How To Treat Your Whole Yard For Ants

How To Treat Your Whole Yard For Ants

When it comes to lawn maintenance, ants tend to be unwelcome guests. There are many different ways to rid your entire lawn of ants, some being more eco friendly than others. When it comes to extermination, everything from chemicals to vinegar is used.

You’re walking in your yard, enjoying the crisp air, admiring all the hard work you’ve put into your lawn. Lovely, until you hit a fresh mound of ants, burrowing their way into the grass, and more likely than not, your patience. It’s a headache, we know, and we’re here to help. Keep reading for all the tips and tricks for ridding your lawn of ants. 

Why Is My Yard Infested With Ants?

Why Is My Yard Infested With Ants

There are a couple of different reasons your lawn is infested with ants. While you might not appreciate the infestation, the ants in your yard are drawn to the environment and the abundance of nutrition it supplies. 

Environment

Ants are attracted to dry, low-traffic soil. Unfortunately, your yard is a perfect candidate for this. The area is well-drained and provides the necessary shelter for the ants to maintain and grow in population. 

Food Source

Areas with concentrated grass provide an excellent form of nutrition for ants. Just what you wanted to hear, we know. Aphids are insects that are common on both inside and outside plants. They tend to live in grass and secrete a clear sticky substance called honeydew. The honeydew they secrete happens to be one of ants favorite meals, in turn drawing them to the grass. 

Why Are There So Many Ant Hills In My Yard?

Ant Hills

If your lawn provides ants with the means to survive, there is a high chance you will see an increase in anthills. Ants seek water, food, and shelter. Considering your yard checks all three boxes, ants will begin to build nests, resulting in anthills.

Ant Hills

Ants build underground nests and form tunnels through the soil. Simply put, anthills consist of the dirt removed and piled up when tunnels and nests are created. If your yard is infested with ants, the chances that anthills are popping up are high. 

Because all necessities for survival are provided, ants will begin to dig intricate tunnels, necessary to increase the population. The deeper and longer the ants have to create these underground networks, the more ant hills will pile up, and getting rid of them becomes more difficult. 

Are Ants In The Lawn Bad?

Though they may be annoying, not all ants are bad news for your lawn. There are pros and cons to leaving the ant population unharmed. Let’s break it down..

Pro’s

  • Ants eat dead insects, reducing the source of food for other, potentially more harmful pests.
  • They scavenge for food, meaning they will get rid of most anything you do not want on your lawn.
  • Ants digest dead insects, turning it into fertilizer beneficial to the lawn.

Con’s

  • If the grass is freshly planted, ants are likely to eat the seed, leaving the remaining grass patchy and uneven.
  • When it comes time to mow, the mower tends to get stuck on the uneven ground, and the mower blade gets caught up in lumps of dirt.
  • Because they burrow into the ground, ants can disrupt and loosen soil, lowering the success rate of seed germination.
  • Aesthetically speaking, the mounds ants leave behind reduce curb appeal.
  • Anthills smother grass, reducing the overall consistency of your lawn. 

How Do I Get Rid Of Ants In My Lawn Without Killing The Grass?

While there are many ways to get rid of ants, extermination without killing the grass can be difficult. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Most chemicals are not great options when it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn, but there are a few exceptions.

Soap

While it may sound strange, soap and water is a good way to rid your lawn of ants. This homemade solution sticks to ants and the soap suffocates them. Be sure to use an eco-friendly soap, as harsh products may affect your grass.

Mix both together in a spray bottle. In order to maintain a healthy lawn, use only one part soap and two parts water. Spray the solution on the areas affected. For anthills, spray a larger portion of liquid. Do not complete this process in the direct sunlight, or during the hottest part of the day, as your grass will overheat.

Diatomaceous Earth

Safer 51703 Diatomaceous Earth-Bed Bug Flea, Ant, Crawling Insect Killer 4 lb

It’s a mouthful, and you’re probably wondering what it is. Diatomaceous earth (say that 5 times fast) is a form of silica, made up of fossilized plankton. This powder works by dehydrating ants, drying up the oils in their exoskeleton, which in turn kills the ant. This is a popular solution, for several different reasons. 

Diatomaceous earth is 2 for 1. In other words, because it is composed mainly of minerals, it rids the area of ants, while fertilizing the soil. There are two main ways to apply the solution to your lawn. 

One, being to simply sprinkle the powder over the areas infested with ants. If the weather tends to be particularly windy, the powder can be mixed into water (4 tablespoons of diatomaceous per gallon), and applied. 

This method takes anywhere from 7-17 days to fully kill off the ant population. 

Chemicals

Chemicals can get a bad rap, and for a good reason. However, there are a select few chemicals that are not harmful to outdoor plants or grass. Bifenthrin, for example, is used to combat most ant infestations.

Bifenthrin attacks ants’ nervous systems, and in most cases instantaneously kills ants in contact. Not only is it an effective ant killer, but is commonly used for other pest problems. Depending on the severity of the ants, it should be re-applied via a spray bottle every 2 to 3 months. 

How Do I Get Rid Of Ant Colonies In My Yard Naturally?

As discussed above, there are many different ways to rid your yard of ant colonies. If none of the discussed solutions sounded particularly lovely, that’s okay. There are several more natural ways to rid your yard of ant colonies.

Raking

While it may sound too simple, raking anthills is a great first step in exterminating ants. Ants are constantly building new hills and tunnels. The further they get into the construction, the harder they become to remove. By continuously raking the mounds as they appear, the less likely they are to stay, as the network of tunnels is under stress too often. 

Bait

TERRO T1812SR Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Stakes-2 Pack, Clear

Bait is a safe, natural approach to getting rid of the current ant problem, and maintaining a healthy lawn. Most options are durable through weather and climate changes, and chemicals are not openly exposed to your lawn.

Place the bait in areas heavily concentrated with ants. It contains food ants commonly eat, with an added insecticide, designed to kill off the ant population in your yard. This particular solution takes time, and patience is key with this approach. 

This solution is best for those without pets and children, as the insecticide in the bait is not safe to consume.

Will Vinegar Kill Ants Outside?

No, vinegar does not kill ants, but it does deter them. If your goal is to get rid of ants without killing them, vinegar is your go to. It is safe for pets and households with children, as no insecticide is included.

Vinegar works for several different reasons. One being the smell. Ants cannot stand the smell of vinegar (honestly, we don’t blame them). They will avoid any area vinegar has been applied, and will begin to find shelter elsewhere. 

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Not only does vinegar detract ants, it also confuses them. Ants crawl in a straight line towards food sources. Vinegar interferes with the pheromones ants use to locate their food, causing them to lose their way. Without access to a continuous food source, the ants will eventually leave.

There are two ways to use vinegar to combat ants. One, being to mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and apply the solution on affected areas. Another option is to spray concentrated vinegar on the affected areas. While the second solution will get rid of ants faster, the smell will also be more potent. 

Vinegar should be used on small colonies of ants, as the larger the colony, the more difficult it becomes to permanently deter the ants.

Last update on 2022-10-01 / Affiliate links / Somes Images and Data from Amazon Product Advertising API