Ants like many insects make their home in the garden and go unnoticed until they become invasive in the kitchen, plants become affected or their presence is felt with a nasty bite. These little insects live in colonies and most have underground nests but some choose logs, wall cavities or invade the bases of potted plants.
Ants are known to destroy pollen so if you are having trouble getting plants to set fruit check to see if ants are present. Ants are covered with an antibiotic that can kill pollen grains in a short period of time.
Ants by themselves do little damage to plants but are attracted to plant damaging insects such as Mealy Bugs, Scale and Aphids. Ants feed off the secretion from these pests causing the infested plants to be covered with swarms of ants. Dealing with these plant damaging insects will also control the presence of ants.
Ways to keep Ants under control
*Water the lawn and garden beds more frequently, don’t provide them with the dry sandy conditions that they enjoy.
*Adding plenty of organic matter to the soil and potting mixes will increase their water retention capacity and will help deter ants.
*Track ants back to their nest and spray a circle around their nest with pyrethrium. Water the entrance to the nest to entice the ants out. Once the ants have emerged they can easily be sprayed and eliminated.
*Dusting ant dust around the base of pot plants will deter ants from building in the base of containers. Dusting the ants trail back to their nest is also an effective measure.
*Richgro Ant Killa is a highly effective granular insecticide for the control of ants in the home garden. Apply to areas where ants are active such as cracks and crevices in building foundations, lawns, gardens, in between pavers and path edges. Apply directly to the nest if possible.
*Tansey planted in the garden will help discourage ants. Dried Tansey, in sachets or as loose sprigs can be used as an ant deterrent indoors.
*Scatter garden lime around ant nests and reapply as necessary. This is not a suitable solution for use around acid loving plants.
*Argentine Ants and Fire Ants cannot be controlled by the individual. If you suspect their presence contact your local Department of Agriculture