The best way to get rid of ants outdoors is to use a commercial or homemade bait. It destroys the ants you see on the surface and the entire colony below the ground. Boiling water and natural products like diatomaceous earth also work well and don’t add chemicals to your yard or garden.
On This Page:
- Best Way to Get Rid of Ants Outside
- Best Way to Get Rid of Ant Hills
- Best Way to Get Rid of Ants in Garden
- How to Keep Ants From Coming Back to Your Yard
Ants are beneficial to your lawn and garden. But when there are too many, they can cause damage and make their way into your home. On the upside, ants eat other bugs, aerate soil, help with decomposition and carry plant seeds to new areas. But when you notice ant hills on your lawn, a crowd of these critters near your house or your garden is being destroyed, you know it’s time to take action.
Best Way to Get Rid of Ants Outside
The best way to get rid of ants in the yard is to use some form of bait to kill them. Both liquid and granular baits not only kill the insects you see, but the worker ants take the poison back to the nest for the entire colony to consume. Place baits near the anthills, and replace or refill the baits until the problem is gone.
Refillable bait traps are best for large ant infestations. Look for baits and bait stations that are designed specifically for outdoor use at your local garden supply or hardware store with one of these active ingredients:
- Avermectin B (abamectin)
- Boric acid (borax, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, or orthoboric acid)
Certain types of ants respond to specific products better than others. Some like sweet bait while others eat protein-based bait. With over 700 species of ants found in the United States, you may need to narrow down the type of insects you have before using some commercial products. It’s also important to keep in mind that these products may be dangerous to use around pets and young children.
How to Make Your Own Ant Bait
If you prefer to make your own bait, mix equal parts of borax with powdered sugar. Sprinkle it where you see ant hills in your yard and repeat as necessary. The ants will assume it’s food and carry it down into their nests. The borax wreaks havoc on their digestive system and kills them within a day or two.
Best Way to Get Rid of Ant Hills
The best way to get rid of an anthill is to pour boiling water over it. It’s fast, easy and inexpensive. Not only does it kill the ants you see on the top layer of the hill, but the water seeps down into the ground, killing others in the colony. Adding a few drops of dish soap to the water makes it even more effective.
There aren’t many downsides to using boiling water to take care of your ant problem. It’s safe, doesn’t use chemicals and doesn’t require you to spend any money. However, it can kill the grass and plants around the anthill, so be careful where you pour. Use plenty of water to get all of the ants, including the queen, and wear gloves to protect your hands from a hot pot.
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Best Way to Get Rid of Ants in Garden
If you have too many ants in your vegetable garden, you’ll want to avoid using toxic pest control chemicals or commercial products that could affect your plants. The best thing to kill ants outside in your garden is a mixture of baking soda and powdered sugar. It’s safe and natural, and it works as a bait. The bugs carry it back to their nest so it can kill off an entire colony, though you may need to apply it multiple times.
Food grade diatomaceous earth is another safe option. Made from the fossilized remains of creatures found in water called diatoms, diatomaceous earth dehydrates ants when it comes in contact with them. However, it may not take out an entire colony.
How to Keep Ants From Coming Back to Your Yard
Even when you get rid of the ant hills you see in your yard, there’s a good chance the ants will come back in time. Keep them away from your home, garden and landscaping by creating natural barriers.
Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around makes a good barrier and is one of the safest forms of DIY pest control. But there are many other items you can use.
- Castille soap
- Cinnamon powder
- Coffee grounds
- Essential oils mixed with water, including peppermint and citrus scents
- Lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit peels
- Tea tree oil
- Vinegar and water mixture
When ants are too difficult to control, ask an ant exterminator near you for help. They’ll tell you which kind of ants are in your yard, where they’re coming from and how to solve the problem.