How to Get Rid of Ants in the Garden Without Killing Plants?


Do you have a problem with ants in your garden? If so, you’re not alone. Ants are one of the most widespread garden pests. They might be a true pain, and they can harm plants as well. In this article, we are going to discuss various methods for eliminating ants in the garden without killing plants. We will cover a variety of methods, including chemical and non-chemical solutions. We’ll also provide some tips on preventing ants from invading your garden in the first place.

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Do ants harm plants?

The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Some ants are actually beneficial to gardens because they aerate the soil and help control pests. However, certain species of ants can damage plants by tunneling through their roots or eating their leaves. If you’re seeing ants crawling on your plants or notice that your plants are wilting, it’s probably time to take action.

Do ants harm plants?

Try creating a barrier around the base of the plant with diatomaceous earth or cayenne pepper. You can also try making a homemade ant spray by mixing water, vinegar, and dish soap.

Why do ants infest gardens?

There are a few reasons why ants might take up residence in your garden. Maybe the weather has been especially hot and dry, driving them out of their natural habitat in search of food and water. Or, they could be seeking shelter from predators. Whatever the reason, you probably want them gone as soon as possible – but how?

There are a few things you might try if you’re searching for a technique to eliminate ants without hurting plants. For example, setting out bait traps or spraying with soapy water are both effective methods.

One common method is to set out bait traps.

This involves baiting the traps with food that the ants will take back to their nest. The ants will then eat the bait and die, hopefully taking the rest of the colony with them.

To make a bait trap, start by mixing together some sugar and water in a bowl. You can also add a few drops of dish soap to help the mixture stick to the traps. Then, place the mixture on small plates or in shallow bowls around your garden. Be sure to put them in areas where you’ve seen ants previously. [1]

Another effective method is spraying them with soapy water to kill any ants that are sprayed directly, but it also makes it harder for them to travel as they’ll be coated in soap. To make soapy water, simply mix together water and dish soap in a spray bottle. Then, whenever you see ants, give them a quick spritz!

Common Black Garden Ants

These small, black insects are attracted to sweet things like honeydew and nectar. They also eat other insects, including aphids and caterpillars.

Here are species of black ants that commonly invade gardens:

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a type of garden ant that can be a problem. These larger ants are black or red and build their nests in wood, including the wood of houses.

Carpenter ants are typically not a problem in gardens, but they can be if they enter the garden from their nest in a house or other building. If you see carpenter ants in your garden, it is best to contact a pest control professional to get rid of them.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are a type of garden ant that can be very dangerous. These red ants build nests in the ground and can sting people and animals. Fire ants can be a problem in gardens, especially if you have children or pets.

You should avoid walking on fire ant mounds and keep children and pets away from them.

Acrobat Ants

These small, black ants build nests in trees and shrubs. Acrobat ants will also build nests in the eaves of buildings and other structures.

Yellow Meadow Ants

The yellow meadow ant is a small, yellow-colored ant that is common in gardens. These ants are not harmful to plants, but can be a nuisance when building their nests near plant roots. They can be controlled by using an insecticide or baiting them with sweet food.

Yellow Meadow Ants

Yellow meadow ants can be hard to get rid of since they nest in soil that is not susceptible to pesticides. The greatest method to get rid of them is with an insecticide. You can also bait them with sweet food, such as honey or sugar water. Be sure to keep baits away from children and pets. [2]

How to Get Rid of Ants in Plants Without Harming them

Use Hot/Cold Water

One method is to pour hot water on the anthill for killing the ants and their eggs. You may also use boiling water on the plants that are being attacked by ants.

Another way to eliminate ants is to pour cold water on the anthill. This will cause the shock and ants die. You can also put ice cubes on the plants, which are being infested by ants.

Drop Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth Close to Ant Nest

This is a harmless and purely organic substance manufactured from the fossilized remains of algae. It’s safe to use around kids and pets, but it’s deadly to insects. When ants come into contact with diatomaceous earth, it cuts through their exoskeletons and dries them out, killing them within hours.

To use it as an ant killer, simply sprinkle a line of it around the perimeter of your garden beds or wherever you’ve seen ants crawling. You can also put some in a small dish and set it near the nest itself. Just be sure not to disturb the nest too much, or you could make things worse by stirring up angry ants.

If you have pets or children, make sure they can’t get to the diatomaceous earth. It’s not harmful to them, but it can be a respiratory irritant if it’s inhaled in large quantities.

It won’t kill every ant in your garden, but it will reduce the population over time. And since it’s non-toxic, you don’t have to worry about harming other wildlife or plants.

Introduce Beneficial Nematodes

If you want to eliminate ants in the garden without harming plants, then beneficial nematodes are your best bet. These microscopic creatures live in the soil and feed on insects, including ants. They’re safe to use around children and pets, and they’re relatively easy to apply. All you need to do is mix them with water and then soak the affected area with the mixture.

Beneficial nematodes can be purchased online or at most garden stores. Once you have them, they’ll last for several months in storage. And if you have a persistent ant problem, you can reapply them every few weeks until the problem is gone.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using beneficial nematodes. First, they only work on soil-dwelling insects, so if ants are coming into your garden from another source (like a nest in your house), you’ll need to address that problem as well. Second, beneficial nematodes only travel a few inches below the surface of the soil, so you’ll need to apply them directly to the areas where ants are active.

If you’re looking for a more natural way to eliminate ants, then beneficial nematodes are a great option. They’re safe to use and easy to apply, and they can help get rid of an ant problem quickly.

Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully and reapply them as needed until the problem is gone.

Use Orange Seed Spray

To make this natural ant killer, mix one cup of water with a teaspoon of orange seeds. Spray the solution around problem areas in your garden, such as near anthills. The citrus scent will repel ants and other pests while the orange seeds will kill them on contact. Reapply the spray every few days or as needed.

Use Orange Seed Spray

If you’re looking for a more long-term solution, try planting some marigolds around your garden. These flowers give off a chemical that deters ants and other insects from coming near them.


Cinnamon is another great natural ant repellent. You may use it to coat your garden’s problem sites or create a solution by combining one cup of water with a teaspoon of cinnamon. Spray the solution around your garden, being sure to avoid plants that might be harmed by the cinnamon. Reapply as needed.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a great way to keep ants out of your garden. Simply sprinkle it around the perimeter of your garden or directly on anthills. You can also make a spray by mixing one cup of water with a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Be sure to avoid spraying this solution on any plants, as it can harm them. Reapply as needed.


Chalk is a simple and effective way to repel ants. Just draw a line around the perimeter of your garden with chalk. The ants will not cross the line and will be kept out of your garden. You’ll need to reapply the chalk as it wears away or if it rains.

Dawn Dish Soap

Dish soap is a common household item that can be used to kill ants. Simply mix a solution of one part dish soap and three parts water. Spray it in your garden or directly on anthills to prevent ants from congregating there. The dish soap will kill the ants on contact. Reapply as needed.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from fossilized algae that punctures the exoskeletons of insects, killing them. Simply sprinkle it around problem areas in your garden or directly on anthills. Just be sure to wear a mask when you apply it so you don’t breathe it in. Reapply as needed.

Liquid Soap and Oil

If you’re looking for a natural way to eliminate ants in your garden, try a mixture of liquid soap and oil. Simply combine equal parts of each in a spray bottle and spritz the solution directly on the ants. The soap will suffocate them and the oil will repel them. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to this mixture for extra protection against these pests.

Another option is to make a sugar water trap.

Mix together one part of sugar with two parts of water and pour it into a shallow dish. Place this dish near where you’ve seen the ants and they’ll be drawn to it by the sweet scent.

Once they start drinking, they won’t be able to stop and will eventually drown.

The Borax and Sugar Combination

If you’re looking for a more effective way to get rid of ants, try using borax. This is a natural substance that is often used as an insecticide. Mix equal measures of sugar and borax together and scatter it around your yard as a perimeter treatment. The ants will be drawn to the sugar, but they won’t be able to resist the borax. This combination will kill them quickly and effectively.

The Borax and Sugar Combination

Just remember that borax can be harmful to plants, so be sure to keep it away from any areas where you don’t want it to kill the vegetation.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a popular remedy for eliminating ants. In a spray bottle, combine an equal amount of water and white vinegar for your garden. You can also make the solution to soak cotton balls and leave them in places where you see ants. The disadvantage of utilizing white vinegar is that it can harm plants, so be cautious where you spray it. If you’re worried about harming your plants, you can try using diluted vinegar instead.

Another way is to create a trap. To do this, mix one part of sugar with one part water and add a few drops of white vinegar. Place the mixture in a shallow dish and place it near an ant trail. The ants will come to the dish for the sugar since it is a delicious treat. Once they’re in, they won’t be able to get out and will drown.

If you have pets or small children, be careful when using this method as white vinegar can be harmful if ingested. [3]

Here are a few more suggestions for keeping ants out of your garden:

  • Keeping your garden clean and free of food scraps.
  • Trimming back any plants that touch the ground.
  • Eliminating sources of water, such as leaky hoses or standing water.

Try out a few of these methods and see which ones work best for you. With a little patience, you’ll be able to keep your garden ant-free all season long!

Why You Should Get Rid of Ants in the Garden?

Ants are one of the most prevalent garden pests. They can quickly become a nuisance, invading your plants and disturbing the soil. If left unchecked, they can cause serious damage.

There are several reasons why you should eliminate ants in the garden:

  • Ants can damage plant roots, which can lead to stunted growth or even death.
  • Ants can spread diseases from plant to plant.
  • Ants can infest your home and become a nuisance indoors as well.

Eliminating ants in the garden is not difficult, but it does require some patience and perseverance. The most important thing is to identify the type of ant that is causing the problem.

Comparison of Methods to Eliminate Garden Ants Without Harming Plants

Ants can be beneficial to a garden ecosystem, but their presence can also lead to problems such as tending aphids and damaging plant roots. Finding ways to manage ant populations without harming your plants is important for maintaining a healthy garden environment. This table compares different methods for getting rid of ants while ensuring the well-being of your garden plants.

Method Effectiveness Impact on Plants Ease of Implementation Cost
Manual Removal Low Minimal Easy Low
Diatomaceous Earth Moderate Minimal Moderate Low
Vinegar Solution Low Minimal Easy Low
Cinnamon Low Minimal Easy Low
Citrus Peels Low Minimal Easy Low
Beneficial Insects High Negligible Moderate Moderate
Soap Solution Moderate Minimal Easy Low


  1. Manual Removal: This involves physically removing ant nests and colonies. It’s minimally effective and easy to implement but may not provide long-term results.
  2. Diatomaceous Earth: It’s moderately effective and has minimal impact on plants. Application is moderately easy, and cost is low.
  3. Vinegar Solution: Low effectiveness, easy application, and minimal impact on plants. However, it may not eliminate entire colonies.
  4. Cinnamon: Low effectiveness but easy to implement. Cinnamon can deter ants, but it might not completely eliminate them.
  5. Citrus Peels: Similarly, low effectiveness with easy implementation. Citrus peels can repel ants, but they might not solve the problem entirely.
  6. Beneficial Insects: Highly effective as natural predators, with negligible impact on plants. Implementation can be moderate in terms of ease, and cost is moderate.
  7. Soap Solution: Moderately effective and easy to apply. It has minimal impact on plants and is cost-effective.

These methods aim to control ant populations in the garden without harming plants. The choice of method depends on your preferences, the severity of the ant issue, and your commitment to eco-friendly practices.


How do I get rid of ants in the garden naturally?

There are a few ways to do it naturally. One way is to use a mixture of sugar and Borax. You can also try using diatomaceous earth or nematodes.

Another way is to simply remove their food source. If you have a lot of anthills, chances are there is something nearby that they’re feeding on. Try to figure out what that is and remove it from the area.

You can also try using barriers. This can be anything from a physical barrier like rocks or mulch, to a chemical barrier like an insecticide spray or powder.

How do I get rid of ants in the garden naturally?

Finally, remember that ants are beneficial insects and play an important role in the ecosystem.

How do I keep ants off my plants?

There are a few things you can do to keep ants from attacking your plants. You can try:

  • Using diatomaceous earth.
  • Putting up barriers such as plastic or foil around the base of the plant.
  • Spraying the plant with water or vinegar.
  • Making a homemade ant repellent spray with essential oils.

Will vinegar kill ants in the garden?

Yes, vinegar will kill ants in the garden. You should use vinegar with caution and only as a last resort. If you do decide to use vinegar, be sure to dilute it with water so that it does not harm your plants. [4]

You can also try placing barriers around your plants or using insecticidal soap or attracting natural predators of ants, such as ladybugs or lacewings.

How do I get rid of ants in the garden without killing plants in the UK?

If you’re looking for a way to eliminate ants in your garden without harming your plants, there are a few things you can try. One option is to mix together water and vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to target the ants’ nests. Another possibility is to make a homemade ant bait by mixing together borax, sugar, and water. You can also try using diatomaceous earth or cayenne pepper as a natural deterrent. Be sure to keep an eye on the situation and reapply the treatment as necessary. With a little patience and perseverance, you should be able to eliminate pesky ants for good!

What is the best way to eliminate ants in the garden?

You can create a physical barrier between the ants and your plants. This can be done by sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants. The sharp edges of the diatomaceous earth will cut through the ant’s exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate and die.

You can use a natural insecticide such as neem oil. It is derived from the seeds of the neem tree and is effective against a wide variety of pests, including ants. Simply mix some neem oil with water and spray it on your plants, being sure to coat the undersides of the leaves where the ants are likely to be.

You can also try using a bait trap to eliminate ants in the garden. The bait is mixed with poison, which kills the ant colony.

Can I use insecticide to get rid of ants in my garden?

The most common type of insecticide used to kill ants is called carbaryl. Carbaryl is a broad-spectrum insecticide, meaning it will kill a wide variety of insects, not just ants. It’s important to note that carbaryl is highly toxic to bees and other pollinators, so you should avoid using it if you have flowering plants in your garden. There are also less toxic alternatives to carbaryl, such as boric acid, which can be effective at killing ants without harming other insects.

If you decide to use an insecticide, be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully. Many insecticides require you to mix them with water before applying them to your garden. You’ll also want to make sure you apply the insecticide to the areas where ants are active, such as near their nests or trails. Otherwise, you won’t be able to effectively kill the ants. [5]

In some cases, you may need to reapply the insecticide multiple times before all of the ants are gone. Be patient and continue following the directions on the label until all of the ants are killed.

Do coffee grounds keep ants away?

Coffee grounds are effective at repelling ants because of their strong smell. Ants are also attracted to the sugar in coffee, so they’ll be drawn to the grounds even more. The ants will be attracted to the sweet mixture and then get stuck in the coffee grounds. [6]

Does diatomaceous earth kill ants?

This is a type of sedimentary rock that’s made up of the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic creatures called diatoms. It’s very effective at killing insects like ants because it has sharp edges that cut through their exoskeletons and dehydrate them. You can find diatomaceous earth at most hardware stores or online.

Does diatomaceous earth kill ants?

Diatomaceous earth is a powder derived from fossilized sea life, which is absorbed through the exoskeleton of aquatic organisms. Sprinkle it around your garden or wherever you observe ants crawling to use it to destroy ants. The ants come into contact with it and eventually die.

Do essential oils keep ants away?

Essential oils are a natural way to repel insects like ants. Some good ones to use are peppermint oil, lemon oil, and eucalyptus oil. Just add a few drops of each to a spray bottle filled with water and spray it around the perimeter of your garden or wherever you see ants crawling. The strong odor will keep them at bay. You’ll need to reapply the spray after rain or watering. [7]

What are some non-toxic methods to deter ants from my garden?

You can use cinnamon, citrus peels, or borax mixed with sugar to create natural ant repellents that won’t harm your plants.

How can I disrupt ant trails without harming my garden plants?

Sprinkle baby powder, chalk, or flour along ant trails to interrupt their communication and make them lose their way.

Are there any plants that naturally repel ants and protect my garden?

Yes, plants like mint, tansy, and marigolds emit scents that ants dislike, helping to keep them away from your garden.

What role do ants play in the garden ecosystem, and how can I manage their population?

Ants can aerate the soil and help with pollination, but excessive populations can harm plants. You can manage their numbers by removing attractants and using barriers.

How do I create physical barriers to prevent ants from reaching my plants?

Use sticky barriers like double-sided tape or petroleum jelly around plant stems to deter ants from climbing onto your plants.

What is the importance of keeping my garden clean to prevent ant infestations?

Ants are attracted to food residue and sugary substances. By maintaining a clean garden and proper waste disposal, you can reduce their attraction to your outdoor space.

Can I use companion planting to deter ants while protecting my garden plants?

Yes, certain companion plants like garlic, chives, and basil can help deter ants and other pests while benefiting your garden’s overall health.

How do I eliminate ant colonies near my garden without harming the soil?

Pouring a solution of hot water and dish soap into ant hills can help destroy colonies without causing harm to the soil or your plants.

What organic substances can I use to repel ants and maintain a healthy garden?

Try using crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, or citrus-based sprays to create a barrier that ants will avoid.

Are there specific cultural practices I can adopt to prevent ant infestations?

Practices such as proper watering, regular weeding, and maintaining healthy soil can make your garden less appealing to ants and other pests.

Useful Video: How to Get Rid of Ants in Garden Without Killing Plants


There are a few different ways to eliminate ants in your garden without harming your plants. One is to mix coffee grounds with sugar and water to create a sticky trap. Another is to sprinkle coffee grounds around your garden as a natural insecticide. Diatomaceous earth can be used to exterminate ants in a number of ways, including sprinkling it around your garden or anywhere you observe them crawling.

Thanks for reading! We hope this guide was helpful.