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How to Get Rid of Ants in a Garden Bed

Some ants in a garden bed are not a problem, as ants bring benefits to the garden. But if you see too many ants in your garden bed, it can be a problem for your crops. In this article, I will explain several ways to get rid of ants in a garden bed.

You can easily perform most of these organic methods to get ants out of garden beds at home. In addition, some of the ingredients needed are inexpensive and readily available.

How to Get Rid of Ants in A Garden Bed

Ants also bring some benefits to the garden. For example, ants help aerate the garden soil by digging underground tunnels. Ants also eat other insects, such as caterpillars, which can harm the garden bed. But also, many ants can bring various problems to crops.

If there were many ants in the garden, it would also be detrimental to the roots of the plants because they would weaken the root system too much. On the other hand, ants and aphids coexist together and are very harmful to all types of plants.

If you are dealing with many ants in your garden bed, don’t worry. In this article, I will explain many methods to get rid of ants in a garden bed.

Plants to Get Rid of Ants in A Garden Bed

Ants are attracted to sweet smells, but there are also several smells that ants do not like at all. Grow plants that emit odors that are unpleasant to ants. Some of the plants are as follows:

Placing some of these plants in your garden bed will allow you to get rid of ants quickly, and you will also have some aromatic plants to use. These aromatic plants not only repel ants, but they also repel other insects.

plants to get rid of ants in a garden bed
Some aromatic plants such as rosemary are an excellent option to get rid of ants in garden beds.

Ant Repellent Scents (Naturals)

Another way to get rid of ants in a garden bed is to use ant-repellent odors. It is very similar to the method mentioned above but without the need to plant any plants.

Cayenne powder and black pepper are two odors that ants do not like. Sprinkle some black bell pepper or cayenne powder around your garden bed to get rid of ants.

Another odor that ants do not like is that of white vinegar and lemon. You can prepare a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and lemon, then apply it in a spray bottle and apply it around the garden bed.

Use Nematodes to Get Rid of Ants in A Garden Bed

Nematodes are small microscopic worms that enter the organism of other insects (ants, beetles, flies, etc.) and alter the insect’s digestive tract. After 24 to 48 hours, the ants will begin to die from the nematode.

Nematodes are beneficial in eliminating a wide variety of insects in a garden bed. Still, they can only be applied under certain climatic conditions. The soil temperature for applying nematodes should be between 44 °F and 83 °F (7 °C and 28 °C). Higher temperatures will kill the nematodes.

To apply the nematodes in a garden bed, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which recommend the right temperature. It should also be when the sunlight is not too intense because nematodes are sensitive to light.

nematodes to get rid of ants in a garden bed
Nematodes should be applied with water.
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Apply Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to the Soil

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is an effective natural solution for controlling ants in a garden bed. DE is a fine powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. It works by dehydrating and damaging the exoskeleton of insects, including ants.

Diatomaceous earth is not harmful to pets and humans but will kill any insect that touches the diatomaceous earth. That is why I only recommend applying DE near the nest or around the affected area to not affect other beneficial insects in the garden, such as ladybugs.

Apply diatomaceous earth when the soil is completely dry to be most effective against ants. I recommend reading our article on how to use diatomaceous earth.

Fruit Protection Bag

Choose fruit protection bags or mesh bags that are fine enough to prevent ants from entering but still allow air circulation to keep your fruits fresh. You can find these bags at garden centers or online. These bags are useful in preventing ants and other insects from damaging the fruits in the garden bed.

fruit protection bag keep away ants
Fruit protection bag on tomatoes to keep ants away
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Borax and Sugar to Get Rid of Ants in A Garden Bed

Borax is highly toxic to ants; applying borax will easily eliminate ants in a garden bed. Sodium borate is a chemical compound that is present in toothpaste and soap. Mix borax with sugar and apply it where the ants’ nest is located. In a few days, borax can eliminate an entire ant colony.

Important considerations: Keep borax away from children and pets, as it can be toxic if ingested in large quantities. Place the bait stations in areas inaccessible to them.

Neem Oil to Get Rid of Ants in A Garden Bed

Neem oil is an effective natural solution for getting rid of ants in a garden bed. Although neem oil is a natural way to eliminate ants, keep in mind that it also eliminates other insects that can benefit the garden. I recommend you read our article on how to mix neem oil for plants.

Some plants do not tolerate neem oil well, so I recommend you read our article about what plants not to use neem oil on. Never apply neem oil during the day because the oil will heat up in the sun and could burn the leaves of the plants.

neem oil to eliminate ants
Neem oil is an excellent option to get rid of ants in a garden bed.

Demystifying Urban Legends to Get Rid of Ants in A Garden Bed

There are many myths and urban legends on the internet about methods to get rid of ants; some are harmful or completely false. For example, they say that applying boiling water will eliminate ants, it will probably eliminate ants, but it will also kill your plants and lawn with the boiling water.

Another myth is that sweetener (aspartame) helps get rid of ants in the garden. That people disclose that by applying sweetener, the ants will eat it and die. However, this is entirely false. A scientific study showed that aspartame does absolutely nothing to ants. You won’t eliminate nor get rid of ants in garden beds by applying sweetener.

Another common urban legend is that applying coffee grounds will eliminate ants, which is also completely false. Wizzie Brown of the University of Texas proved that coffee grounds do not work to get rid of ants. Coffee grounds are beneficial for plants but not for repelling ants.

Final Conclusions

All these methods mentioned above are effective in getting rid of ants in a garden bed. Use the most suitable method according to your needs and the number of ants in the garden bed.

I hope you find this article helpful in getting rid of ants in a garden bed. I am confident you can easily control the ants in your garden beds. I recommend you read our article on how to get rid of ants on strawberry plants.

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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