder with equal parts of water. Put it on a bottle and spray it over the area where the ants freely move.
Next, you can crush the pepper and spread some cayenne in a line around the garden.
Finally, you can get rid of ants by sprinkling cayenne pepper around the perimeter of your garden or directly on their trails.
Naturally orange peels have some organic chemical compounds that are toxic to fungi (Lepiotaceae), which ants feed on.
They are pretty addicted to these fungi, so If ants can’t find fungi, they will look for it elsewhere. That why if you use orange peels it will indirectly hamper the ants sure.
Ways to use orange peels to get rid of ants:
N.B: Orange peels also contain a chemical called D-Limonene, which acts as a natural ant deterrent. D-Limonene kills ants by destroying the wax coating on their respiratory system
This product is another multi-purpose repellent because it effectively deter most rodent pest along with insects and ants.
I will explain, how? The smell of coffee grounds repels ants, so they will look for a less caffeinated place to hang out.
To reduce the ants use the spraying techniques or sprinkle the coffee grounds in your garden perimeter.
To deter pests, place a shallow bowl of damp coffee grounds on your garden counter or around your home’s foundation, especially if you have a structure or garden-raised beds.
Besides as a bonus, coffee grounds may also help prevent snails and slugs from making your plants and flowers a home.
A 1-2% caffeine solution will kill snails, while coffee grounds will form a barrier that snails do not like to cross
So, it’s an intelligent choice if you have easy access to coffee grounds.
READ ALSO: How to Keep Iguanas Out of Your Vegetable Garden? ( Top 10 Proven Methods)
Its a such kind of soaps without harming plants and grass. But effective against the ants population. To use the dawn dish soap, you should mix it with some components for maximum benefit.
You can mix Dawn with boiling or cold water.
Here are different ways to use Dawn dish soap to kill ants:
After the process is completed shake it before each use. After doing the process spray over the ants and see the results.
It will stick to the ants and suffocate them.
This spray can also be used to kill ants on plants.
For the highest effectiveness, you can also try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to the mixture.
Naturally, ants don’t like to cross over the chalk powder ( calcium carbonate) line because it disrupts their scent trail.
If you want an experiment you can draw circles and lines on the ground around areas where you want to stop ants from entering.
This is a temporary solution, but it can stop ants in their tracks.
Bait is a poisoned or toxic lure used to exterminate pests like ants. It can perfectly use to get rid of ants in garden without killing plants. Here is how-
Borax is a substance that disrupts ants’ digestive systems, eventually causing harm to them.
To keep ants out of your vegetable garden, mix borax and sugar to form a gel. Make it by mixing half a cup of sugar, one and a half tablespoons of Borax, and one and a half cups of warm water together.
Then drop small pieces of the gel near the ant nest and along the ant trails.
This is a proven method, so if your garden faces too many problems use this safe technique without hesitation.
But if you’re looking for readymade gel, you can find it online today- here are some names-
Biological control is a method of pest control that uses natural enemies to reduce pest populations. These natural enemies can be parasites, pathogens, predators, antagonists, or competitors.
For easy understanding here is the most effective way to get rid of ants in the garden-
Some pests and insects are natural enemies of ants, try to figure out that and introduce them in your garden. From ancient times, some insects peacefully deter ants from the garden. These consist of-
But keep in mind, choose accordingly your main crops, If you grow crops that are prone to some insects mentioned in that list hen avoid those and introduce others.
Suppose ladybug beetles are good for tomato plants but some “bright” ladybugs are toxic to animals.
But in general, most of the mentioned insects are beneficial for the deterioration of ants in the garden.
Read: How to Keep Chipmunks Out of Garden?
Mulching is a versatile and always good option for the garden and crops. In this case, if you can use a layer of 2 to 5-inch mulching in your garden, then the ants will deter naturally.
But to do that always keep mulch at least 6 inches away from the base of plants and structures.
Some plant-based wood chips are good for mulch that naturally deter the ants from the plant’s basement.
However, the western red cedar mulch is known to repel ants because it contains chemicals that can repel termites, cockroaches, moths, and some ant species.
Please turn mulch every couple of weeks to keep moisture retention low and discourage nest building.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a type of silica that is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are tiny organisms that lived in the ocean millions of years ago.
DE is a powder that is very abrasive and can be used to deter ants in gardens.
When ants walk through DE, it sticks to their exoskeletons and causes them to become dehydrated.
The ants will eventually die from dehydration.
DE is a safe and effective way to control ants, and it is also non-toxic to humans and pets.
To apply DE, you can follow several way:
White vinegar is a natural and effective way to keep ants away from your garden.
The vinegar smell is repulsive to ants, so they will avoid areas where it is present.
To use white vinegar as an ant repellent, mix equal 50/50 parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle.
Spray the solution around your garden, on ant hills, or directly on ants.
You can also wipe ants away with a wet paper towel that has been dipped in vinegar.
White vinegar is safe to use around plants and will not harm them.
It is also a non-toxic and affordable way to keep ants away.
To effectively eliminate ants from your garden bed, several steps can be taken.
Firstly, it’s essential to remove any food sources that may attract them and maintain a clean garden environment.
Next, consider employing natural remedies such as vinegar, cinnamon, or citrus peels, as these can act as deterrents to ants.
Creating barriers using substances like diatomaceous earth or coffee grounds can also help prevent ant infiltration.
If the ant issue persists despite your efforts, it might be worthwhile to explore ant baits or seek assistance from professional pest control services for a comprehensive solution.
Yes, vinegar can effectively destroy ants in your garden. Its natural eradication process will impact negatively the ants’ bodies. Thus the chemical process with low PH (about 2.4 ) suffocates them and ultimately disrupts them and goes away from the sprayed place.
Soapy water can be an effective way to kill ants on plants. It inhibits the gaseous exchange by nature and sprouts the skin of ants and finally eradicates them.
So, if you follow the above techniques and maintain the process, You can get rid of ants in the garden without killing plants.
To keep ants out of your garden without harming your plants:
Enjoy a thriving, ant-free garden.
I am a graduate of Bangladesh Agricultural University, where I delved into various agricultural disciplines, equipping me with a profound understanding of agriculture. Beyond academics, I have hands-on experience in gardening and crop cultivation. My passion is to embrace sustainable farming and horticulture. With a BSc in Agriculture, I am dedicated to promoting environmentally conscious and efficient agrarian practices.
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Agriculture (Hons.)
Master of Science. (Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security ) (MS)
Bangladesh Agricultural University