Tony O’Neill, gardener and author of the popular “Composting Masterclass” and “Your First Vegetable Garden,” combines lifelong passion and expert knowledge to simplify the art of gardening. His mission? Helping you cultivate a thriving garden. More on Tony O’Neill
Most gardens have some form of 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, so I set out to learn how to kill the ants on my lawn.
There are various ways to kill ants in lawns, Some are chemical, and others are organic. Natural methods include neem oil, cinnamon, hot water, and 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 annoying and dangerous to your health and pets’ health in your home.
Who could’ve thought 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, some ant species move into home structures, setting up colonies, weakening systems, and contaminating food.
What does an Ant Nest Look like
Before we go into killing ants in your lawn, I think it is essential to understand how an anthill is constructed.
Ant hills are a maze of tunnels and chambers stretching over 3ft deep and 4ft wide. Impacting the entire colony with one application of anything will be impossible.
It will require a regime of treatments that kills ants in the entire colony.
Types of Ant That Are Common in Lawns
Below are three types of ants common in lawns and their detailed appearance characteristics. It will help you identify these ants when your garden infects quickly.
Field Ants In The Garden
It doesn’t refer to a specific species of ants. Instead, the term field refers to several ants fond of living in lawns and fields.
Field ants vary significantly in appearance because they’re 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 they start pushing up the soil to create visible ant mounds on 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 roots, leading to brown spots 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 this insect. Ants secrete hormones that attract other insects, which are then used as a food source. 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. Ants are also tiny and vary from black to red to brown.
How Farming Ants Damage Your Lawn
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 destroy your yard. Moreover, these aphids can also eliminate any other type of vegetation and transmit viruses.
Farming Ant Control on Your Lawn
And plenty of ant-killing bait stations around your lawn, especially where water is available. Lawn care is imperative; breaking down and removing the ant hills and applying insecticide dust to the area can help control the ant colonies.
These are the most destructive type of ants found in our yards. Army ants are aggressive and are primarily located in the Southern United States. They can venture into lawns and other densely forested areas to look for food.
Army ant colonies can diminish the food sources of other animals, including beetles, birds, and reptiles. 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. With time, they tend to grow bigger and develop stingers and hooks.
How Army Ants Are Killing Your Lawn
Unlike Farming and Field ants, Army ants don’t kill lawns by building mounds and attracting insects. Instead, this type of ant 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 numbering thousands.. 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 for Removing Ants in Your Grass
If you have a lawn in your home, it’s essential to know about the latest techniques to exterminate ants on your lawn.
This will allow you to enjoy your lawn, keep it free from the menace caused by these creatures, and help protect your beautiful plants and enable 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 Hot Water
- Raking ant mounds
- Spraying soap and water
- Using Olive Oil and Dishwashing Liquid
- Sugar and Boric Acid
- Chilli Pepper
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Anthill killer gels. (Chemical)
- Anthill killer poison (Chemical)
Natural & Home Made Methods Vs. Artificial Bait Methods.
Ants on your lawn can be done via natural & homemade methods or artificial methods. You first need to target the source to eliminate the ants in your home. In this case, the nest. Several ways to treat ant nests include 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 destroy your lawn. But to be comprehensive, I’ll cover both methods of eliminating ants on your lawn.
Natural & Home-Made Methods of Eradicating Ants on Your Lawn
Several natural and home remedies can remove ants in your lawn. These methods include;
Using Boiling Water to kill ant nests.
Poring hot water into an ant’s nest is the simplest and most widely used method to treat 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 colonies may appear small, most are more significant underneath and are home to several colonies.
Using water has some drawbacks, though. They include:
- Boiling water won’t kill off the entire colony because of the enormous size of the nests.
- It often takes several attempts to notice success.
- Using hot water can result in boggy and wet areas on your lawn.
- Hot water can scald your grass, turning it brown.
Did you know boiling water is excellent for all things around the garden? You can even kill weeds with boiling water.
Did you know that Peppermint is an insect repellant? You can plant Peppermint in your home or use it as a natural remedy to eliminate ants. Ants hate the scent. Apart from repelling ants, growing this plant will leave your home smelling minty and 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 most effective ways of removing stubborn ants on 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 disturb the ants, their network of tunnels, and entrances. It will make them leave searching for a new peaceful home, which will help eliminate your problem.
Treat ant nests with bait stations.
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.
Kill ants with Vinegar Bait Stations.
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.
Ants Colonies Don’t Like Cinnamon
Cinnamon is also an excellent option for ants and stopping ant hills. 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 removing ants on 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, this method can take a while to work, and depending on the detergent used, you may bleach the grass, making the area paler than the entire lawn.
Using Sugar and Boric Acid on Your Lawn
Using sugar and Boric Acid on your lawn involves mixing the two to form a paste and putting the paste in some regions of your lawn, preferably near the ant nest. The sweetness in the sugar will attract the ants to it.
These ants will return the sugar 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 kill 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 insecticide into the ant hills. The pepper won’t kill the ants but will make them vacate their nests. You can also sprinkle some spice on the ant mounds to repel ants.
If you have coffee grounds, you can mix them with pepper to make them more effective.
Treat with Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a gardener staple made from algae fossils, and it’s a natural insecticide in powder or granules. When ants eat the diatomaceous earth, they become dehydrated.
This granule slowly kills any ant that ingests it. Using Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth is a great way to kill ant colonies, as it allows the ants to survive long enough to take the product from the bait station back to their members of the colony or nest. Ensure that you only use food-grade–diatomaceous earth.
Chemical Methods of Kill Ants Colonies in Your Yard
Despite being environmentally friendly, most natural methods take time to eliminate the ant colonies in your lawn. The natural components used in these bait methods are less lethal, and it kills ants when using chemicals. Therefore, you can use the chemical granules treatments discussed below for instant results.
Using Ant Hill Killer Treatments
Applying ant killer treatments is one way of killing ants outdoors if you’ve numerous ant hills within your yard. Although, you should be very careful and wear protective clothing when applying this treatment because this technique involves chemicals that may harm you if not handled properly.
They should always be applied with bait stations or even use the services of professional pest companies to kill the ant hills in your garden or yard.
There are two main ant-killer treatments when trying to stop ant hills. They include:
- Ant killer gels.
- Ant killer poison
Ant 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 these sweet gel bait stations, 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.
Ant killer poison.
Ant-killer poisons are primarily 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 on 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, apply on a calm day as the wind might carry the poison to neighboring gardens. Before using any anthill treatment, ensure that you choose the right product.
Insecticide baits treatments are available in various forms, including solid and liquid treatments. Whichever ant bait option you settle for, you can only kill the ants on your lawn if you use the medicine correctly.
Also, ensure you follow the instructions later when using your ant treatment. After applying the medicine, don’t use the container for other purposes to avoid contamination.
Using Ant Bait Stations
Ant bait stations are an excellent alternative if you don’t want to spray your lawn or sprinkle the powder around it. Put a bait station near the ant nest, and the ants will take the liquid back to their queen and colony members in the nest.
This active ingredient will spread through the entire nest, quickly killing the colony. I recommend having one or two bait stations around your lawn to kill off 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 before them. A good example is the army ants, a very aggressive breed regarding 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 property.
Although this method is time-consuming, it’s worth the effort. Before 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 more manageable. After you’re done, ensure you reapply the insecticide at least twice a month for complete protection.
If none of the methods discussed above has worked for you after ants have invaded your lawn, it’s advisable to consider hiring professional pest services 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 in the future. A friendly 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 return in the future, at least you know what to do! A good lawn care regime will allow you to spot them early and take action.
This will help you control them as part of your lawn care regime. Now that you know several methods 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, consult a professional before choosing the best pest control solution.
As they roam all over the home, they pick up germs and bacteria, which 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 roaming 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 acquired 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 and struggle 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.
FAQs on Kill Ants in Lawn to Enjoy Your Beautiful Garden
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 they also destroy the root structures of the lawn surrounding the anthill itself.
Will ants on 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 essential to tackle the ants on your lawn before this happens.
Do ants bite?
All ants will bite or sting. However, they rarely pose any risk to humans as their bite and sting are mild. However, bites from fire ants or harvester ants can cause a very painful allergic reaction.
What do ants eat?
Ants are scavengers and will eat almost anything. They will consume anything sweet, like nectar, sugar, and honey. But you will even eat meat and plant vegetation to 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?
Although ants are just a nuisance, they can pose serious health issues for 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 the lawn surrounding your home mean that ants will eventually end up in your home.
Above I have provided you with many organic and natural ways of ridding your lawn of ants and why you shouldn’t leave them in situ. Along with the few chemical 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.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about how to get rid of ants from your lawn. I trust it answers your question fully. If this interests you, why not consider checking out some of my other blog posts and subscribing so you don’t miss future content?