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Most gardens have some form of a lawn. They are laid in most new gardens to provide entertainment space for adults and a playing area for children. But lawns can sometimes also be home to ants. These ants can become a real nuisance and destroy your lawn from beneath. Anthills have been a pain to me, so I set out to learn how to kill the ants in my lawn.
How to kill ants in your lawn? There are various ways to kill ants in lawns, Some are chemical, and others are organic. Natural ways include neem oil, cinnamon, hot water, and even dishwashing detergent. Depending on how the lawn is used will depend on the treatment.
Our homes are just like our castles. Unfortunately, they are not immune to attacks by massive armies of tiny ants. Ant invasions are not only annoying but also dangerous to your health and the health of pets living in your home. Who could’ve thought that insects as small as ants could cause so much damage? Yes, they could. Despite being so tiny, these animals come in droves and work together.
Ants are a nuisance and can quickly destroy your lawn if you’re not keen, damaging all the beautiful gardens and foliage by creating mounds and destroying vegetation. If not eradicated in time, some ant species move into home structures where they start setting up colonies, weakening structures, and contaminating food.
How are anthills constructed in lawns
Before we go into killing ants in your lawn, I think it is important to understand how an anthill is constructed. Anthills are a maze of tunnels and chambers that can stretch to over 3ft deep and 4ft wide. Impacting the entire colony with one application of anything will be nigh on impossible. It will require a regime of treatments to kill off the entire colony.
Types of Ants That Are Common in Lawns
Below are three types of ants common in lawns, along with detailed characteristics about how they look. It will help you to identify these ants when your garden gets infected quickly.
It doesn’t refer to a specific species of ants. Instead, the term field ants refer to several ants fond of living in lawns and fields.
Field ants vary a lot in appearance because they’re made up of different species. Most of them are usually about a quarter of an inch long. They also vary in color, from black to red to brown. Field ants are ubiquitous, and you’ve probably seen them.
How Field Ants Damage Your Lawn
Field ants build and live in mounds. These mounds are built underground before the ants start pushing up the soil to create visible ant mounds in your lawn. These mounds are usually huge, spanning up to three feet or more.
These mounds damage the grass on your turf. The ants also destroy the grass’s root structures, which leads to brown spots developing in your garden. These mounds can also make it hard for you to mow the surface of your grass.
Farming ants are also a broad category of ants. Farming ants secrete hormones that attract other insects, which these ants use as food. Aphids are among the most common victims. Aphids produce honeydew, a substance that has sugar in it. These aphids are harmful to the health of your lawn.
They’re almost identical to field ants. Farming ants are also small and vary in color from black to red to brown.
How Farming Ants Damage Your Lawn
Farming ants attract aphids, which can cause serious harm to your lawn. Aphids survive by feeding on young plants, especially young shoots and stems. Aphids can eat up and destroying your yard. Moreover, these aphids can also destroy any other type of vegetation and transmit viruses.
These are the most destructive type of ants found in our yards. Army ants are aggressive and are mostly found in the Southern United States. Army ants can venture into lawns and other types of densely forested areas to look for food.
Army ant colonies can diminish the food sources of other animals, including beetles, birds, and reptiles. As a group, army ants can kill chickens, lizards, Goats, Pigs, cats, dogs, and other small animals.
Army ants are very tiny insects that are dark-brown or gold in color. With time, they tend to grow bigger and develop stingers and hooks.
How Army Ants Damage Your Lawn
Unlike Farming ants and Field ants, Army ants don’t damage your lawn by building mounds and attracting insects. Instead, this type of ants moves together in large colonies destroying all the foliage in an area. A colony of army ants can eat an entire section of your lawn, ruining your beautiful grass and vegetation.
Army ants destroy properties using numbers, with a colony having thousands of ants. Army ants attack plants and insects by swarming them in large numbers. Army ants also bite anything that gets in their way. If your lawn is infested with army ants, your children and pests are susceptible to bites. It puts their lives in danger.
Methods of Killing Ants in Your Lawn
If you have a lawn in your home, it’s of extreme importance for you to be in the know about the latest techniques on how to exterminate ants on your lawn. You will allow you to enjoy your lawn and keep it free from the menace caused by these creatures and help protect your beautiful plants and allow them to mature.
Though, you’ll need to be very cautious of the method used, as using the wrong approach may destroy your garden. First, you’ll need to be specific about the type of ants that have invaded your yard before you choose the best method of eradicating them.
- Using Boiling Water
- Raking ant mounds
- Spraying soap and water
- Using Olive Oil and Dishwashing Liquid
- Sugar and Boric Acid
- Chili Pepper
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Anthill killer gels. (Chemical)
- Anthill killer poison (Chemical)
Natural & Home Made Methods Vs. Artificial Methods.
Killing ants in your lawn can either be done via natural &homemade methods or artificial methods. If you want to eliminate the ants in your home, you first need to target the source. In this case, the nest. There are several ways to destroy ant nests; this includes natural methods or using specific chemicals to kill these ants.
Using home remedies has its drawbacks, and sometimes it’s slower. On the other hand, chemicals are effective but may end up destroying your lawn. But in the interest of being comprehensive, I’ll cover both methods of killing ants in your lawn.
Natural & Home Made Methods of Killing Ants in Your Lawn
There are several natural and home remedies that it can use to kill ants on your lawn. These methods include;
Using Boiling Water.
Poring boiling water into an ant’s nest is the simplest and most widely used method of kill an ant nest. Try and locate all the entrances and pour boiling water into them. It will immediately kill most of the ants inside. Although some ant hills may appear small, most of them are bigger underneath and are home to several colonies. Using boiling water has some drawbacks, though. They include:
- Boiling water won’t kill off the entire colony because of the big size of the nests.
- It often takes several attempts to notice success
- Using hot water can result in boggy and wet areas in your lawn.
- Hot water can scald your grass, turning it to brown.
Did you know that Peppermint is an insect repellant? You can plant Peppermint in your home or use it as a natural remedy to get rid of ants. Ants hate the scent. Apart from repelling ants, planting this plant will leave your home smelling minty fresh! Plant peppermint around the perimeter and entryways of your home.
You can also place peppermint cotton balls in areas where the ants frequent. Like most essential oils, keep this oil out of reach of pets, who may become very ill if exposed to this oil. You can find peppermint essential oil at your local grocery store.
Raking ant mounds
It might sound too simple to work, but it’s among the modest and the most effective ways of getting rid of the stubborn ants in your lawn. Ants prefer building their nests in quiet, dry, and sandy soils, and if the mound is given enough time to harden, it will offer protection to the nest, making it difficult to remove.
Continuously raking the mounds and spreading the soil around disturbs the ants, their network of tunnels, and entrances. It will make them leave in search of a new peaceful home.
Spraying soap and water.
Start by choosing an eco-friendly soap (to enable the environment around it to thrive, including the grass on your lawn), mix it with water, and spray it into and around the mounds. You can also use hot water, but avoid making the water too hot because hot water destroys grass. Soap will suffocate the ants to death, and diluting it with water lessens the chances of the soap damaging your grass.
Mix equal portions of water and vinegar in a Spray Bottle. Directly spray the mixture on the ants to kill them. You can also pour this mixture into ant hills to kill ants inside their nests.
Cinnamon is also a great option when it comes to killing ants. When ants inhale the scent of cinnamon, they suffocate to death. You can sprinkle ground cinnamon on the ants’ path or around anthill openings. You can also use cinnamon essential oil to repel ants. Mix a few drops of this oil with water and spray on anthills, trails, and anywhere around your lawn where you notice ant colonies.
Using Olive Oil and Dishwashing Liquid
Another common home remedy for killing ants in your lawn is mixing olive oil with dishwashing liquid and spraying the ants with it. This solution penetrates the ants’ exoskeleton before suffocating the ants to death. Again though, this method can take a while to work, and depending on the detergent used, you may end up bleaching the grass, making the area paler than the entire lawn.
Using Sugar and Boric Acid on Your Lawn
The idea behind using sugar and Boric Acid on your lawn involves mixing the two to form a paste and putting the paste in certain areas of your lawn, preferably near the ant nest. The sweetness in the sugar will attract the ants to it. These ants will take the sugar back to the nest as food for the rest of the colony. The Boric Acid in the mixture will kill the ants.
The disadvantage of using this approach is that the sugar and boric acid need to be mixed keenly. If you use less Boric Acid, you won’t kill any ants. On the other hand, if you use too much Boric acid, you’ll end up killing the first ant that takes it before it’s transported to the nest. Boric acid also damages the grass.
Another effective home remedy you can use is chili pepper. Ants hate chili pepper. Black pepper can also work. Locate the anthills and sprinkle some pepper around them, and if possible, use the pepper to create a barrier that will stop the ants from moving around your lawn.
An alternative solution is mixing the pepper with water and spraying or pouring the resulting solution into the mounds. The pepper won’t kill the ants, but it will make them vacate from their nests. You can also sprinkle some spice on the ant mounts to repel ants. If you have coffee grounds, you can mix them with pepper to make them more effective.
Using Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food grade diatomaceous earth is a gardener staple made from algae fossils, and it’s a natural insecticide. When ants eat the diatomaceous earth, they become dehydrated. This gardener slowly kills any ant that ingests it. Using Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth is a great way to kill an ant mound, as it allows the ants to survive long enough to take the product back to their members of the colony in the nest. Ensure that you only use food-grade–diatomaceous earth.
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 ants outdoors if you’ve numerous ant hills within your home. Although, you should be very careful and wear protective clothing when applying this treatment because this technique involves using chemicals that may harm you if not handled properly. 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 doesn’t 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.
If you’ve decided to kill the ants in your lawn using powder poison, ensure that you take some precautions beforehand. It includes restricting the poisoned area from access by small children and pets. Also, ensure you apply on a calm day as the wind might carry the poison to neighboring gardens.
Before applying any anthill treatment, ensure that you choose the right product. Anthill treatments are available in various forms, including solid and liquid treatments. Whichever option you settle for, you’ll only be able to kill the ants in your lawn if you use the treatment correctly.
Also, ensure you follow the instructions to the latter when using your ant treatment. After you have finished applying the ant treatment, don’t use the container for other purposes to avoid contamination.
Using Ant Bait Stations
If you don’t want to spray your lawn or sprinkle the powder around it, using ant bait stations is an excellent alternative. Put a bait station near the ant nest, and the ants will take the liquid t back to their queen and colony members in the nest.
This active ingredient will spread through the entire nest, killing the entire colony within no time. I personally recommend having one or two bait stations around your lawn to kill off any ants before they fully establish their colonies.
Applying Insecticides to Your Lawn
Not all ants build mounds in your lawn; some make trails by eating everything that’s before them. A good example is the army ants, a breed that’s very aggressive when it comes to destruction. If you want to destroy this type of ants and keep them away from your lawn for good, the best method is to apply insecticide to the entire lawn.
Although this method is time-consuming, it’s worth the effort. Before you begin applying insecticide to your lawn, you should consider mowing the lawn. Mowing your lawn makes it easier for the insecticide to get into the soil and kill the ants.
Once the grass is mowed, proceed with the application of your insecticide. Using a spray option will make the application process easier. After you’re done, ensure you reapply the insecticide at least twice a month for full protection.
If none of the methods discussed above has worked for you after ants have invaded your lawn, it’s advisable to consider hiring a professional to handle the invasion. Professionals will use the latest products, methods, and machinery to curb the ant’s problem.
Will they return after you kill them?
If you destroy their new habitat, the ants obviously won’t return. However, this doesn’t mean that your lawn will be 100% immune to in the future. A nice and soft lawn is irresistible for ant queens! The ants may return, but it may take several months or years for this to happen. And if they do come back again in the future, at least you know what to do!
Now that you’re aware of several methods you can use to kill ants on your lawn, you should be able to keep your home ant-free, particularly if you’re not fond of destroying ant hills. If you have multiple ant hills on your lawn, you should consider consulting a professional before choosing the best pest control solution.
The following may be other questions you may have when tackling ants in your lawns and property. Here I aim to give you a basic answer to the question.
Will ants kill my lawn?
Will ants kill my lawn? Ants will kill areas of your lawn where the anthill spreads to. Not only do they cosmetically destroy your lawn with mounds of excavated earth, but also they destroy the root structures of the lawn that surround the anthill itself.
Will ants in my lawn end up in my house?
Will ants in my lawn end up in my house? Ants send out scouts looking for food and resources. If your home is close to their anthill, then there is no doubt you will end up with ants in your house. It is important to tackle the ants in your lawn before this happens.
Do ants bite?
Do ants bite? All ants will bite or sting. However, they very rarely pose any risk to humans as their bite and sting are very mild. However, bites from fire ants or harvester ants can cause an allergic reaction and be very painful.
What do ants eat?
What do ants eat? Ants are scavengers and will eat almost anything. They will consume anything sweet like nectar, sugar, honey. But will even eat meat and plant vegetation so can destroy your loved plants or vegetables. They consume moisture, usually from their food or from due on the leaves of plants.
Can ants cause health issues?
Can ants cause health issues? Although ants are just a nuisance, they can pose serious health issues for the homeowner and their family. Did you know you may even catch E. coli from ants? Let’s look into this a little more below.
As discussed above, ants will send out scouts looking for food and resources. Anthills in your lawn surrounding your home mean that ants will eventually end up in your home. As they roam all over the home, they pick up germs and bacteria, and this can get deposited onto food that you may not lock away in airtight containers.
The ants can contract other bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, and E.coli while they roam around bathroom areas in your home. Again these can be passed onto humans or your beloved pets as the ants clamber over the food and preparation areas of the kitchen.
Ants can also contract Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Clostridium. It is usually contracted from feces that the ants have crawled over outside. It again is passed on to you through food prep areas. You cannot catch any of these diseases through stings and bites.
Bites and Stings
As mentioned above, ant bites and stings rarely cause any real issues. They bite struggles to break the skin of most animals and humans. However, certain species do have the ability to break the skin and cause pain. Fire ants are one such species.
If you think you may be allergic to the venom of any form, you may want to avoid being stung or bitten by an ant. It can cause swelling in the area. It can also cause a worse reaction, which could cause swelling of the throat and cause breathing difficulties.
Above I have provided you with many organic and natural ways of ridding your lawn of ants and the reasons why you shouldn’t leave them in situ. Along with the few chemicals alternatives, you now have a perfect working model to ensure this little insect does not cause you and your loved ones any issues in the future.
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