I recently watched the Disney Pixar movie ‘A Bugs Life’ with my son and if you haven’t seen it yet (yes I know it has been out on video for a while now), it is very entertaining. In the movie a colony of ants has to work to gather food for grasshoppers who act as bullies over the ants. During the course of the movie the head grasshopper says, “if the ants ever realize there are more of them then there are of us, the days will be gone when they stop collecting food for us.” I won’t give away the rest of the movie, but just know for now that there are more of them, ants, then there are of us.
Ants may not be a common problem to many home vegetable gardeners, but it can be to some, and if not taken care of quickly the problem can escalate into a full garden infestation. With a little research and some help from our members on our vegetable gardening Facebook page we came up with three safe answers to this problem.
Although not my first immediate choice, but apparently to some members in the group and confirmed by some research I did, many ant species will actually go to war with other ant colonies. The suggestion is to pick up some ants from one colony and place them on top of the other colony and vice-versa. The ants will go to war with one another killing each other off. This however is not a full proof method of actually getting rid of the ants as the “winner” will still be left behind and you will still need use on of the other two methods mentioned in a few moments.
Grits and Cornmeal
Feed the ants! What? You say! Apparently grits and cornmeal (I have used cornmeal in the past), when consumed by ants will make the ants swell because they can not digest the food even though they eat it anyway. This causes the ants to die. Both are good for the environment and safe for your garden, just not so safe for the ants.
A quick Google search on “borax to kill ants” will give you plenty of recipes to use borax (boric acid) to kill ants. The ants take this stuff back to the colony and eventually will wipe the colony out. I read one recipe where you combine borax and cat food to attract the ants even better. I haven’t tried this method myself but from what I read it worked great and in a few weeks all of the ants were gone.
The best part of these methods is that they are safe for your home vegetable garden. Because you are sprinkling the items on the colonies themselves or close to them, the ants do the work of bringing the deadly items back to their colonies themselves and keep it away from your plants.
If you are having an issue with ants in your home vegetable garden, give these methods a try. Your ant worries will be gone in no time.
About the Author
Mike is the administrator for the largest vegetable gardening group on Facebook and the very popular Seeds of the Month Club. You can now join the Seeds of the Month Club risk-free.