ants - Knowledgebase Question

Chandler, Ar
Avatar for rpmiller3
Question by rpmiller3
August 22, 2010
I have black ants all the time in my yard. I dont have food or garbage in the yard and when I use ant pellets, I assume they move from that area and take residence somewhere else. I find them in the cracks near my foundation, in my grass, near the base of a tree, random places in the yard and in the garden. They are not in my front yard! What do I do?

Answer from NGA
August 22, 2010
For the most part, ants do not cause any serious problems in yards and gardens. Exceptions to this are the species that bite or protect aphids. Ant hills in flowerbeds and lawn areas can become a nuisance, however, as can ants that come indoors when foraging for food, returning to outdoor nests. If you have ant colonies that you wish to control, there are several things you can do. A good least-toxic method is the use of boric acid baits. Boric acid baits can eliminate some ant colonies in about one week. The trick is to not kill the ants at the bait station, but to get the ants to carry the boric acid back to the nest, poisoning the members of the colony that never leave the nest. Most ants feed either on sugars or on protein, fats, or oils. To see which type you have, place small dabs of jelly and peanut butter (not mixed) where ants are seen and watch which food they are attracted to. If they are attracted to the jelly, you can make a boric acid bait by mixing one-half cup jelly, such as apple jelly, with 1 1/4 tsp boric acid powder. Punch several holes in the lid of the jar, then screw the lid on tightly and seal with tape. The holes should be large enough for the ants to pass through to reach the bait. Place the bait jar on its side where the ants will come in contact with it. If the ants are unable to gain footing on the jar lid, you might want to scratch the surface with sandpaper or a pebble. If the ants are attracted to peanut butter, use that for your bait rather than jelly. If you find many dead ants around the bait station, which ever bait you use, lower the amount of boric acid in the mixture. If you are still finding live ants after a week to 10 days, increase the amount of boric acid. Although boric acid is of very low toxicity, it is best to place bait jars where children and pets cannot reach them. Another approach is to try to find their nests and pour boiling water directly onto the nests. A third approach is to use pellets or Sevin dust around the perimeter of your home to keep the ants away. I don't think you'll be able to completely eliminate the nests in your yard but by starting from your house and working your way out with pellets or Sevin dust, and then strategically placing some boric acid baits in your garden and yard, you should be able to keep them as far away from your home as possible. Hope this information helps!

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