When was the last time you looked closely at the grass on your lawn? If you’ve recently done this and noticed tons of ants scurrying around, you might have wondered if this is normal or if there’s a problem with your grass.
Are ants problematic if they’re in your grass? It might surprise you to learn that ants can damage the grass, making it look less than attractive and also reducing its health.
If there’s an ant invasion on your lawn, you might not be sure about how to eliminate these pests. Here’s your ultimate guide on how to do it without using harmful or toxic chemicals on your grass.
Why Are Ants Bad For Your Lawn?
Ants are not just a nuisance when you’re lying on the grass and experiencing stinging ant bites – they can also harm your lawn. This is because of how ants build nests inside or underneath lawns.
They are drawn to soil with good drainage, so even if your lawn is healthy this doesn’t mean it will be protected against ant invasions.
When ants excavate your soil, they leave anthills on the lawn’s surface. This might not look like a big problem, but it can negatively impact your lawn in various ways:
It makes your lawn uneven.
It makes mowing your grass more strenuous because the mower’s blades can become stuck on soil lumps.
It eliminates grass underneath the soil mounds, making your grass patchy and preventing it from looking good.
It damages the roots of the grass. This is because when ants build their nests, they actually eat through the roots! This can result in dead grass or patchy lawns.
What Types Of Ants Are Damaging Your Lawn?
There are different types of ants that can be feeding on your lawn and damaging it. Let’s take a look at three common ones.
Field ants: Field ants is the term given to species of ants that live in lawns as well as fields. They can vary in appearance and can be red, brown, or black in color. They live inside mounds that they make underground and then push upwards through the soil – you’ll notice their anthills on the surface of your lawn. The mounds damage the grass, destroy its roots, and can make your grass surface uneven.
Farming ants: This term is made up of various ant species. Farming ants are particularly bad for your garden because they secrete hormones that are appealing to other insects, such as aphids. They’re therefore harmful to your grass because they bring aphids to it, and these feed on plants while transmitting viruses throughout your garden.
Army ants: These are the worst type of ants to see on your lawn. They are identified by their dark brown and gold coloring. Although they are tiny, they can become larger and grow hooks as well as stingers. These ants move around a lot so they don’t usually produce mounds that will damage your lawn. However, they travel in large groups which kill foliage and eat the grass.
How To Get Rid Of Ants In Grass Without Harming Your Lawn
It’s not always easy to eliminate ants without harming the surrounding grass in your lawn. However, there are successful methods you can try. These include the following:
Set up healthy gardening habits
You should become a bit more careful about how you maintain your lawn. These healthy practices can help you to keep ants at bay.
Cut your grass at a higher lawnmower setting so that you leave your grass a bit longer. Never razor your grass right down otherwise this will attract ants to the area. If your lawn is allowed to grow thicker and longer, it will naturally block out ants.
Avoid paving and garden beds that aren’t surrounded by ground-cover plants. This is a good tip because it prevents soil from being visible, which can be appealing to ants. You should also cover your flower beds with plant material so that ants don’t have space in the soil to build their nests.
Fertilize your lawn twice a year, in spring and later in the summer. You should choose a fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen as it will strengthen the grass to deter pests.
Make a homemade ant-killing solution
An easy DIY solution to suffocate ants is to mix together one tablespoon of dish soap, eight cups of water, and four tablespoons of oil. Start by mixing together the water and oil, then add the dish soap. Blend it well, then pour the mixture into the top of the anthill in your lawn.
Use ant baits to kill ants
This is a great way to protect your grass while eliminating ants from your lawn. Place ant baits in close proximity to the ant mound. The ants will think that the bait is food and it will kill them off. This is a great way to remove an entire ant nest without any harm being done to the surrounding grass.
However, note that ant baits can contain insecticides which can be dangerous to humans and pets.
It’s a better idea to make your own natural ant bait. Mix together baking soda, powdered sugar, and water. Leave this outside, preferably in close proximity to the ant nests or mounds.
While it might not work as well as using a stronger ingredient, such as boric acid, it’s safe for use around pets and kids.
Use diatomaceous earth
This can be sprinkled directly on ant mounds as its sharp granules kill ants and other insects that digest them. Although it sounds chemical, diatomaceous earth is natural. It’s derived from dead sea creatures known as diatoms. You can find it at your local garden nursery.
Use a spade to demolish ant mounds
You can manually dig up ant mounds and destroy them. You just need a spade. Break the top of the mound, then dig up to a depth of about six inches. Be sure to turn over the soil when you do this. This will dig up the ant mound so you can remove all of it.
Afterward, tamp the soil down with the shovel and water it so that it settles. This will kill ants and ensure that your grass will grow in areas where the ant mounds had been constructed.
Should You Use Boiling Water To Kill Ants?
A common natural solution to eliminate ants from your lawn is to use boiling water. Although this works well to kill ants, it will also damage the surrounding grass.
This is because boiling water destroys the cell walls of blades of grass, so it’s best to avoid doing it unless the ants are in an area where there’s no grass.
How To Deter Ants From Your Lawn
While there are natural methods you can try to remove ants from your lawn, you can also deter them so that they don’t have a chance to take hold in your grass. Here are some ideas.
Sprinkle powdered charcoal and agricultural lime on the soil around plants or between garden rows. This will naturally deter ants so that they stay away from your grass and garden in general.
Plant natural ant-deterrent herbs and plants. You should make use of plants in your garden that naturally repel ants. These will look lovely while keeping ants away because their fragrance is unpleasant for them. Such plants include mint, chive, lavender, and garlic.
Should you kill ants in your garden with pesticides?
Pesticides are not ideal as they contain harmful chemicals. They can also contaminate surrounding plants and groundwater, as well as edible plants.
Why are there ants in your vegetable garden?
Since aphids can be present in your veggie garden, these draw ants to them because of their sweet secretions. The ants like to collect these secretions and take them to their nests. Eliminating the aphids can help to keep ants away.
While you might not think ants are a problem in your garden, these can be harmful to your lawn so you don’t want them to build nests in it. If you’re dealing with an ant invasion in your lawn, you don’t have to sit by and stress about it.
In this article, we’ve featured some of the best ways in which to eliminate ants naturally. We’ve also looked at what you can do to prevent ants from being attracted to your lawn or garden in the first place.
Rebecca Vargas is an experienced gardener and landscaper and has been rendering professional services for many years. Her services cover both private homes and commercial properties. Leveraging that rich experience, Rebecca Vargas now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to maintain their garden and yard, whether at home or workplace. GreenIQ is his way of reaching and teaching millions of homeowners across the globe about proper gardening and lawn care practices.