California is home to more than 270 species of ants, with each exhibiting the same organization and unification attributes that make them some of the most difficult pests to rid from a home, garden or lawn. Although ants serve a valuable purpose in the ecosystem, they detract from a landscape’s aesthetic appeal and wreak havoc on plant life. Organic, natural solutions are safest when getting rid of ants in your yard, as they are nontoxic and less damaging to plant life than inorganic options. There are two ways to rid your lawn and garden of ants: by extermination or deterrence.
Apply diatomaceous earth throughout your yard, focusing on areas of high ant concentration, and pour it in the ants’ nests. Wear a dust mask during application. Diatomaceous earth kills ants by working its way into their exoskeleton and spiracles, suffocating them and drying their body’s moisture.
Combine 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap, 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil and 1 quart water in a mixing bowl using a whisk. Place a funnel in a spray bottle, add the solution and shake to incorporate. Spray areas with high concentrations of ants and pour the solution into their nests. The combination of soap suds and oil enters their exoskeleton, incapacitating them, and their spiracles, suffocating them.
Pour 1 quart of white distilled vinegar with a 5 percent concentration in the ants’ nests. The acid in the vinegar kills the ants on contact, as their bodies cannot tolerate low-pH, acidic conditions.
Mix together 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper sauce, 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap and 1 quart of water using a whisk in a mixing bowl. Add the solution to a spray bottle and apply it to the ants and pour it into the nests. The soap and capsicum in the cayenne pepper sauce exterminates the ants by smothering and burning them.
Relocate compost piles, trash bins and organic waste as far from your lawn as possible.
Maintain your lawn and soil to keep it healthy. Ants proliferate in areas of stressed plants and soil.
Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes and dehydrated peppermint, or spray peppermint oil, on ant trails and ant hills. These irritate the ants, forcing them to relocate. You can also use powdered garlic, powdered cloves or cayenne pepper as deterrents.
Distribute orange or cucumber peels around your lawn, focusing on areas that see a lot of ant traffic. The peels contain naturally occurring compounds toxic to the fungi on which ants feed, forcing them to look elsewhere for food.
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