The Q&A Archives: Ants in flower bed

Question: I have tons of ants in my flower bed. They make mounds right in the middle of some of my plants. How do I get rid of them and keep them from coming back? Also these are the ants that sting and bite.

Answer: I have used two things successfully when dealing with ants. The first is a homemade bug spray: 1 gallon water, 1/2 tsp. eucalyptus oil, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, 1 tbsp. dishwashing liquid. Combine all ingredients and shake well. Pour liquid into a spray bottle. When applying shake often to keep components evenly distributed. This "potion" works well on ants and aphids in particular (cats don't like it much either). The second remedy should be kept out of the reach of children and pets: Make a paste out of boric acid powder and sweetened condensed milk. Add powder and condensed milk until you have a consistency somewhat like fudge. Roll into small balls and place balls where ants are a problem. The ants will carry the bait back to their nest where they share it with other ants who ingest it and die. When using this remedy outside place the balls in a sheltered area where the rain won't melt the bait and in such a way that children and pets can't get to them. There is also an inedible herb called Tansy which works well as an ant (and other insect) repellent, try planting a few in your garden containers. It is an attractive flower, the flower heads are often used in dried flower arrangements. Tansy is available from Burpee at 1-800-888-1447. Remember though, it is not an edible herb.

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