How to Get Rid of Ants in Vegetable Garden: A Complete Guide

Ants can have both positive and negative impacts on the vegetable garden. In some aspects, they can bring benefits, but when you look at the wider image, it would be better to keep their number to a minimum. So, should you get rid of them? If their numbers are big and they start to pose a threat to vegetables in your garden, then definitely you should find a way to keep their presence at the bare minimum.

How to get rid of ants in vegetable garden? There are several ways of getting rid of ants in a vegetable garden. If you have an anthill in your garden, the best choice would be to use a liquid chemical or some natural remedy, like boiling water. In case you can’t find where the ants are coming from, the most effective method to use is the ant bait.

Ant Exterminators

In this article, you will learn how to deal with certain ant infestations in vegetable gardens. We have also shared with you what kind of ants will most likely infest your garden and how to identify them. Additionally, we have also provided you with a list of products that are effective against ants in gardens. Let’s begin!

How to Treat Ants in Vegetable Garden: Instructions

Just as it is the case with an indoor ant problem, the best way to deal with an outdoor and garden ant problem is to destroy their entire colony. We recommend using liquid and dust insecticide for ant hills, but alongside it, we advise using ant baits as they will deal with colonies that you are not able to identify.


Step 1: Identifying Ant Colonies

Try to find a source of your ant problem. It would be best if you could find every ant hill in your vegetable garden. That could take some time but it would help you immensely with the application of insecticide.


Step 2: Insecticide Application

Use dust insecticide directly on the mount. If you didn’t find the nest, try to locate their favorite routs to your garden. Place liquid or granule baits on their trails and after a couple of days, you will notice that ant numbers in your vegetable garden are getting smaller.


Step 3: Ant Barrier

Alongside the ant bait, placing ant dust or some other repellents around your garden will keep any remaining ants away from your plants. Combining these steps will bring an end to the ant infestation in your garden.


How to Get Rid of Ants in the Garden Soil

When you see loose piles of soil around your garden you probably found an ant mound. Be careful not to disturb it, because worker ants can relocate the queen if they sense any danger. For getting rid of ant nests in the ground, we would advise you to use pesticides in the form of dust which is directly applied to the mound.

You can find a lot of products online that can help you, but to ease your search we will recommend two of them that we think are very effective:

Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust

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Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust, 1 LB
  • Delta Dust Bed Bug Insecticide - 1 lb.
  • Yield: 1 lb. of Delta Dust covers about 2,000 sq.ft.
  • Target Pest: Ants, Bed Bugs, Boxelder Bugs, Cockroaches,...
  • Active Ingredient: Deltamethrin, 0.05%
  • Cannot ship to NY or CT.

Ortho Orthene Fire Ant Killer1

Ortho Orthene Fire Ant Killer1, 12 Oz.
  • Kills the queen and destroys the mound
  • No watering-in required
  • Treats up to 162 mounds
  • Guaranteed to kill or your money back
  • Use Ortho Orthene Fire Ant Killer as part of Ortho 2-Step Fire...

Both products are for outdoor use and they are in the dust form. They are easy to use, just apply them on mounds and don’t water it. Leave it to take full effect for a day or two. It will destroy the whole colony, including the queen.


How to Get Rid of Ants on Vegetables, Fruits or Flowers

Having ants all over your plants can cause multiple problems, so keeping their number in check is something to work on. You can use a two-step defense of your plants. The first step would be placing the insecticide granules or baits around ant-infested plants and the second step is to use some of the natural methods or repellents.


Best Products for Ants in Vegetable Garden

Using insecticide in the garden can sometimes disturb the natural balance and because of that companies developed products that are meant to be used around plants. Here is our choice for all your garden needs:


Monterey LG6150 Garden Insect Spray, Insecticide & Pesticide

Monterey LG6150 Garden Insect Spray, Insecticide & Pesticide with Spinosad Concentrate, 16 Oz.
  • Fast acting and odorless - Monterey insect killer is a bacterial...
  • Controls many insects - The insect treatment spray controls...
  • Variety of uses - This pest control can be used on outdoor...
  • Easy spray application - This CSI alternative product may be...
  • Organic gardening - The active ingredient in our bug Killer spray...

When using products to control pests around vegetables you need to be careful when it comes to their composition. Using plant friendly products will ensure a good harvest that is safe to eat.

The main ingredient of this product is a bacteria spinosad that doesn’t leave any odor and it can be used in organic gardening.


Terro 1806 Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits

Terro 1806 Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits, 1.0 fl. oz. - 6 count
  • Kills that ants you see and the ants you don’t
  • Pre filled bait stations are ready to use
  • Contains borax
  • Flexible placement: in the ground using the stakes or on decks,...
  • Patented station protects the bait from the elements, prevents it...

This liquid bait comes in the form of a cup and it is easy to access for ants. This ant bait is excellent for cases of a large ant infestation or when you suspect that there are a couple of ant nests nearby.


Natural Ant Killer for Garden

If you want to battle the ants in your garden with the help of natural remedies there are many options to choose from. But on the other side, these remedies are not as efficient as the insecticides, so you are going to be making a compromise between efficiency and impact on the environment. The following are some of the natural solutions:


  • Dish Soap – dilute the the dish soap and sprinkle it over the plants that are heavily infested with ants. It will keep ants away for some time.

  • Diatomaceous Earth DE is essentially made from crushed fossilized algae. When used against ants and other pests, it causes damage to their exoskeleton and eventually they die from dehydration. It is safe to use around all kinds of plants, so use it freely.
Harris Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade, 2lb
  • Natural Product - Composed of 2lbs of 100% ground freshwater...
  • OMRI Listed - Listed with the Organic Minerals Research...
  • Supports a Great Cause - Harris donates 10% of profits to support...
  • Made in the USA – Mined in Nevada and packaged in Georgia
  • Satisfaction Guarantee - If you are unhappy with your purchase...

  • Borax this product has a wide usage. It has shown great results against all kinds of pests.
WireJewelry Borax, Technical Grade - 15 Ounces
  • Can be Used as a Flux for Jewelry Casting and Seasoning Crucibles
  • All Natural Multipurpose Cleaner: DIY Laundry Soap, Fabric...
  • Packaged in a Convenient Resealable Heavy Duty Craft Pouch
  • Perfect for Making SLIME
  • Made In the USA

Related: Best Natural Ant Sprays | Kids and Pet-Friendly Sprays


Ants in Vegetable Garden | Information

Ants are a part of a garden’s ecosystem and having them brings positive and negative sides. We just want to make ourselves clear: having ants in the garden is not a problem but having multiple ant colonies can cause many different problems. Also some type of ants are more harmful than than others.


Are Ants Good for a Vegetable Garden?

Ants in normal numbers can bring a lot of good to a garden and we will mention all the important positive things of having them in your garden:

  • Ants will help cultivate the soil. They dig tunnels that are used for circulating air, water, and all the minerals that roots need.
  • If you have a problem with pollination, ants can be an unintentional pollinator.
  • Like all other insects, ants have their natural enemies and some of them are bad for your garden and plants. Ants will fight some unwanted pests and even eat their larvae and eggs, thus keeping their numbers under control.

Related: Ants in Garden: Are Ants Good for Plants in Your Garden?


Do Ants Harm Your Vegetable Garden?

Ants in Vegetable Garden

The main problem with having a large number of ants in the garden is that they will farm aphids. Ants will practically protect them because they will feed on the honeydew that they produce.

Another problem with ants is that some kind of ants can bite you and cause pain, like fire ants. That is another great reason to keep their numbers in normal boundaries.


Types of Ants in the Vegetable Garden


Carpenter Ants in Vegetable Garden

There are a lot of subtypes of carpenter ants, ranging in size between 6 and 13 millimeters. They don’t eat wood, they just carve it out to make room for their nests. Carpenter ants can be aggressive if you threaten their nest and their bite can be painful. Because they tend to make nests outside, gardens are often full of them.

Related: How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Without an Exterminator


Fire Ants in Vegetable Garden

Among many non-invasive types of fire ants, one stands out as a very aggressive kind – red imported fire ant. These ants come in great numbers because they reproduce quickly and once they invade your backyard and garden, you are in serious trouble.

Fire ant sting is particularly painful and it can take up to several weeks to heal. It is recommended to visit the doctor in cases where the symptoms go beyond blisters.

Related: How to Get Rid of Fire Ants: A Complete Guide


Black Garden Ant

As their name implies, black garden ants live outside, usually in the backyard or garden. Their worker ants are around 5 millimeters in length and can be a real pain to live with. They roam through your garden, thrash, and will search for food anywhere near where you live.


Organic Ant Control in Vegetable Garden | Natural Methods

Organic Ant Control in Vegetable Garden

There are several organic ant repellants that you can use to keep ants out of your garden without actually killing them. The following are some of them:


  • Citrus Spray – create a mixture of water and citrus and use it to sprinkle on and around the plants. It is safe to use around any plants and will deter ants from the area that was treated with this spray.

  • Cinnamon – ants just hate the scent of cinnamon, but they will not die from it. If you just want to protect the plant, place a hard line of cinnamon dust around it and for some time it will be safe from ants.

  • Orange Spray – it works in the same way as a spray made of citrus. Ants hate the aroma of these fruits.

  • Peppers – mix pepper with water and sprinkle this mixture around the garden. This will keep ants away for sure. Instead of pepper, you can use garlic for similar results.

Summary

Ants are part of the ecosystem and having them in the garden can beneficial but on the other hand, they can easily bring you problems in form of other intruding pests. Making a compromise with them is a must because you can’t just get rid of all ants and keeping their numbers under control is necessary.

At first, you need to detect where is your ant problem coming from, so you can choose how to fight it. If you can locate the nest you can easily destroy it with strong insecticide. If you are not able to find the nest, use the ant bait. We recommend using bait in all situations just to be sure. You can use additional support for plants that ants attack the most.

If you don’t want to use insecticide around your plants, there are other organic options such as the use of citrus spray or diatomaceous earth. In case you are not sure how to handle this problem, you should contact a professional ant exterminator.

Once they inspect your garden, they will know for sure how to hit the problem head-on, and you will not lose any thought about it. If you are interested click on the following link to get free quotes from the best ant exterminators in your area.


List of Sources

McCollum P., Get Rid of Ants in Your Vegetable Garden, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Controlling Fire Ants in the Vegetable Garden, Clemson University

Remove Ants & Aphids from New Raised Vegetable Bed, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California