I’m a big fan of keeping a balanced ecosystem in general. So I usually don’t disturb natural wildlife. However, I don’t believe that ants are in any danger of extinction, and I do not want an overpopulation in my garden. Ants by themselves are helpful (they aerate soil, clean up scraps and seeds, feed on fleas, termites, and other pests) but dangerous when they are paired with aphids which are destructive to any plant they like (there are many) – not only by literally sucking the life out of them, but by transmitting viruses in the process.
Some ant species enjoy plant sap but have no way to retrieve it themselves, so they “milk” the aphids full of sap. It’s in their best interest to protect the aphids from other predators. Ants even store aphid eggs away from harm! And therein lies the problem – aphids continue to multiply and wreak havoc on plants in our gardens.
The best solution is to bait the ants before you plant, but that’s not always possible. If you already have ants / aphids, here’s what to do:
SPRAY the existing problem on a WINDLESS day with:
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of borax (20 mule team)
- 1 cup of water
- spray on their trail where they enter the garden and in 3 days they will be gone
- spray around the edges of the garden to keep them out
- be very careful not to get it on your plants. It’s an herbicide.
BAIT the nest with a paste made of:
- one cup of very warm water
- 1/2 c of sugar, cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons Borax
- set it out in small containers at the base of affected plants (hidden from birds) – refresh daily
- scout ants will take glazed cornmeal home to the colony, and it is spread to all the ants
- it works in a few days to a week