How To Get Rid Of Ants In The Garden

How To Get Rid Of Ants In The Garden

Ants can be pesky little critters when they decide to set up shop in your garden. Whether you’re dealing with a minor ant infestation or an entire colony has taken over, it’s important to take action and get rid of the ants as soon as possible.

In this article, we’ll give you all the tips you need to effectively eliminate ants from your garden so that you won’t have any more unwanted visitors lurking around.

Keep reading to find out how!

  1. Reasons why ants may become a nuisance in the garden
  2. Identifying ant infestations
    1. Signs of ant activity
    2. Common types of ants found in gardens
  3. Natural And Eco-Friendly Methods To Control Ants
    1. Diatomaceous earth
    2. Boiling water
    3. Vinegar and water solution
    4. Baking soda and powdered sugar
    5. Lemon juice or citrus peels
    6. Cinnamon, coffee grounds, or crushed chalk
    7. Essential oils (e.g., peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree)
    8. Encouraging natural predators (e.g., birds, lizards)
  4. Chemical methods for ant control
  5. When to call a professional exterminator
  6. Conclusion

Reasons why ants may become a nuisance in the garden

Before we discuss techniques to get rid of the ants in your garden, let’s try to find out why they become a problem in the first place. We all know that ants can quickly become a nuisance in gardens due to their ability to enter homes, contaminate food, and damage plants.

To prevent ant entry, it is important to look for potential sources of food within the garden. This includes pet bowls, bird feeders, and any other possible food source that may attract ants.

Environmental factors such as soil moisture levels, nearby trees, and shrubs also play a role in attracting ants into the garden area. It’s necessary to keep these factors under control when trying to limit ant activity in the garden.

While some ant species are considered beneficial because they help break down organic matter and improve soil structure, larger colonies need to be managed so they don’t become a problem. 

Identifying ant infestations

Identifying ant infestations is crucial for effective pest management. By recognizing the signs and understanding the types of ants commonly found in your garden, you can take the right measures to control their presence and minimize any adverse effects. 

Signs of ant activity

Here is what you need to watch out for if you’re looking for signs of ant activity:

  1. Ant Trails: Observe the presence of organized lines or trails of ants moving back and forth, often leading to their nests or food sources.
  2. Mounds or Nests: Keep an eye out for small mounds or nests constructed by ants, typically made of soil or debris. These nests can be found in garden beds, lawns, or hidden beneath rocks or vegetation.
  3. Damage to Plants: Ants can cause damage to plants by tunnelling through the roots, leading to stunted growth or wilting foliage. Look for signs of weakened or dying plants, particularly around the root zone.
  4. Aphid Presence: Ants have a symbiotic relationship with aphids, as they feed on the sweet honeydew secreted by these sap-sucking insects. If you notice an abundance of aphids on your plants, it may be an indication of ant activity nearby.
  5. Food Sources: Ants are attracted to food sources, both indoors and outdoors. Look for signs of ant activity around spilt food, pet food bowls, compost bins, or garbage areas near your garden.

Common types of ants found in gardens

Understanding the different types of ants can help you determine appropriate management strategies. Some of the common ants found in gardens in the UK include: 

  • Black garden ant
  • Red ant
  • Yellow meadow ant
  • Lasius niger ant
  • Ghost ant
  • Pharaoh ant
  • Wood ant
  • Cornfield ant
  • False honey ant
  • Velvet ant

Feel free to contact gardening services in London to address all of your gardening-related challenges. 


Ants signs in the garden

Natural And Eco-Friendly Methods To Control Ants

So, how can you get rid of ants in your garden? Let’s take a look at some natural and eco-friendly ways to control ants: 

1. Diatomaceous earth

One effective and eco-friendly method for controlling pests like cockroaches and ants is through the use of diatomaceous earth. This natural substance is highly abrasive to the exoskeleton of insects, leading to dehydration and eventual death. Diatomaceous earth finds applications both indoors and outdoors, proving to be a versatile and eco-friendly solution for pest control.

2. Boiling water

First, locate the ant hill, which is usually a visible mound of soil. Next, boil water in a tea kettle. Take caution while approaching the ant hill, especially if dealing with aggressive species like fire ants.

Wear protective clothing such as closed-toe shoes, long pants, and long sleeves to minimize the risk of getting attacked. Slowly pour the boiling water over the ant hill, causing it to collapse and exterminate any remaining ants.

After a few days, check the area for any signs of renewed ant activity. If necessary, repeat the process to ensure complete eradication.

3. Vinegar and water solution

Here is another natural way to get rid of ants in your garden: simply create a solution by combining equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. And then directly spray the mixture on the ants to eliminate them. 

Use a damp paper towel to wipe them away and dispose of them. You can also use vinegar and water as a preventive measure by spraying it along ants’ entry points to deter them from entering your garden again.

Related: How to deter foxes from your garden 

4. Baking soda and powdered sugar

You probably already have natural items like vinegar, baking soda, and powdered sugar in your home. All you need to do is combine baking soda and powdered sugar in equal proportions. After that, transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl or container and position it near the trail of ants.

The sweet scent of powdered sugar will entice the ants toward the mixture. As the ants consume the mixture and carry it back to their nest, the baking soda will act by dehydrating their bodies and interfering with their internal chemistry, resulting in their demise. 



5. Lemon juice or citrus peels

Did you know you can use lemon juice or just citrus peels to keep ants away from your garden?

Lemon juice or citrus peels contain a substance called D-limonene, which is an acidic oil found in their peels.

This oil acts as a natural ant toxin, instantly killing the ants upon contact and disrupting their trail, preventing other ants from locating the food source.

Here is what you need to do to use these simple ingredients: 

  1. Take a pot and place the citrus peels inside, and then pour enough vinegar into the pot to cover the peels.
  2. Heat the mixture on the stove until it reaches a steaming-hot temperature. Be cautious not to let it boil. Once heated, turn off the stove and allow the liquid to sit for a few hours. Ideally, you can leave it overnight for better results.
  3. After the liquid has steeped, strain it into a spray bottle. Now you can use this citrus-infused solution to spritz any areas where you have observed ants. It is recommended to store the spray bottle in the refrigerator for future use.

Related: How to keep cats out of your garden


cirtus peels

6. Cinnamon, coffee grounds, or crushed chalk

Let’s talk about more natural things that can help you get rid of ants in your yard. For example,

You can sprinkle cinnamon powder or place cinnamon sticks near the areas where you have seen ants or suspect their presence.

Ants just hate the smell of cinnamon, which disrupts their scent trail and discourages them from entering that area.

Or, you can spread used coffee grounds around your garden, focusing on ant-prone areas. Coffee grounds have a strong aroma that ants find repulsive.

If you don’t want to try cinnamon or coffee grounds, crush some chalk into a powder and create a line or barrier around your garden or specific areas where ants are causing problems.

Ants are deterred by the calcium carbonate present in chalk, disrupting their movement. Reapply the crushed chalk if it gets washed away or after heavy rainfall.

7. Essential oils (e.g., peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree)

Similar to how ants dislike the scent of vinegar, cinnamon, or crushed chalk, there are various essential oils that can effectively disrupt the pheromone trails of ants.

To create an oil spray using essential oils, combine one tablespoon of vinegar with one cup of your preferred essential oil.

Thoroughly mix the ingredients together before transferring the solution into a spray bottle. And then apply the spray in areas where ants are present or where it is deemed necessary.

8. Encouraging natural predators (e.g., birds, lizards)

Predators like birds and lizards can help you control any population. To encourage them to visit your garden, set up bird feeders or water features. Also, if you don’t have any issues seeing lizards in your garden, you may develop a lizard-friendly environment in your garden. 

Chemical methods for ant control

It’s advisable to go with more natural, environment-friendly ways of eliminating ants from your garden. However, in some cases, property owners have to use chemical-based methods. 

We can find these products in the form of ant baits and traps, insecticides and ant dust. Residual sprays with pyrethroids (bifenthrin, cypermethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin) are common products that are used to eliminate ants. 

It’s critical to follow the guidelines and take into account safety considerations when using such ant control solutions.

When to call a professional exterminator

For more serious infestations, calling a professional exterminator may be necessary in order to properly identify the ant species, find out where they’re coming from, and apply appropriate treatments.

Exterminators usually have access to specialized products not available to homeowners which could make all the difference in eliminating an established colony quickly and effectively. Professional service is one of the way when DIY methods become ineffective. Besides, professionals understand how to keep your property and plants safe. 


Use these natural ways to get rid of ants in your garden and keep your garden safe from ant infestations while avoiding any harmful chemicals.

Now that you know how to control ant populations in your garden naturally, it’s time to figure out what technique you want to use for this purpose.