7 Tricks To Keep Ants Away

By Liz Baessler | June 22, 2019
Image by Antrey
by Liz Baessler
June 22, 2019

Ants are a tricky pest – some are harmless, and often they’re a sign of other detrimental pests, like aphids, rather than a problem themselves. If you want to get rid of ants in the garden, however, there are several different methods you can try. Here are 7 tricks to help keep pesky ants away.

1. Vinegar. Vinegar has a low pH that isn’t good for ants. If you know the location of a problem ant hill, pour vinegar directly onto the center of the mound until the soil is saturated. Alternatively, you can pour the vinegar in a ring around your garden or infested plants to form a barrier the ants won’t want to cross.

2. Boiling water. If you know where the ant hills are and you want to kill the ants rather than just deter them, pour boiling water into the center of the hill several days in a row. This ought to kill the colony or at least greatly reduce its size.

3. Cinnamon. Cinnamon has a number of uses in the garden but you probably didn’t know ant control was one of them. Many species of ants hate ground cinnamon and will not walk on it if they can help it. Buy a large quantity in bulk and pour it out in a thick line around your garden to form a barrier.

4. Beneficial nematodes. Some nematodes are parasites that kill ants and other pests very efficiently. You can buy and introduce these beneficial nematodes into the soil yourself.

5. Beneficial plants. Catnip, chrysanthemum, garlic, and tansy have all been known to have ant repelling properties, and planting them around the garden should help drive ants away. Marigolds sometimes attract ants, and these can be planted far from more important plants as a “trap crop.”

6. Lemon spray. Fill a spray bottle with water and several drops of pure lemon juice to create a spray that should drive away ants without making your plants smell strange.

7. Coffee grounds. Ants don’t like coffee, but luckily plants do. Scatter your used coffee grounds around the garden to deter ants and add much needed nutrients to the soil in one go.

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  • Lenie
    Comment added September 28, 2019Reply

    Excellent advice. Thank you so much.

  • Ali
    Comment added August 14, 2019Reply

    I grow catnip (Nepeta cataria) and it doesn’t repel ants. I’ve had ants nest in the pot that I was growing it in and they’ve nested right under catnip in the ground. I’ve also heard that lavender will repel ants and I’ve had the same experience as with the catnip. Ants are a real problem where I live and I’ve tried all sorts of natural solutions and none of them work. Unless the queen is killed the nest will persist.

  • Maura
    Comment added June 25, 2019Reply

    Hello, Any advice on getting rid of slugs? I have planted a honey suckle which they gobbled up.I know it is slugs as I can see the silvery trail.

  • Dom Cammarata
    Comment added June 23, 2019Reply

    I removed and replanted a fig tree today. It wintered over in my garage in a large bucket. In the Spring I planted it in my back yard. Growth was very slow and minimal to say the least.
    I poked around the base and found it hard was a rock, dug it up a little and found I could lift the entire root ball and plant. The rootball like a rock. I deepened and wide the hole. While doing so the soil I had removed was very heavy and thick, same as the root ball.
    In my wheel barrow I used two bags of topsoil with fertilizer, .. mixed in peat moss and vermiculite, and 10-10-10 plant food . With a hose I washed away much of the compacted dirt on the rootball.
    Replanted, water in well (20 minutes trickling hose). I think this will save my fig tree.
    Any advise is appreciated. Thanks.

    • Dulce Castillo
      Comment added June 23, 2019Reply

      I now live in the Philippines where every day is hot. Am very interested in composting. What's the best way to composite. Use a bin or dig a pit? Can I leave cut Bermuda grass on the lawn and forhow long? Thanks. Dulce

  • Jeremy Lassen
    Comment added June 23, 2019Reply

    This assumes that the ants are in the garden in a 'convenient hole' in the ground, the ants that bother us are always in the steps near the house, and every year they return, regardless of how much ant powder I use. I know that if I fill in the holes in the wall they will dig out the mortar again and start nesting. Tell me how I tackle this if you know.

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