How To Get Rid Of Ants In Garden Without Killing Plants

Growing plants and vegetables in your garden are great, and spending time outdoors with family is one of the best things you can do. However, one thing can put pay to this, and that is an invasion of ants.

Garden ants can cause harm to plants, and when you have kids, they can make your yard an unpleasant environment to be in. As a result, you’ll want to know how to get rid of ants in the garden.

Most of the time, ants in your garden are not the unwelcome guests you think. Ants can help break down leaves, branches, and more to help deliver nutrients to the surrounding areas. In addition, ants can also act as ways to aerate the soil, as do worms to help improve drainage.

Natural way to kill ants in your garden

Getting rid of ants in your garden can be difficult, especially when you try to do this without harming your plants. (Learn How to Get Rid of Ants in Grass Naturally)

Luckily, you can use this guide and find all the ways to do this. By the end, you’ll better understand how to use a natural way to kill ants and get rid of them where they are causing a nuisance.

What Will Kill Ants But Not Plants?

Spending time gardening can become unpleasant with an ant infestation. Ants can be pests, and rather than spraying toxic insecticides on your plants; you can kill ants naturally.

Here are some of the best natural ant killer methods you can use safely around your plants to control ants and other small pests.

Citrus Oil Spray

Citrus oil, such as orange and lemon oil, is toxic to ants, but this organic gardening method is harmless to your garden plants.

Orange oil is found in many natural insecticides, but you can manufacture your own by combining 3/4 cup orange essential oil, 1 tablespoon molasses, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and 1 gallon of water.

To get rid of ants in your garden and house, spray the mixture on and around garden plants. If you don’t have orange oil, boil the rinds of five or six oranges in water until soft, about 15 minutes.

Put the rinds in a food processor with the boiling liquid to make a sludge that you can use to water your garden plants. (Read Why Do Some Ants Have Wings)

Soap Mixture

It is easy to purchase insecticidal soaps to kill ants in your garden; however, it is straightforward to make an effective mixture. All you need to see is dish soap.

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap to 1 pint of warm water. Stir until fully combined.
  2. Spray the soapy water mixture directly on your plants and around the garden to get rid of ants.

Since ants don’t like peppermint oil, you can use a liquid soap like Castile that contains peppermint oil to mix with your water. If ants remain after you spray, then increase the amount of soap, but don’t add too much as it can harm your plants in large amounts.

You can add a dash of vinegar to this method, yet don’t add too much as vinegar makes an effective weed killer.

Borax Bait for Ants in your Garden

Borax Bait

It only takes a few steps to make your own ant bait using borax or boric acid, which is toxic to ants.

  1. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of borax to an equal part of honey or a sugar substitute.
  2. Spoon the mixture into open jars and place these on their sides dotted around your garden here; ants are rife.
  3. Ants crawl in the containers, and from there, they take the toxic bait back to the nest and thus to the queen. It doesn’t take too long for the colony to die as a result.

Another possibility is to mix 3 cups of water with 1 cup of sugar to 4 teaspoons of boric acid or borax. Dip bread in this mixture, then cover it with peanut butter. Leave the slices in the garden. The result is the same as the borax bait. (Read Does Borax Kill Fleas)

How Do I Get Rid Of Ants In My Garden Soil?

If you see ants around your plants, it is possibly the honeydew secretions in the soil or the presence of aphids and mealybugs. Most often, you find this occurrence in potted plants when ants show themselves in vast numbers, and as a result, they can prevent the growth of your plants.

Spices like cinnamon, cloves, chili pepper flakes or powder, used coffee grounds, or dried mint tea leaves can be used. All you need to do is take these and scatter them around the base of your plants to deter ants in the garden.

How Do I Get Rid Of Ants In My Garden Permanently?

It is good to know the species of ants you are dealing with before attacking the colony. You can find many thousands of species of ants around the globe.

The more common types of ants you can encounter are as follows:

Lasius Niger is the common black garden ant: For this ant, you’ll find a colony of around 5,000, and they usually set up home by the edge of a patio or in garden areas.

Lasius Flavia is the yellow meadow ant: You will find this ant species common in gardens and, luckily, isn’t as harmful as the Niger counterparts.

Fire ants: Fire ants are one of the most common ant families you’ll find around your garden. You can find more than 200 species of this fire ant family based on location. The fire ant is known for the reddish-brown color and painful stings. (Read Is It Safe To Eat Sprouted Potatoes)

Crematogaster is the acrobat ant: You’ll find this as the most aggressive garden ant species. Their color varies from yellowish-brown to reddish-black, and you can find them nesting in moist wood in your garden.

Here’s how to get rid of ants without using pesticides.

Use Hot or Cold Water

To get rid of ants in your yard, you need to find the ant hills that signify their nest or colonies. Killing worker ants doesn’t help much as the queen keeps laying eggs. If you find the nest, one sure way to kill the ants is to pour hot water into the ground to flood their colony.

If they have a nest close to your plants, hot water will kill them. Cold water won’t kill the ants, yet it can wet the soil enough to make them leave.

Get Rid Of Ants Nest

Sprinkle Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth on the Ant Nest

You will find this powder highly effective. When you sprinkle this around your plants, it can slowly get rid of them. It works to dehydrate the garden ants, and it is very safe to use around plants and humans.

Beneficial Nematodes

Applying beneficial nematodes is easy using a sprayer. They are harmless to humans and plants yet affect ants by entering their bodies to pass on harmful bacteria that kill them from inside.


This is a subtle approach to control ants before they destroy your plant. Sprinkle cinnamon around your plants, and ants will avoid that area altogether. Cinnamon will control ants, yet it doesn’t kill them.


Around the anthill, sprinkle some dry grits. The ants will eat the grits, drink water, swell, and explode due to their actions.

What Can You Spray On Plants To Keep Ants Away?

Ants don’t attack plants directly, and it is the aphids, scales, or mealybugs they are after. The ants love the honeydew excrement these insects produce, so to an extent, they help with your pest control against natural enemies.

Ants in a houseplant are signs your plant has other issues, and they will get worse.

  1. Getting Rid of Ants in potted plants is a blend of baiting and using insecticidal soap. Buy ant bait and lay it across trails leading away from your plants.
  2. Outside, you could find their nest close to your home. Ants carry the bait back to the nest, thinking it’s food and results in killing the entire colony.
  3. You can then take the plant outside then submerge it a little over the surface of the soil using a solution of 1 to 2 tablespoons insecticidal soap and 1-quart water.
  4. Leave your plant to sit for 20 minutes, and this will kill ants living in the soil.
  5. Brush off ants on your plant and then remove the plant and let it drain.

If you don’t want to use such chemicals, pesticides, or poison to get rid of insects and pests, you can make your own soap solution using 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap in 1 pint of warm water. (Read How to Make Deer Deterrent)

Spray this around your plant and onto the leaves. As we have seen, soaps using peppermint oil are highly effective. It is a simple idea, yet it makes an effective ant killer safe for plants, as do the other methods above.

How To Get Rid Of Ants In Garden Without Killing Plants

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