Ants are among the most common insects that you’ll find in your backyard. While they serve a beneficial purpose by cleaning up dead bugs and organic waste in your landscape, some ants may also cause problems. For example, certain ants may attack your plants while others may sting or bite you and your family. Before turning to toxic pesticides, try some all-natural or organic sprays that can help kill and control ant populations in your garden.
Liquid dish detergent is good for more than just scrubbing oil and food off of your pots and pans. When mixed with water, it creates a potent spray that kills ants on contact. It is also successful at killing other common garden pests, such as aphids and whiteflies. For the best results, use a spray that has a concentration of just 3 percent soap or less, to help reduce the risk of injury to your plants. To achieve this concentration, combine 5 to 8 tablespoons of detergent in a gallon of water and spray it anywhere in your yard where you want to kill ants.
Hot Water Spray
Hot water quickly kills ants when sprayed on their trail, and when poured directly on an ant hill, it can even eliminate an entire ant colony in your garden. Hot water is so lethal that it can also kill many types of weeds as an all-natural herbicide. This option works best when trying to remove ants in parts of your landscape that have no desirable plants, such as on a trail or on your patio.
Diatomaceous earth is lethal against ants and many other bugs. It kills the ants by scratching their body, which in turn dries out the insects. It works best in enclosed parts of your yard, such as in the nooks and crannies of a garden shed. But it also works on flat surfaces such as in your lawn. To make a spray, simply combine a 1/4 cup of diatomaceous earth with a gallon of water and spray it where ants are present. Wear a dust mask when applying diatomaceous earth.
Boric acid ranks as the best natural remedy for ants. You can find this substance, which is made from a natural mineral, in aerosol form. Some gardeners also use it by mixing it with sugar water or similar sweet foods and spraying it where the ants are. Attracted by the sugars in the spray, the ants will eat the sugar, and the boric in the mixture will poison and kill them.
If home spray remedies don’t work, gardeners can turn to several commercially prepared, natural and organic sprays made with plant and herbal extracts. Examples that are effective at killing ants include sprays made from pyrethrins and rotenone. Apply the spray according to the manufacturer’s labeled guidelines, as toxicity varies widely by product.
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