Getting Rid of Ants in Vegetable Garden – A Full Guide

Introduction: Hello gardeners today we are here with an excellent information of getting rid of ants in vegetable garden naturally and professionally. Ants invading your home or vegetable garden can be quite frustrating. In the vegetable garden, they feed on nectar-filled flowers, sweet-tasting vegetables, and several fruits. In most situations, you will see their colonies feeding on strawberries and other soft skin fruits. Garden ants can be beneficial in the vegetable garden and act as pollinators by crawling around from bloom to bloom looking for nectar, and they can kill off harmful caterpillars. These ants do not typically harm vegetation by stripping leaves from vegetable plants.

A step by step guide to Getting Rid of Ants in Vegetable Garden

Ants are annoying pests that love the garden area often getting a taste of your vegetables before you. Using pesticides in the garden isn’t the ideal method to get rid of the ants, because the chemicals can get into your food. Not only do you poison the ants, but you also poison helpful bugs and animals that you need in your vegetable garden to control other pests.

Ants are social insects that live in organized nests that have several hundred and sometimes thousands of ants. Most are wingless sterile females, known as workers; however, there will be fertile females, known as queen ants, and males. More than 30 species of ant are found, a few of these can occur in vegetable gardens, including the familiar black garden ant, Lasius Niger. What are we waiting for? let us start getting rid of ants in vegetable garden for healthy plant growth and quality produce.

Ants on Ridge Gourd Buds,
Ants on Ridge Gourd Buds,

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Types of ants in vegetable garden

Nuisance Ants

Nuisance ants nest indoor or outdoor gardens. Often their colonies are built close to the home and hidden in the soil, under objects on the ground, or in the home itself. When they come inside, you can generally spot them following an “invisible trail” towards a source of food or water. These Nuisance ants can infest and contaminate your food.

Mound-building Ants

Mound-building ants that you see outside can also come inside in search of food and water. These mound-building ants build mounds in lawns, mulch areas, and along sidewalks, patios, decks, and the foundation. Outdoor treatments are key for controlling these ants.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants nest in walls, attics, and in water-damaged or rotting wood. Common outdoor nests are mainly found in sheds, firewood, decks, tree trunks, gutters, and soffits. These ants don’t eat wood, but they do nest and tunnel in wood, which leads to more decay. Carpenter ants can bite if you try to pick them up, but their bites are not as painful as the sting of the fire ants. 

Fire Ants

Fire ants are a special kind of mound-building ant that usually nests outdoors. They have a stinger on their abdomen they use to inject venom into anything that disturbs them or their nest. Their stings can be quite painful and multiple stings can require medical attention.

Methods that can get rid of ants in the vegetable garden

Many natural methods can eradicate or deter ants without using harmful chemicals. There are several ways to kill ants but some are not as effective as others. Some products are fast-acting and you see the ants die right before your eyes (that is boiling water and ant powder), but remember the ants that you see, walking above ground, are just the worker ants. The nest is the heart of the problem, it houses the queen and several are larvae and cocoons. You want to kill the nest to stop the problem. No nest, no ants, no problems.

Pour Boiling Water

This process of drowning the garden ants with boiling water is practical if the number is less. For one mound, you need about 3 gallons of boiling water. Thus, pour boiling water in their hills and kill them.

Carefully, pour boiling water into anthills. Dig up the homes to expose as several ants as possible and pour the boiling water over the top of them. The boiling hot water will kill ants and you may need several applications to kill all the ants.

Use Citrus Peelings

Collect citrus peelings like orange, lemon, etc and ground them by using an adequate amount of water. Eliminate the liquid concoction and spray it over the mound. This process is an effective natural remedy for getting rid of the carpenter and other garden ants.

Use Borax Mixture

Spraying a mixture of borax is effective in killing them. For this purpose, combine the equal quantity of borax and sugar, and spray the mixture randomly in the garden or wherever you notice ants. Sugar attracts them, as they feed on the mixture and the borax kills them. By following this method, you will be successful in getting rid of garden ants.

Insect-repelling plants

Various plants, especially the ones that have essential oils, give off a certain smell that puts off lots of unwanted insects, including plants. 

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A mixture of cornmeal, borax, and honey

Cornmeal is an inexpensive process to reduce the ant population but will take some time to work. It’s completely safe for your vegetable crops. However, if you mix cornmeal with borax (a household chemical compound found in toothpaste or soap), you’ll see results more quickly. Borax is particularly lethal to ants when ingested and harms their outsides and add a touch of honey to mask the taste of borax and to attract ants. Place the mixture where there is a heavy concentration of ants and you can even leave it in the mixing bowl. Preferably, the sticky substance will be taken back to the colony and kill the queen as well.

Dishwashing liquid and oil

This process has quite a high success rate as the dishwashing liquid and oil soak into the ant exoskeletons and suffocates them. All you need to do is mix half a teaspoon of liquid dish soap with one and a half teaspoons of cooking oil (olive oil and canola oil work best) with one quart of water. Once the mixture is ready, pour some into a spray bottle to take care of ants outside the nest and after that pour the rest directly into the nest.

Sprinkle Grits

Grits or hot cereals are a perfect selection for getting rid of ants in the yard and garden. As per your selection, purchase any brand of hot cereal from the market and sprinkle it in the garden, especially in the mounds and hills. After they feed on this hot cereal or Grits, it expands in the stomach and kills them.

Spray Baby Powder

Any fragrance is a repelling agent for ants in the garden. Spray baby powder, cinnamon, pepper or vinegar to repel ants and it will help you in getting rid of lawn ants.

Boric acid and sugar

This is possibly the most efficient home remedy for getting rid of ants. Mix boric acid with sugar until it turns into a paste and next place small amounts of the paste around the entrances to the ant nest. Ants love sweet things and so they will be drawn to the paste, they will eat and carry the rest back to the nest for the queen. Shortly after eating the sweet paste, the queen and other ants will begin to die due to the boric acid.

White vinegar

Pouring around one liter of white vinegar directly into the nest can work wonders. It is not harmful to the ground or your vegetable plants, but it will kill the ants on contact.

Cayenne Pepper

The strong, pungent odor of cayenne pepper will destroy the signals that ants use to communicate and move towards their nest. In the absence of an appropriate signal, they fail to create their way home and survive. Sprinkling cayenne pepper in exposed parts is an excellent idea to drive away ants. Otherwise, you can mix equal parts of turmeric powder and cayenne pepper to make a more powerful barrier for ants.

Get your dish soap

Carefully fill a spray bottle with water and add 1/4 cup of dish soap. Mix well and spray directly onto the leaves of your vegetable plants. This is not only inexpensive but wonderful chemical-free process.

Lemon Juice

Ant-proof different areas of your home garden with ample amounts of lemon juice. The unmistakable, citrusy scent of lemon will act to deter them, though its acidic nature will mask the natural scent markings they use to navigate through their surroundings. You can soak cotton balls in lemon essential oil and leave them on windowsills, thresholds, cabinets and other garden areas where they are likely to reach.

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Cucumber Peel

Garden ants are averse to the taste of cucumber. Bitter tasting cucumbers are the best, but you can rely on normal cucumbers as well. The only downside is that you will have to replace with fresh peels every alternate day and continue the process till all the ants have disappeared.

Try chili peppers

Chili pepper in any form sprinkled around your vegetable garden will repel ants.

Ant granules

Granules can be used inside and outside in the garden. In the garden, the granules used either by sprinkling dry granules or some products of granules can be mixed with water or poured straight into nests. When sprinkled down dry, the ants receive this back to the nest, which will kill the whole colony.

Ant spraying

These are usually ready to use liquid, which can also be used indoors and outdoors. The best position to spray is where they walk to and from their nests, as they will take it back into the nest and it will infect the whole colony and destroy them. 

Ant traps

The best method to control ants is by destroying the nest. Bait Stations work by worker ants collecting the bait and taking it back to the nest, they share with other ants in the nest, including the queen. This way the entire nest is destroyed and the best place to lay the bait stations is adjacent to nests or runs.

Getting Rid of Ants in Potted Plants

The most effective method of getting rid of ants in potted plants is a combination of baiting and using insecticidal soap. Buy some ant bait and place it along some trails you see leading away from the plant. They will carry this bait back to the nest, thinking its food, and will kill the whole colony. This will decrease your likelihood of ant problems in the future. Next, take the vegetable plant outside and submerge it to just above the surface of the soil in a solution of 1 to 2 tablespoons insecticidal soap to 1-quart water. Let it sit for about 20 minutes. This must kill any ants living in the soil. Brush off some ants still on the plant itself. Remove the plant from the solution and let it drain carefully.

Professional methods to get rid of ants in the vegetable garden

Ant killer gel

Most garden centers sell an ant poison that comes in gel form and this works in the same way as boric acid and sugar. The garden ants are drawn to the sweet gel which is then carried into the nest for the queen to feast upon. Despite being a form of poison, the gel poses no threat to the garden or plants.

Ant killer poison

Powder poisons are best used against ants found indoors or near home as they can affect plants and alter the soil due to their toxicity. If you select to use powder poison, make sure to take some precautions beforehand, such as blocking off the poisoned area to keep pets and small children away. Spread it on a calm day as the wind could carry the poison to neighboring gardens. Another point to keep in mind is that ants can gradually build up a resistance to the poison.

Getting rid of ants in container vegetable plants naturally

Garden ants are more of a nuisance than a real problem and they rarely damage vegetable plants directly. Large nests can accurately expose the root systems of plants to thin air rather than earthly nutrients, which will cause them to dry out. In some situations, they can farm aphids for their sugary honeydew, and protect them by eating their predators.

If you don’t like the idea of putting chemicals on your vegetable plant, there are some more natural solutions you can try. They are;

  • Garden ants don’t like citrus. Squeeze a citrus rind in the direction of your vegetable plant so that the juice spritzes out and this should help to repel the ants.
  • To make a more heavy-duty citrus repellent, boil the rinds of half a dozen oranges in water for 15 minutes. Blend the rinds and water in a food processor and pour the mixture around your vegetable plants.
  • Make your soap solution with 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap in 1 pint of warm water. Spray it on and around your plant. Soaps containing peppermint oil are mainly effective.
  • Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, coffee grounds, or dried mint tea leaves can be scattered around the base of the vegetable plant to deter ants too.

Hope you enjoyed the content of getting rid of ants in vegetable garden. Keep gardening!.You may be interested in Multi-layer Farming Process and Benefits.



  1. When making any type of Borax mixture place in a container that pollinators cannot get into. It will kill bees. You can use a plastic bottle with tiny holes only ants can get into.


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