Should you kill ants in the garden? Natural ways to deter ants from plants without killing

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An infestation of ants in the garden can be an overwhelming sight, leading many gardeners to seek out ways to abolish them for good. However, while ants can be a nuisance, killing them off entirely isn’t always the best idea.

Though pesticides are one way to get rid of ants, these can cause harm to the wider eco-system of your garden, including your flowers, lawn and plants.

Ants feed mainly on insects and honeydew, a sweet liquid excreted by aphids and other sap-eating insects.

As a result, although they don’t feed directly on most plants, they encourage other insects that do.

Furthermore, these fast-moving critters can soon make their way into your home in search of other food.

Therefore getting rid of ants might soon become a priority as they multiply in numbers throughout the spring and summer.

Should you kill ants in the garden?

Ants aren’t all bad for your garden, and can actually do some good.

According to Gardening Know How: “Ants help us by eating fleas, caterpillars, termites, and dead remains of insects and animals.

“They eat the waxy material from peony buds, allowing them to fully bloom.”

Ants have the job of protecting, cultivating, and consuming insects which can be destructive to your flowers.

These tiny insects can also benefit your soil, helping to aerate it.

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How to naturally deter ants from your plants

When a couple of ants turns into a swarm of thousands, seemingly covering every surface of your plants, it can become a problem.

Although it is not possible to deter every single ant 100 percent, there are some natural methods that can encourage them to scuttle elsewhere.

According to experts from Kellogg Garden: “One of our best defences can begin with what type of plants work well to deter ants.

“The dual benefit is that many of these plants may be ones you already want in your garden.

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“Several herbs fit the bill when it comes to keeping ants at bay, and many of them are absolutely lovely additions to any garden.”

These include rosemary, lavender, catnip, peppermint, mint, thyme and tansy.

Planting garlic in your garden is also said to offer “great protection” against ants.

If planting these herbs does not do the job, there are some additional methods you can employ.

Kellogg Garden recommends using a diluted solution of half water and half lemon juice to destroy the scent trail ants depend on for survival.

Cinnamon can also work when sprinkled over the affected areas of your garden.c

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