Understanding Fire Ant Behavior
To make sense of treatment options, you must first know what you’re up against. Native U.S. fire ants typically aren’t problems imported fire ants are the real pests behind homeowner woes. These South American natives were accidentally imported in the 1930s, and their natural South American predators don’t exist in the U.S.2 Imported fire ants are aggressive, competitive insects, and traditional ant control products don’t work against them.
Fire ant mounds are often your first sign of problems the expression tip of the iceberg” applies. Mounds seem like centers of activity, but bigger problems lie underground. Fire ants live and work in vast colonies housed in extensive underground tunnels. A single, unchecked colony can house up to 500,000 ants which can mean hundreds of mounds in a single acre of land.2 By the time you see mounds above ground, the colony population has been increasing for months.
Another key trait of fire ants is that they tend to move often and react quickly to disruptions. When a person or animal disturbs a mound, fire ants can attack with burning stings. But their reaction to disturbance also extends below ground. Fire ants can relocate to new lawn areas or even into homes, and start new mounds for new colonies seemingly overnight.2
Cornmeal & Boric Acid
Contrary to popular belief, cornmeal does not kill ants, by exploding them or otherwise. Ants are pretty keen on cornmeal, Spicer says, so spreading too much of it around might worsen your infestation.
You can, however, weaponize cornmeal in your fight against ants by mixing it with boric acid, a cousin to Borax thats available online and at home improvement stores. Mix nine parts cornmeal with one part boric acid, adding a generous helping of soybean oil or peanut butter to create a paste. Place the homemade bait near gaps and crevices, anywhere ants are on the march.
Like borax , any bait containing boric acid should be kept away from kids and animals.
Olive Oil And Dishwashing Liquid
Mixing dishwashing liquid with olive oil and spraying the pests with it may also give good results. The mixture penetrates the insects exoskeleton suffocating it to death.
Still, this method has some disadvantages. It takes a while to work, and if you use too concentrated detergent, you may end up bleaching your lawn or making it faded.
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Tip # 0: Using Lemon And Water:
Lemon sap can work as vinegar. By using lemon sap, the ants will be removed from the grasses or plants naturally. The recipe is: squeeze
Understand How Ants Live
Whether you’re dealing with ants indoors or out, it’s best to eliminate the ant nest versus simply repelling ants. Each ant colony can contain hundreds or thousands of members. Left alone, ant colonies multiply, and a small problem can become a nightmare pretty quickly.
Outdoors, it’s easy to spot an anthill in the lawn or on the pavement. The part of the anthill you see is just the tip of the ant colony iceberg. Colonies often extend 2′ to 3′ beneath the surface mound and another 2′ to 4′ around it. Indoors, it’s not easy to spot the nest, because ants tend to hide beneath floors, in walls or between cabinets.
Each ant colony includes at least one queen and worker ants. The colony survives as long as the queen lives. Whatever tactic you embrace to get rid of ants, aim to kill the queen. If your treatment fails and the queen lives, the colony can splinter and migrate, forming new colonies. If you only repel ants, they may exit one area, but will likely turn up somewhere else.
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Types Of Ants That Can Damage Your Yard
Ants are annoying inside of your home, and even when theyre outdoors, ants can damage your yard. Field ants, farming ants, and army ants can all damage your grass if the situation is left untreated.
Field ants are not a specific species of ant. Rather, the term field ants refers to various species of ants that like to live in lawns and fields.
What They Look LikeField ants can vary a lot in appearance since they encompass a variety of different species. Field ants are usually about a fourth of an inch long, and they vary in color, from red to black to brown. Field ants are the type of ants most people think of when they picture ants.
How They Damage Your YardField ants live inside of mounds. These mounds often start underground but then push up the soil to create visible mounds in your yard. These mounds are large, spanning up to two feet.Field ants mounds damage the grass. They destroy the grasss root structures, causing brown spots to develop in the greenery. Ant mounds can also make the surface of your grass uneven and tougher to mow.
How to Treat Field AntsField ants can live for years, so it is important to get them out of your yard. Applying insecticide directly to their mounds is the most effective means to kill field ants. If you are uncomfortable doing this on your own, our ant control experts at Daves Pest Control would be happy to help. You can contact our pest control team here.
Are Ants Good For My Lawn
In some ways, ants can actually be beneficial to your lawn. Ants will also eat other insects, both dead and alive. The insects they will eat alive include smaller bugs such as mites, fleas and termites. When they consume dead insects for protein, they cut down on the food supply for other lawn pests.
Moreover, can ants ruin a lawn?
Ants are not generally considered dangerous pests, but they can pose significant health and cosmetic damage to turf grass. Controlling ants in the lawn becomes important where their hill building causes root damage to grass and unsightly mounds.
One may also ask, how do I get rid of ants in my lawn? Control
People also ask, how do I get rid of ants in my lawn without killing the grass?
Use Diatomaceous EarthThese don’t just kills ants and other insects they make your greens grow better. To kill ants without killing grass, dust this powder on your lawn. Sprinkle it into ant-infested areas. You can also put it around plants to protect them from ant invaders.
Why are ants so bad in my yard?
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Which Ants Do You Have Types Of Ants To Look For
Understanding the type of ant you are dealing with is essential.
Many common species are susceptible to ant killers. But a few are exceptionally hardy and require specially formulated products to eradicate them.
So you need to know the species of ants in your lawn, before you can tackle and get rid of them.
Here are the common types of ant you may encounter in your yard and on your lawn:
Cayenne Can Kill Ants
Cayenne is a potent agent against insects but will not harm grass. Get a whisk and mix three tablespoons of cayenne pepper sauce with 1 quart of water and ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a bowl. Put this mixture in a spray bottle.
Locate the ant nest and spray generous amounts of this mixture. You can also pour some of it into the nest. The capsicum element in the cayenne sauce and the soap components are deadly to ants and these will cause their extermination.
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Home Made Ant Killers Vs Professional Products
If you want to completely get rid of the ants in your lawn you need to target the source. In other words, the nest.
There are a few ways to kill ants nests which include home remedies and specific ant killers. Home remedies have their drawbacks and Id recommend you use a proper ant killer but in the interest of being thorough, Ill cover both.
Nematodes For Ant Control
Consider using nematodes to clear away the pests. Ants hate the idea of having their predators living close by and will move the nest to protect the colony. The parasitic nematode, Steinernema feltiae, can be used as a non-chemical control for black, red and yellow ants. Safe to children, pets and wildlife.
You just apply to moist soil when the soil temperature is above 5ºC and ensure the soil does not dry out for at least two weeks after applying nematodes. Nematodes are capable of surviving the odd frost so dont worry if the temperature falls after you have applied them.
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Dealing With Ant Mounds
But that doesnt mean those mounds do nothing to your turf.
As ants build those mounds, they can smother those warm-season grasses that dont tolerate shade well, Bachman says.
Those fire ants can make some pretty impressive mounds, he says. Im always amazed driving down the highway.
You might end up with some spots in your lawn, but for the most part the ant mounds wont kill the grass, he says.
In his article, Lewis writes that to avoid that mound damage, simply rake away the hill as you notice it.
You can also hit it with the garden hose and wash it away.
Chemical Methods Of Killing Ants In Your Lawn
Despite being environmentally friendly, most natural methods take time to eliminate the ants in your lawn. The natural components used in these methods are not as lethal in destroying ants compared to using chemicals. Therefore, if you need instant results, you can turn to the chemical treatments discussed below.
Using Ant Hill Killer Treatments
Applying ant killer treatments is one way of killing antsoutdoors if youve numerous ant hills within your home. Although, you should bevery careful and wear protective clothing when applying this treatment becausethis technique involves using chemicals that may harm you if not handledproperly. There are two main types of ant killer treatments. They include:
- Anthill killer gels.
- Anthill killer poison
Anthill killer gels
Most garden centers sell an ant poison that comes in gel form. It works the same way as food-grade diatomaceous earth. Ants are attracted to this sweet gel, which is carried into the ant nest for the queen and her colony to feast upon. Despite being poisonous, the gel is environmentally friendly and doesnt affect your garden or lawn.
Anthill killer poison.
Ant killer poisons are mostly available in powder form. These forms of ant poison are best used on anthills since they affect plants and may alter the soil composition due to their toxicity. You should make the application into the nests after digging them open.
Using Ant Bait Stations
Applying Insecticides to Your Lawn
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Diatomaceous Earth Can Also Kill Ants But Is Harmless To Grass
Diatomaceous earth is a substance that looks like talcum powder. It is an insecticide that is made of diatoms, an algae species that are commonly found in open water. The insect repellent made from this substance are sourced from these water plants, therefore they are natural and harmless to grass and other plants.
Diatomaceous earth is basically composed of minerals. It contains calcium, iron, silicon, sodium, magnesium and some trace minerals. Therefore it can fertilize the ground aside from exterminating the ants.
Get some diatomaceous earth and dust or spread it out on the grass. Sprinkle a generous amount of it in areas that are infested with ants. Place it around plants so that they wont be invaded by ants.
When ants ingest diatomaceous earth, they will be dehydrated and will soon die. The sharp particles of this substance will cut through their waxy layers and penetrate their body. Once inside, this substance will absorb their body moisture which will then lead to their slow death.
But dont just buy any diatomaceous earth. Be sure that what you are using is the Food Grade type. The other type is harmful to grass because it is composed of different chemicals.
Complete Ant Bait Kit
While the maxforce fleet is a powerful bait, it is limited to only ants interested in carbohydrate portions. The complete ant bait kit covers these differences by providing carbohydrate and protein-based baits, so no ant escapes. They are also indoor solutions you can use inside your house.
This complete kit consists of advion ant gel which is carbohydrate-based, and maxforce complete bait, which is protein-based. The two, working in tandem, will rid your garden of ants in a short time. To apply them, squeeze out the advion gel on any surface around ant routes. Sprinkle the maxforce granules around the advion gel. Get your complete ant bait kithere.
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Destroy Your Lawn And Garden
Ants are opportunistic omnivores. If you havent treated your garden, ant activity can decimate it in a matter of days.
Farming ants, one of the most common species, secrete hormones from their exoskeletons to attract their prey. This prey includes aphids and other small insects. So what started as a farming ant infestation in your garden will become an aphid infestation as well.
Field ants create massive mounds that burst above the ground. Not only are these mounds unsightly, but they can also cause real damage to your yard. The field ants inside them will feed on your grass and will dig holes in the earth to construct their mound.
To make matters worse, a colony that begins as a tiny anthill will grow and multiply at a rapid rate, and eventually wreck the home and garden youve worked so hard to maintain.
Professional Ant Killing Products
For the most reliable, quickest results, choose a product that is specifically designed for killing ants.
I have also found there is no one solution to killing ants. It is always best to use a multi pronged approach to give you the best chance of removing them.
I recommend Home Defence products to homeowners as they are usually enough to get the job done.
I use their products in a 3 stage solution:
- Stage 1 Fast acting killer spray: quickly kills ants you have in around the house.
- Stage 2- Ant killer granules: apply on ants and on to the ant nest to kill the colony.
- Stage 3- Ant bait stations: can be left around the garden/house for any remaining ants to feed on and take back to the nest.
Fast Acting Ant Killer Spray
This is usually used on the first stage when you first find the ants and just want to remove them from the area.
While this is not designed to be used on your lawn directly, the ant killer spray is highly effective at killing ants quickly in and around the house.
I would not recommend wasting your time spraying ants around your whole garden, as there are other solutions for that.
Just use this in the areas in and around your home.
Ant Killer Granules
After you killed ants in and around the home, its time to go after the colony.
The ant killer granules can be used to kill ants in two ways:
If you know where the nest is, it would be wise to use both methods above.
Depending on the size of the nest, you may need a second application a month later.
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Canola Oil Can Be Used As Ant Repellant
You can also use the canola oil you use in cooking for ant extermination. Get one and a half tablespoons of canola oil, one half teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap and one quart of water. Use a whisk and mix these ingredients in a bowl. Put the mixture in a spray bottle.
Spray this mixture in areas in your garden that have high concentrations of ants. Try to find their nest and pour a generous amount of this mixture into it to drown out the whole colony. The oil and soap mixture will penetrate the ants exoskeletons which will suffocate and incapacitate them.
White Vinegar Is Safe To Grass But Can Kill Ants
White vinegar with five percent concentration and the distilled type can also exterminate ants without hurting the grass. Upon contact with the vinegar, the ants will be killed because they cannot tolerate its low-pH acidic components.
As you can see, there are many ways to exterminate ants in your lawn without hurting the beautiful grass. They also cost less than the ready-made ant repellants that are sold in the market.
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Facts To Bear In Mind
Over 30 ant species inhabit the United Kingdom. The most commonly-found ones are black ants , yellow meadow ants , red ants and wood ants .
These different ant species have different levels of resistance and susceptibility to the ant-control methods outlined underneath.
For instance, a black ants nest is very likely to be wiped out by bait stations but the same cant be said for those of wood ants. Likewise, a red ants nest is equally likely to be very adversely impacted by the sugar-borax method but not a black ants nest.
On the other hand, neither of these methods will make much of a dent in a yellow meadow ants nest.
Therefore, if one method does not work, do not be discouraged but try another one. Avoid trying to mix and match methods as one method may attenuate the efficacy of the other. Choose one method and stick with it until it succeeds or fails.
Most of the well-known commercial insecticides and applications for reducing the presence of ants are formulated for use in dwellings and other buildings.
These are not meant for use in the garden and may well cause damage to plant life. Also, though these applications will certainly kill ants in exposed locations except for ant bait stations they will not be of any effect in eliminating an ants nest.
Some ants nests are so made that one cannot see any entry/exit holes. In such a case, you will need to observe the ants nest for some time to spot the worker ants foraging pathways their supply lines.