The Q&A Archives: Controlling Ants without Harming Seeds/Seedlings

Question: I have so many ants in the raised beds of my kitchen garden that I put out ant traps the other day. Now I'm wondering though if the poison in the traps will poison the lettuce or the seeds that are germinating. We had about 3 inches of rain yesterday and I wondered also what effect that might have. It's too late for boiling water. I wouldn't want to put soapy water in the dirt, would I? Thanks for your help. Kate Greenstreet Belford, NJ

Answer: I don't think you should worry about the any bait inhibiting the lettuce seeds from germinating. They should grow fine. Just stop using the any bait so it is flushed from the soil and the lettuce can grow pesticide free. I don't think there is a big concern about the ant bait poisoning the lettuce, but I'd rather be on the safe side. Soapy water isn't a good idea because it will kill the young lettuce seedling. Unless the ants seem to be bothering the plants, I wouldn't worry about them. If they seem to harm the plants, flush out the area with plain water, if the rains haven't already discouraged them, to remove them from living in your raised bed. You can also try spreading moth balls around the raised bed to create a bad smelling environment for the ants.

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