Ants on peonies
It’s a well-known fact that peonies attract ants, which crawl around on the flowers, feasting on the sticky sugars they secrete. Once the flower opens fully, and the sucrose has been consumed, the ants depart, whether they are outside or on someone’s dining room table. Those who have had ants leave their centerpiece and march across their dining table tend to take a dim view of peonies as cut flowers.
But there is a simple solution for the ant problem, and it’s one that every commercial peony grower practices: Cut the peonies when they are in bud, before the petals unfurl. If there are ants on the buds, wipe them or shake them off. Then put the peonies in water, and let them bloom inside.
The only trick is to know when the bud is developed enough that it can be cut and opened inside. The perfect time is when the the bud is showing color and is as soft as a marshmallow. For a large double peony such as Sarah Bernhardt, the bud might be about 1.5 inches in diameter when cut; two days later, it will have achieved its full potential.
Peonies cut at the marshmallow stage can also be held in the refrigerator for several weeks. For the home gardener, the peonies can be wrapped loosely in a plastic bag with the cut stem ends exposed, then placed in the back of the fridge. (Warning: If you have apples, cantaloupes or other ethylene-producing fruits in there, you will shorten the vase life of the flowers.) For the commercial grower, the flowers can be rolled up in newspaper, burrito-style, and placed in an opaque plastic container in a cooler. At 35°, they will hold for a month or more. When you are ready to use then, cut an inch from the stem and place in warm, deep water. Depending on the tightness of the bud when it was cut, the flower might take anywhere from eight hours to 48 hours to open fully.
Handled this way, your peonies won’t have ants. And they will be the most gorgeous, extravagant, fragrant cut flower imaginable.
In the photo above, pink ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies are accented with the fuschia Dianthus ‘Purple Bouquet’ and the rich purple Campanula glomerata. The peonies were cut in bud and stored in the cooler for a week, then put in water on Friday morning. This photo was taken on Sunday morning.
- Peonies 101: How to Grow Them, Store Them & Get Ants Off Them!
- Glorious Peonies: The Pride of India
- Natural Ways to Keep Ants Away
- Keeping Ants Out of the Garden
- How to Kill Ants in Your Yard
- 21 Natural Ways To Get Rid of Ants
- Keeping Ants Off Flowering Vines, Vegetables and Flowers
- How to Keep Ants Off Flowering Vines, Vegetables and Flowers
Peonies 101: How to Grow Them, Store Them & Get Ants Off Them!
Peonies are my favourite flower – they’re so fluffy and gorgeous! After 5 years of growing them, I thought I’d share my favourite peony growing, picking & storing tricks with you today.
How to Grow Peonies
Peonies grow from zones 3 to 8; I successfully grow them in zone 3 here in Alberta, Canada. My experience is with herbaceous peonies (the bushier, no-tree kind!), and they love full sun. Mine are on the South side of my house in full sun and they grow well there. You can find lots of peony plants at most gardening centers, and places like Walmart and Home Depot. Plant them in late Spring, and make sure you follow the directions that come with your plant to ensure you plant them at the right depth and distance apart. Just a little warning: It does take quite a while for peony plants to mature and produce giant, luscious blooms – mine took about 4 years. However, after they mature, you can enjoy your peonies for many, many years to come! The varieties I have and love are Alexander Fleming (full and bright pink) and Sarah Bernhardt (full and blush pink). For my more mature, larger plants I like to put a ring with stakes around the plant in early spring so that when the plant is large with heavy blossoms it doesn’t droop.
How to Store Peonies to Bloom Later
Peonies only bloom for a couple of weeks here in late June, but one way to prolong them is by picking them at just the right time and storing them in the refrigerator. Wait until your peony bud has all its colour and is squishy to the touch, like a marshmallow. Then, cut the stem, remove all of the leaves, and wrap it gently in some plastic cling wrap. Store it horizontally in your fridge for a few weeks, and then pull it out later, place it in a vase with water, and watch its petals unfurl.
How to Get Ants Off Peonies
The best way to keep ants off of peonies you want to cut and use inside is to pick them at this same “marshmallow” bud stage and let them open up in a vase with water inside. The ants actually eat the nectar off of the peony buds to help them open, so it’s important not to pick them too early if you want the petals to unfurl inside.
Another method to remove ants is to pick your peonies at their fully opened stage and then simply hang them upside down and give them a good shake. Flick any extra bugs off of the petals before bringing inside, or soak the flowers in a bucket of water outside to remove any more ants.
Watch this video to see these peony growing & storing tips in action:
I hope these tips have helped you today! Do you grow peonies or do you want to grow them? Let me know in the comments below!
Glorious Peonies: The Pride of India
by Naomi Mathews
A Tad Bit of History
It seems that the Hoosier State adopted more than one official floral emblem over the years. The zinnia held this prestigious title from 1931 until 1957. Then, more than twenty-five years later, a member of the Indiana House of Representatives endorsed a proposal to adopt the peony as Indiana’s queen of flowers.
Thus, on March 13, 1957, the peony (Paeonia) was duly adopted by the General Assembly (Indiana Code 1-2-7) as Indiana’s official state flower. No specific species or colors were ever designated. This was evidently not an issue, since all peonies are lush and beautiful. They are much loved by the people of Indiana and cultivated in abundance throughout the state. Miss Peony’s reign will without a doubt be both endearing and enduring, and with good reason.
Some Notes of Interest About the Popular Peony
It is said that the peony (Paeonia) was named after the Greek doctor of gods, Paeon, since it was believed to possess healing qualities. Some prefer to pronounce the name of this beautiful flower with a long “e” (pe – o – ny), while others prefer to call it Paeonia, pronounced as “pay-on -ee- ah.”
Some engaging meanings of “Peony” when used as a first name include: compassion, love and good fortune, bashfulness, and happy marriage. Peonies do seem to portray these attributes, don’t you agree?
Peonies are a highly prized and popular perennial and are widely grown in flower gardens. Their popularity can no doubt be partially attributed to the fact that they enjoy one of the longest life spans among perennials. They are also very hardy, thrive in most soils with minimal amendment, and are not demanding. What gardeners wouldn’t be delighted to grow these carefree beauties in their gardens season after season with so little effort!
For many years, peonies have been one of the most favored of spring flowers for another special reason. In the month of May on Memorial Day, one can see fragrant fresh bouquets of peonies in a splendid assortment of colors in cemeteries. Year after year, peonies are placed as special memorials by family and friends on the graves of their loved ones. In many rural areas peonies can be found displayed at quaint roadside flower stands, waiting patiently to be chosen just for this special day.
Peonies are outstanding as cut flowers. A half dozen fully-opened blossoms will easily fill a vase with long lasting color. Cut several stems of their foliage and tuck them in with the peonies to lend great eye appeal to your spring bouquet. The delightful fragrance of some peonies is reminiscent of the old-fashioned rose.
Herbaceous or Tree Peony — Which One is It?
Herbaceous (P. lactiflora)
Most peonies available in garden centers or nurseries are hybrids of two major classes–herbaceous peonies or tree peonies. Just what are their primary differences?
Almost all herbaceous peonies are descendants of a Chinese species known as P. lactiflora. These hybrids reach 2 to 3 feet in height, having dark green divided leaves that are shiny and very showy. Peony foliage is bold and striking, even in the fall when it usually embraces the reddish colors of autumn.
Herbaceous peonies typically bloom in late spring, boasting exotic 3 to 6 inch heavily scented blossoms. Their showy blossoms can be either single or double, while others are anemone-like, having broad outer petals with petaloids in their centers. Herbaceous peonies thrive in USDA Zones 3 to 8, and bloom profusely after a period of cold winter chill.
Tree Peony (P. suffruticosa)
Flowering Shrubs Shrubs are among the most versatile of garden plants. They can fill the landscape with color, shape, and texture all year long, with flowers in the spring, lovely foliage in the summer, and berries and bright leaves autumn. They even add shape and texture to the winter garden. Although this bulletin deals mainly with flowering shrubs, the wealth of information can be applied to most any shrub.
Tree peony cultivars are descendants of P. suffruticosa, a Chinese shrub. This variety is an open, somewhat woody deciduous shrub that can reach 6 feet in height. As with herbaceous peonies, tree peonies are long-lived and resent being transplanted, so you should choose their locations with care. Tree peonies are also more hardy to cold than their herbaceous relatives. There are a myriad of varieties to choose from and most nurseries offer them in late winter and very early spring.
The blossoms of tree peonies vary both in size and color, depending on their individual variety. Tree peonies also bloom in early to mid-spring, sporting magnificent bursts of bold color. Some nurseries also offer seedlings that are unnamed, so it’s best to buy those when they are blooming so you can choose the colors you want.
Peony Planting Pointers
Peonies do best when tubers are planted in early fall, but will also thrive if planted in early spring. If you purchase peonies that have been grown in containers, they can be planted in your garden any time from early spring to early fall.
Location is of utmost importance as peonies don’t like to be disturbed after planting, and will thrive for years in the same place with proper care. Select a site where they will receive at least six hours of sunshine a day, although they will tolerate some shade. Peonies are unable to withstand strong winds, especially when they are heavy with blossoms. So choosing a sheltered area is a wise move early on. Also, make sure you plant your peonies far enough away from trees and shrubs so they won’t be robbed of nutrition and water.
Soil Needs, Tuber Selection, and Planting Tips
Both herbaceous and tree peonies prefer deep, humus-rich soil that is moist but well-drained. Amend your soil by adding well-rotted manure or compost if necessary before planting, working the soil to a depth of at least 1 1/2 feet. For optimum growth and blossom production, peonies prefer soil having a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
Select only very healthy tubers (or divisions) that have at least three eyes (growth buds) on each tuber. Tubers that appear soft, rotting or otherwise diseased should be avoided.
Now you’re finally ready to plant! Since mature peonies grow three to four feet high (and almost as wide!), space the tubers to allow ample growth between each plant. First, dig the holes large enough to plant the tubers with their eyes (growth buds) no deeper than two inches below the soil. Planting deeper may prevent them from blooming during their first year. Fill in the area around tubers with soil, then water regularly until frost (if planting in the fall). If planting in early spring, water on a regular basis throughout the summer.
Caring for Your Peonies
Peonies are NOT demanding plants, and will give you many days of pleasure throughout spring, summer, and even into late fall. However, there are a few things you should do to keep your peonies healthy and happy.
Watering on a regular basis is a necessity, especially during hot summer months. Fertilize your peonies when they are well established. Provide a good support for them, preferably BEFORE they come into full bloom with heavy flowers. Garden centers carry many types of supports for this purpose. Remove all spent blossoms; they aren’t pretty when faded and droopy, and removing them conserves your plant’s energy so it can produce new blossoms.
Watch for ANTS! Ants adore the nectar found on peonies — but peonies don’t return their affection. If ants are not kept in control they can prevent peony buds from opening. Peonies are prone to a disease called “botrytis” that causes buds to turn brown and leaves to become spotted. Should you see signs of botrytis on your plants, spray with copper fungicide, then remove and destroy all affected buds and leaves.
By following these simple guidelines, you can look forward to your peonies bringing you much beauty and pleasure for many years.
Congratulations, Indiana! You chose a real winner when you adopted the glorious peony as your Official State Flower.
With their delicately puffy blooms and vibrant pink hue, it’s nearly impossible not to get wrapped up in the peony hype. But, before you gather a new bouquet to dress up your kitchen windowsill, know that these springtime blooms can actually welcome some unwanted insects.
According to the University of Missouri’s Integrated Pest Management, peonies do, in fact, attract ants—but why? Essentially, because they’re so sweet (as if we didn’t already know that).
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Budding peonies secrete nectar that ants, in turn, rely on for food. Once ants discover this source of sustenance in your flowerbed, they’ll climb up the stem, take their fill, and then eventually move on to another plant for nourishment.
As for the plants themselves, florist Denise Fasanello says that absolutely no harm comes to these pretty perennials if there’s an ant invasion. “They’re not like flies or certain kids of aphids that you need spray to remove,” she says of the insects. “If you see them in your garden, they’re not going to destroy your plant at all.”
Fasanello also cites a common myth that peonies actually need ants to in order to bloom. “Peonies have kind of a sappy coating and there’s been this thought for a long time that the peonies in the garden need the ants to eat the sap, which allows them to open,” she explains. “But, they will open regardless of whether an ant is eating or licking the sap off.”
On the bright side, it’s incredibly easy to pluck peonies without bringing any critters into your home (no need to pull out the pesticides). For a tried-and-true method, Fasanello says she dips flower buds that haven’t fully opened in a bit of warm tap water. This helps ward off any ants and encourages the blooming process.
Blair Donovan Blair Donovan is a staff writer for CountryLiving.com, where she covers everything from the latest Joanna Gaines and “The Voice” news to home décor, gardening, DIY, and entertaining.
It is just about that time when peony buds burst forth and put on their late spring display. My mother loves her peonies and she gets very excited every year when they bloom. It’s adorable. However, she has always been disgusted by the amount of ants the peonies attract. Indeed, many people all over the internet seem to feel the same way. Growing up, I always wondered why the ants seemed to swarm all over peony buds, so I decided to look into it a little deeper.
There are many sources out there that claim that peonies need ants in order to bloom. To me, this seems very maladaptive on the part of the peony. The genus Paeonia is represented in Asia, Southern Europe and parts of western North America. I am going to assume that the ant/peony relationship didn’t start in the garden so it’s roots have to be somewhere in the evolutionary history of the plant. What sense does it make for a plant to produce flower buds that excrete sticky sugars that keep them from opening until something cleans the sugars off? In fact, despite anecdotal reports, peony buds will open without ants. So then why does the plant bother to produce sugars that attract ants?
Interestingly enough, despite a good amount of searching, there is not a lot of research done on this subject but the answer to this question can come from looking at how ants interact with other plants and animals. Many plant species have special glands on their stems that produce sugary secretions which attract ants. It’s not just plants either. Insects such as aphids and leafhoppers famously excrete honeydew that ants can’t resist. In each of these cases, organisms are using the ants’ natural tendency to guard a food source. The ants will viciously attack anything that threatens this easy meal.
It would seem to me that the peonies are doing just that with their flower buds. By secreting a sugary substance during their development, the plant are likely recruiting ants to protect the flowers, which for angiosperms, are the most precious part of the plant. It takes a lot out of a plant to flower and the threat of herbivory is ever present. If an insect tries to take a bite out of a bud, the ants quickly swarm and drive it off. It’s a win-win situation. The ants get an easy, high-energy food source and the plant suffers less damage to its reproductive organs.
The scary part to me in researching all of this is plethora of information out there on how to get rid of the ants. People go through chemical after chemical to rid their peonies of ants when, in reality, the ants are some of the best friends a peony could have! So leave those ants alone and enjoy the free pest removal services they provide every spring!
Natural Ways to Keep Ants Away
Ants have an integral place in the grand scheme of things, and they’re a part of nature. But it’s natural to not want them in your home or garden areas. Use natural methods, like plants and odors, to keep ants away from your property.
Spray Them Away
Ants eat plants, they build little dirt hills all over the place, and they’re generally unsightly. It’s harder to enjoy outdoor areas if you have an ant infestation, and it’s extremely uncomfortable to have them inside your home. Make your own natural ant-repelling sprays to keep these unattractive little insects away.
Fill a spray bottle with plain water. This is the base for your ant-repelling formula. Smells that will deter these pests won’t stink up your home, but should make it smell good instead. Add 5-6 drops of lemon juice to your water, and you’ve got an acidic solution that drives ants away. Alternatively, you can add 5-6 drops of essential cinnamon oil instead. Cinnamon smells sweet and pleasant to many human begins, but it has a bitter and very off-putting smell to ants.
Apply the solution to areas where you’ve noticed high ant traffic. Spray across doorways and around windows to keep ants out of the home. You can also pray the solution around the edges of your garden. You can even spray the solution directly on ant hills and other areas where you’ve noticed the ants.
Draw the Line
Draw a line that ants can’t cross with natural and easy-to-obtain materials.
Chalk – Draw a line around a window or piece of pavement with chalk. Ants won’t cross a line of chalk because it gets on their legs and interferes with the lines of scent they use to mark their paths.
Coffee – Unlike many humans, ants don’t like the smell of coffee. Save your old coffee grounds and strew them about your garden and outdoor areas. Place some around plant and flower beds and in sidewalk cracks. The grounds won’t harm your plants; in fact, coffee grounds make a good natural fertilizer. This may not be the best option if you have pets as it can be toxic to the,.
Cucumber – Save cucumber peels and small slices. Place them around areas of high ant activity. The smellier the cucumber, the more effective it will be at repelling ants.
Grow Natural Ant Repellents
Add plants that naturally give off odors ants can’t stand, and keep them away from all your outdoor areas. Used as houseplants, the same herbs can be used to repel ants indoors.
Herbs – Growing peppermint, lavender, and fennel will keep ants out of your garden areas. Plant one or more of these herbs near your doors, and ants won’t want to go inside your home.
Fresh Smells – Cut fresh sprigs of sage from your garden, and place them inside cupboards and closets. The sage has a pleasant smell to humans, and a terrible smell to ants.
Garlic water – Use a clove of garlic and water to create a strong-smelling solution of garlic water. Spray this in any outdoor areas that are strongly affected by ants. This solution smells strong even to humans, so you may wish to use this only as a last resort.
It’s natural to hate ants, but it’s not natural to use man-made chemicals to keep them away. Make your own natural ant repellents instead, and keep them out of the areas that matter to you.
Ants are valuable parts of the ecosystem and do a lot to keep our world green and growing, but they can be a real pest in the garden. It’s no fun to walk out to pick some vegetables only to suffer ant bites. It’s essential to know how to keep ants out of your garden to make sure that it stays pleasant and inviting.
When we know how to keep ants out of vegetable garden areas, we can enjoy nature’s bounty and not worry about insect attacks. This guide helps you find the best ways of getting rid of ants in your backyard and garden.
In this article, you’ll find some excellent non-lethal methods of getting rid of ants without harming them. We also show you how to kill ants in your yard with simple household products. Before long, your yard will be ant-free, and your family will be smiling.
Keeping Ants Out of the Garden
Ants don’t mean to cause harm, and they do a lot of good for the planet. That’s why you should first try to drive ants out of the garden using a natural way to get rid of ants. There are lots of ways to get rid of ants in your flower beds without killing them, and a few methods will improve your garden as they keep ants away.
Non-Lethal Options and Plants that Repel Ants
This section looks at ways of repelling ants without harming them. You’ll learn how simple products such as coffee and dish soap can keep your ants at bay. We also show you the plants that are the best natural ant repellent options around. You’re sure to find a non-lethal ant control option that suits your needs.
Keep the Ants Away with Coffee Grounds
Coffee isn’t just a refreshing beverage you drink to perk up in the mornings. Used coffee grounds are beneficial around the house and can discourage stray cats from using your lawn as a litter box. They’re also a great way to get rid of carpenter ants naturally and eliminate fire ants, black ants, red ants, and other species of ants as well, without risking injury to your family or pets.
After you finish your morning pot of coffee, collect the wet grounds. Sprinkle them around the garden and in any areas you want to protect from ants. Ants don’t like the strong coffee smell, which interferes with their scent-based communication. As a result, they’ll avoid walking on those spots where you sprinkled the grounds.
Repel Ants with Baking Soda
There is an excellent way for how to get rid of sugar ants with an ingredient likely already in your pantry. Baking soda is a fantastic household product that you can use for a million different purposes. Keep several boxes on hand to use whenever you need it.
You can brush your teeth with it, use it as a laundry detergent, and place it in your fridge to absorb odors. Baking soda makes an excellent ant repellent, as well.
Like coffee grounds, you can use baking soda and not worry about harming other creatures, which makes it ideal for repelling ants. It’s one of the best home remedies for garden pests and other insects that you’ll find.
Baking Soda Ant Repellent
- 1 cup baking soda
- Small rake
Don the gloves, and use the rake to smooth the area you want to protect. Sprinkle the baking soda on the ground, making sure to leave a layer everywhere the ants might walk. Reapply baking soda about once a week or after it rains.
Discourage the Ants with Dish Soap
Liquid dish soap is another multi-talented kitchen product. Dish soap is excellent for all sorts of activities, including cleaning clothes and killing fleas on your pets.
It makes a fantastic ant repellent, as well, and is one of the top natural ways to keep them off of your plants. The dish soap won’t harm your loved ones or the plants as it takes care of your ant problem either.
Dish Soap Ant Repellent Recipe
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 tsp liquid dish soap
- 5 drops essential oil
- Spray bottle
Combine the soap and water, and fill the spray bottle. Add the essential oil of your choice to improve the scent and add extra ant-repelling power. Spray all plants that you want to protect from ants.
Repeat after rainstorms. You can increase the soap percentage if required, but a stronger solution can harm plants, so exercise caution.
Drive the Ants out with Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is more than just a condiment. It’s a source of capsaicin, which gives hot peppers their heat and bite. Cayenne is an ingredient in many pepper sprays and is a natural ant repellent. You can use cayenne to keep the ants at bay.
Cayenne Pepper Ant Repellent
- Rubber gloves
- Safety glasses or goggles
- Mask or respirator
- Cayenne pepper
- Small rake
Sprinkle cayenne in the same fashion as you would baking soda. Cover any traffic areas and spots you want to protect from ant infestations.
If it rains, reapply the cayenne pepper. Always wear safety equipment when handling cayenne pepper to avoid irritating your eyes and nose.
Get Some Plants that Repel Ants
Ant-repelling plants are a boon to your garden. Lots of plants have natural defenses against insects, and you can use that to your advantage to guard against ant infestations. Adding plants that repel ants to your garden is a healthy and green solution to your pest control issue.
Plants that repel ants also attract beneficial insects to your yard and improve your garden’s health. Lavender is an excellent choice for your garden and will keep ants away in droves while gracing you with a pleasant fragrance.
Mint is another excellent choice, and as a bonus, you can use the leaves for tea and cooking. Rosemary takes care of ant issues, too. Always check your local conditions before planting.
How to Kill Ants in Your Yard
Sometimes, the non-lethal options don’t do the job. If you’ve tried our ant repellent options and still have an infestation, you might need to reach for a homemade ant killer spray. Want to find out how to get rid of carpenter ants in trees?
We’ve got your answer and can help you get rid of your garden and yard ants, too. This section looks at lethal ways to keep ants out of your garden.
You’ll get some options for killing ants that require only a few ingredients. We show you how to knock out your ant hills with boiling water and diatomaceous earth, and you’ll also get a fantastic recipe for a lethal ant trap.
Kill the Ants with Boiling Water
The best solutions are often ones that have the fewest moving parts. That’s certainly the case with boiling water, which is an excellent method for killing both surface ants and the queens of most ant species deep in the ground. Use boiling water in any spot you wish to protect, but take care not to splash water on plants, as exposure to boiling water will kill them.
Boiling Water Ant Killer Recipe
- A large pot of boiling water
- Long-sleeved shirt and long pants
- Thick thermal gloves or hot pads
Don the clothing and gloves. Carefully carry the pot of water to the garden, and pour it on any anthills and ant populations you see. Remember that the ant colony extends deep into the ground, so you’ll need to use a lot of water and repeat the action a few times before you kill the queen and eliminate the colony.
Eliminate the Ants with Diatomaceous Earth
There are a few effective ant killers you can make at home, such as a great homemade fire ant killer with vinegar. When you want to get rid of every ant, though, one of your best choices is diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth is made of microscopic algae fossils. It dehydrates ants, roaches, and other insects within a few days.
You’ll need to use food-grade diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle it on the ground near nests and ant trails, and wait. A few days later, the ants will begin dying. This method only works if you don’t have rain and don’t water the area around the ant mound.
Make a Homemade Ant Trap
You can always build ant traps if the other methods don’t do the trick. Ants love sugar and ignore warning signs to consume it, which makes it perfect ant bait. When you combine sugar with Borax or boric acid, which is toxic to both animals and humans, you have a can’t-miss ant trap that will kill your unwelcome residents in a hurry.
Homemade Ant Trap
- ¼ cup Borax
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup of warm water
- Cotton balls
Mix the warm water and sugar until dissolved. Add the Borax, and allow it to dissolve, as well. Soak the cotton balls in the solution, and let them dry. Place the cotton balls around the garden and near traffic areas and ant hills.
Ants can be a problem elsewhere, as well. Keep ants out of hummingbird feeder by putting an ant moat of water around the nectar or spread a little petroleum jelly on the hanger that holds up the feeder. Both will trap the ants before they can get to the nectar.
We hope you enjoyed our ant repellent guide. Keeping ants out of your garden can be a full-time job if you don’t know what to do.This information can help you find the ultimate ant control option for your needs. With our assistance and gardening tips, your ant woes will soon be at an end.
Thanks very much for reading our ant prevention tips. If this guide on how to keep ants out of your garden helped you, please share it on Facebook and Pinterest.
21 Natural Ways To Get Rid of Ants
In spring, summer, and fall, the insect world is alive and well. And the most active of them all are ants. They can build mounds in your yard, making their way into potted plants, and invade your kitchen and garage. So what can you do to get rid of these pesky critters? We’ve put together a list of 21 natural solutions to resolve annoying ant invasions — of any variety — without the use of harsh chemicals!
Natural Ant Deterrents
- Cornmeal Deterrent: To keep ants from crawling up the pole of the hummingbird feeder, sprinkle cornmeal around the base of the pole, post, or tree. Reapply as needed.
- Keep Shrubs In Check: Don’t plant trees or shrubs close to the house. Clip any tree branches or bushes that are touching the house to prevent ants from crawling up the trees and into your home. This is a common way that carpenter ants enter. They can cause structural damage to your home, as they make tunnels through the wood.
- Fahrenheit 212º: To eradicate an ant colony, carefully pour hot boiling water directly on an ant mound. Hot water is also one of our weed and grass killing remedies, so avoid pouring it onto the lawn where grass and plants are growing.
- DE to the Rescue: Are ants making a trail across your deck or porch? Use food-grade Diatomaceous earth, a fine silica powder that provides a natural abrasive barrier to crawling insects. While the tiny crystals aren’t harmful to humans (just don’t breathe it in, especially if you have asthma), it kills insects, including ants. Sprinkle the powder directly onto an ant trail. It also works in flower beds: cover any ant mounds with the powder. Stir with a long stick and apply more diatomaceous earth. If the powder does not come in contact with all of the ants in the colony, you may need to apply more than once. Be careful not to apply diatomaceous to flower petals, or anywhere bees may land.
- Baking Soda Remedy: To destroy an ant colony, dust the ant mound with baking soda and then spray with full strength white vinegar.
- A-Peel-ing Advice: Ants don’t like the smell of citrus. Save and dry peels from oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Grind them and spread near entry points, in flower beds and potted plants to deter ants.
- The Mini Moat Trick: To prevent ants from getting in your pet’s food bowl, build a mini moat around it. Select a lid or tray that is larger than the bowl and fill it with water. Place the bowl in the center to form a barrier ants will not swim across. Refill/change water as needed.
- Better Than Hopscotch: Ants will not cross a chalk line. Draw a chalk line in front of exterior doors, to prevent ants from coming in the house. You can also draw a chalk line around tables on the porch or patio, to keep pesky ants away while dining outdoors. Get the kids involved!
- Save Those Coffee Grounds: To create a barrier that ants won’t cross, sprinkle used coffee grounds long the edge of a flower or raised garden bed, at the base of your house and entry points.
- Minty Fresh Cure: To repel ants in the kitchen and bathroom, place several drops of peppermint essential oil on cotton balls and place them on counter tops, in cabinets and pantry, near the garbage container, and other places that attract ants.
- DIY Ant Spray: Mix 4 oz. water, 2 tablespoons vodka along with 15 drops of peppermint essential oil and 5 drops of cinnamon essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake and spray as needed, indoors or out. Doubles as a room freshener!
- Clean and Repel: To a cup measure, add 2 tablespoons of Dr. Bonner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap, 15 drops of peppermint essential oil, and 5 drops of fir needle or Tea Tree essential oil. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into a bucket containing one gallon of hot water. Stir, and use to mop washable floors.
- Bait ‘Em With Borax: Combine equal parts of powdered Borax laundry booster, and powdered sugar. Add several tablespoons onto a jar lid and set out for ants to find. The sugar will attract the ants, they’ll take the mixture back to their colony and ingest the fatal borax. Keep out of reach of pets or children. Works against roaches, too.
- Borax-Free Bait: No Borax? No problem. Try mixing equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar together. Follow steps above.
- Cinnamon Stick Trick: Place cinnamon sticks near window sills to discourage ants from creeping in. To amp up the fragrance, add a few drops of cinnamon oil to the cinnamon sticks.
- Ants-Be-Gone Spray: Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and lemon juice in a spray bottle, and gently shake. Spray around windows and door frames to stop ants from entering. Spray ants spotted in the home to eradicate them.
- Ants In Your Plants? To keep ants from making a home in your houseplants or potted plants on the porch, place the containers on a tray filled with water to create a protective barrier. Or, sprinkle cinnamon powder around the plant container, or immerse a cinnamon stick into the soil.
- Check For Leaks: Inspect your house to make sure it is sealed tightly around plumbing and any openings with weather stripping to prevent ants from entering your home.
- Wood Culprit: Don’t stack firewood near the house, or store firewood indoors except when ready to burn. Also, remove rotting trees and limbs from your yard where ants like to build homes.
- Lemon Repels: Spray sinks, counters, and table tops daily with lemon scented cleaner to remove food particles, residue, and lingering odors that ants find attractive.
- Tansy To the Rescue: Ants hate tansy! Grow tansy, the pretty yellow flowering herb outdoors near the entrance of your home, and as a companion plant to keep ants out of your garden. Place dried tansy near window sills to repel ants.
Do you have any great ideas to keep ants out? Share them with us and our readers in the comments section, below!
Keeping Ants Off Flowering Vines, Vegetables and Flowers
Nothing can ruin the beauty of a lovely flower vine faster than a parade of little black ants crawling all over the blossoms, and the same goes for your other flowers and vegetables. The ants are after the tasty nectar inside the blossoms but that does not change the fact that they are interfering with the view of your plant. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to keep ants off your plants and rid them from the garden.
How to Keep Ants Off Flowering Vines, Vegetables and Flowers
- Place ant deterring smells around the base of the plant – There are a few things that ants do not seem to like the smell of. Some of these things are mint or cinnamon. Try laying some mint or cinnamon flavored gum around the base of the affected plant. Or just sprinkle some cinnamon around the base of the plant.
- Place ant killing food around the base of the plant – There are several recipes that can be used for this. One is to mix equal amount of borax and sugar and place this around the base of the plant. The mixture will kill any ant that eats it. Cornmeal and sugar is also a good mixture to try. The cornmeal will expand after it is eaten and will also kill the ants.
- Make an ant trap – Make a collar out of a piece of paper to trap ants. To do this, cut out a circle that is at least 8 inches wide. Make a cut to the center of the circle and cut a small hole in the center that is wide enough to fit loosely round the base of the plant. Smear one side of the paper with Vaseline. Place the collar, Vaseline side up, around the base of the plant. The ants will get stuck in the Vaseline.
- Remove the ants’ scent trail – Ants send out scouts to find new sources of food. These scouts will leave a scent trail for other ants to follow to the food (which is why you normally see ants walking in a straight line. They are all following the scent trail.). Removing this scent trail will remove the directions to the flowering vine. Observe what path the ants are taking to get to your plant. Take a cloth soaked with bleach or ammonia and lay the cloth over as much of that path as possible. Do not pour bleach or ammonia directly onto the soil, as this can damage the roots of the plant.
- Plant ant repelling plants in the area – Plants like henbit, geranium, garlic, aster, calendula, chrysanthemum and mint are known to deter ants and other garden pests. Planting these plants around the affected plant will help to keep ants away.
If you follow some of these tips, soon your ant problem will be gone and your will be able to enjoy your ant free garden.