Ants in the garden

Ants

Time to act:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov

Of the black, red and yellow ants that are commonly seen in the garden, only the red ones (from the Myrmica species) sting. Other than that, ants are more of a nuisance than a pest. They feed mostly on insects, including other ants, and honeydew, the sweet sticky substance that aphids excrete. Ants are known to defend aphids against predators in return for a harvest of honeydew.

Symptoms

Container-grown plants start to wilt. When you check the pot you notice ant tunnels, and that compost has been moved away from the plant's roots. On the lawn or between the cracks in paving slabs, heaps of fine soil appear.

Find it on

No real damage is caused to any plant

Advertisement

Organic

Ants are persistent and it's almost impossible to eliminate them in the garden. You can flush them out from containers by giving the compost a thorough drenching with water. Repeat as necessary, although take care not to drown your plants.

Keep ants off the benches in a greenhouse by wrapping a grease band around each bench leg, or standing the legs on a block of wood in a dish of water. Use a stiff brush to remove ant hills in the lawn.

Chemical

There are many ant killer products on the market, but they are mostly more effective at killing ants that stray indoors, than complete nests in the garden.

Advertisement

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Vine weevil

Aphids

Apple sawfly

Bay leaf suckers

Related offers

SAVE 10%

Subscriber only content

Save on garden lighting

As an exclusive offer for BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine subscribers, save 10 per cent on your shopping at Sarah Raven, including their great range of garden lights.

Unlock now

SAVE 20%

Save 20% on spring bulbs

Save 20 per cent on spring bulbs at Sarah Raven. Choose from a fantastic range of spring and early-summer flowering varieties including tulips, daffodils, irises and more.

Use code: GW17WAB

Order now

FREE P&P

Free p&p on bulbs

Enjoy free p&p worth £4.99 on the brilliant range of top-size premium Dutch bulbs at Farmer Gracy. Enter offer code at checkout to claim this offer, plus you'll also be sent a free shopping bag with your order.

Use code: BBCFDBAG17

Order now