Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Controlling Ants in the Garden

The ants are marching all, around, the town … and in our lawn
Ants are amazing creatures. I caught this guy, in the photo, hauling something as big as he was, up and down the trellis on our deck. They are able to lift 10 times their weight, are great aerators of soil, keep wasps at bay and eat the larvae of other potentially harmful insects. They also bite, encourage unwanted insects like aphids and can destroy your plants.

We have an ant problem with our lawn, as you can see by the photo. I was content with leaving them be, but my “other half” was upset about it. Now that pesticides are illegal where I live (and I say good riddance to them) I had to find an organic way to control the ants.

I tried a 50:50 mix of sugar and Borax, which I sprinkled around the anthill. The picture you see is the “after” shot. I think the Borax/Sugar mixture did more harm to the grass than the ants – opps.

I probably should have put the Borax and sugar in some kind of container, with holes for the ants to get in and out of, rather than spreading the mixture over the grass. Have also read, unfortunately after using this treatment, that the mixture could be harmful to pets and wildlife, so a trap of some sort would work best.

The theory is that the ants, which love sugar, will take some sugar along with Borax back to the nest and feed it to the Queen. She dies and so do the ants that ingest the Borax. With no Queen Bee, the rest go elsewhere I suppose. You may have to do this several times.

I believe the Borax/sugar mixture worked, as upon examination, I see neither ants nor grass.

Other Organic Ant Control Methods
The Farmers Almanac recommends planting catnip, pennyroyal, peppermint, sage, and/or spearmint to deter them. You could make a tea of these herbs and pour into and around anthills. You could also pour boiling water, over a period of several days, down the anthills.

You could also try Diatomaceous Earth, which you should be able to get at your local garden nursery. As mentioned in a previous blog, Diatomaceous Earth is also useful for controlling those dreaded slugs.

Please share your tips on controlling ants!


  1. I heard that artifical sweetener can kill the ants just as well. Just grab a packet of sweet n low next time you go out to eat - and dump it on the anthill.

  2. Thanks for the tip! If they reappear, I'll give it a try. I saw today in a store that there is something called "Safer" which looks like Diatomacious Earth and a sweetener that you can buy.

  3. Nice blog. Enjoyed going through it as I love garden art. Keep it up the good work.


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.


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