We all want that prize winning lawn. But how do we achieve a fantastic looking yard if there are ugly ant mounds all over the place?
Naturally, we want to get rid of them without hurting our plants. So how do you kill ants without killing grass?
Here are 4 simple ways and some bonus tips you can try at home.
Top Ant Killing Solutions
Use Soap and Water
Killing ants in your lawn is delicate work. You have to keep your kids and pets from getting affected by the pesticide as well as keeping the grass safe. So when in doubt, try the easiest remedy first. In this case, it’s applying soapy water on ant mounds.
Mix ecofriendly soap with water in a spray bottle and liberally spray the ant nest with your solution. You can also go full throttle by dumping a bucket full of the same solution. The soapy water will drown ants and poison them.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a talcum-powder-looking insecticide that’s made from diatoms, a group of algae found in several bodies of water. The repellent comes from the fossilized versions of these prehistoric plants.
According to Gardening Know How, it’s mineral based so it’s got magnesium, sodium, iron, calcium, silicon and other trace minerals. These don’t just kills ants and other insects; they make your greens grow better.
To kill ants without killing grass, dust this powder on your lawn. Sprinkle it into ant-infested areas. You can also put it around plants to protect them from ant invaders.
Diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating ants to death. It cuts through the ant’s waxy layer with its sharp particles, penetrates its body and kills it slowly by absorbing the moisture inside.
Remember to only buy FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth. The one that’s used for pool filters is not something you should use for your yard because they have a completely different chemical makeup.
Use Chili Pepper
Another treatment you can explore is chili pepper. Sprinkle the spice on the ant mount to repel ants. Some homeowners even mix the pepper with coffee grounds to make it more effective. But, coffee’s effectiveness on ants remains to be proven.
For the surest way to kill ants without killing grass, use baits.
Baits can be natural or store bought, but they all have one thing in common – they get rid of ants without bombing the entire lawn with chemicals.
But if you’re new to baiting, it’s a pretty easy treatment. It’s stationed near ant-infested places to lure ants with food, and it gives them a slow-acting poison that spreads throughout their colony. Since ants forage in grass, it’s a great pest control method for your lawn.
Interested? Read what kind of ant baits to use and how to install them here.
What You Should NOT Do to Your Yard
So we showed you a couple of treatments that can kill ants without killing grass. There are plenty more out there (check them out here). But if you really want to explore your options, you have to know that not all treatments work well. In fact, a lot of them just zap your greens dead.
Here are some of the things that you shouldn’t be doing to your ant-infested grass:
- dumping salt or salt water on the lawn – salt sucks water out of plants and kills them
- spraying borax into ant infested spots – borax is lethal to plants, not to mention harmful to pets that love to play outside
- dumping large amounts of cinnamon – it has a good reputation when it comes to gardening, but there are some cases where cinnamon can kill grass
- pouring hot water on ant mounts
- spraying vinegar - this treatment is more of a gamble; vinegar can kill a plant by drying out its top growth
All in all, there are multiple ways to kill ants without killing grass. But when it comes right down to it, many biologists and ecologists will vouch for ants as helpful members of your garden. That’s because they eat the larvae of some plant-destroying insects.
So it's not a bad idea to get rid of any kind of ant just to be in the safe side.