Ants put the respect for nature to the test when they infest the garden in hordes. Unfortunately, the important functions of beneficial insects for our ecosystem go hand in hand with some behaviors that make a stay in the garden unbearable. The insects prefer to attack herb beds, compost and lawns in order to create their nests here. This guide is packed with helpful tips and instructions on how to successfully drive away ants and fight them without toxins.

Beneficial organisms with annoying habits

With impressive achievements, ants make a significant contribution to the balance in our ecosystem. To call the superlative insects pests is not real. A medium ant colony prey on up to 100,000 invertebrates every day. There are also a number of herbivorous insects on their menu, such as leaf beetle larvae or butterfly caterpillars. As omnivores, the hardworking workers of various European species clear up fresh carrion, which prevents the spread of rot and diseases. This turns ants into helpful pest killers and powerful health police in the ornamental and kitchen garden. In doing so, the tiny creatures develop astonishing strength. The insects easily lift several times their own weight. For example, red wood ants do not have any problems,

That said, from the gardener’s point of view, ants have some bad habits that make them unpopular. Her primary weakness for the sugary excretions of aphids is to be mentioned here. For a rich harvest of sweet honeydew, workers move all kinds of lice to the most promising plants near the nest. In an emergency, the defensive insects defend their “milking cattle” vehemently against attacks by predators. A cozy construction in the herb bed, compost or lawn, however, does not prevent the pests from invading the house cheekily. In summer, ants spoil carefree barefoot walking on the lawn with painful bites and relaxing in the grass.

Two species of ants in the garden

If you struggle with ants in the herb bed, compost and lawn, it is mostly the black garden ant or the yellow garden ant. Since the black garden ant is particularly widespread, it is often referred to as the garden ant. Yellow garden ants prefer to colonize grassy areas, which is what their second name, meadow ant, refers to. We have summarized the outstanding properties of the two most common ant species below:

Black garden ant, garden ant (Lasius niger)

  • Black to dark brown colored body with fine hair on the abdomen
  • Body length workers and males: 3-5 mm
  • Body length queens: 8-9 mm
  • Maximum size of states: 40,000 workers
  • Preferred places to live: in beds under stones, in tree bark and crevices, sometimes in compost
  • Primary food: honeydew from lice, various insects
  • Special feature: occasional intrusion into houses

Yellow garden ant, meadow ant (Lasius flavus)

  • Delicate yellow to brown-yellow colored body (queens clearly darker)
  • Body length workers and males: 2-4 mm
  • Body length queens: 7-9 mm
  • Maximum size of states: 100,000 workers
  • Preferred places to live: under lawns,
  • Primary food: honeydew from root lice and the lice themselves
  • Special feature: piles up small mounds in the lawn

Although yellow garden ants build larger colonies, encounters with black garden ants are much more common in the garden. The reason is the pronounced mobility of garden ants. Yellow garden ants operate underground root lice breeding in order to harvest the honeydew or to eat the lice in summer. In contrast, the black garden ant workers swarm daily to catch prey or to milk lice.

Relocate instead of destroy

If ants in the herb bed, compost and lawn for Plage are it does not follow the handle to radical fighting agents. Instead of exterminating an entire people, they simply relocate them. This is how moving to a conflict-free location works:

  • Pad the flower pots with wood wool
  • Stand with the open side down on the ant trail
  • Put a pot over every hill in the lawn
  • Wait a while

The workers cannot resist the inviting upholstery for long. Busy moving activities set in within a few days and weeks. The ants carry the offspring piggyback into the flower pot in single file. If workers have no more light-colored dolls in their luggage, the move is complete. Now slide a spade under the clay nest and carry it to a new, quiet location at least 30 meters away.

Scare off ants

In the course of millions of years of evolution, ants have developed a sophisticated system of sensitive sensory organs. This includes a sensitive sense of smell, which is an effective deterrent method against the insects. When workers are exposed to intense rumors, they lose their bearings and run away with the brood. A colorful array of essential and similarly strong fragrances has proven itself in practice to drive ants out of herb beds, compost and lawn:

  • Lard lemon wedges with cloves and place on nest or walkway
  • Spread the eucalyptus, juniper, laurel, thyme or chervil
  • Pour solution of camphor and alcohol into an atomizer to spray construction or walkway
  • Scatter cinnamon, chili powder and black pepper
  • Spray vinegar on frequently frequented places

A combination of different repellants has proven to be particularly effective. Do not be afraid to interweave the recommended strategies for maximum success. The more intensely the sensitive sense of smell is maltreated, the faster the uninvited guests pack their suitcases.

Tip: Diatomite is on the rise in the ecological control of pests and pests in the garden. The remedy consists of purely natural silicon dioxide, created over millions of years from the shells of diatoms. Finely ground the preparation is scattered and forms a layer of dust that acts on ants like a minefield made of razor-sharp broken glass.

Fight poison-free

If gentle methods, such as resettlement or scare-off, fail, troubled gardeners put on harder bandages in the fight against annoying ants. The use of chemical insecticides is not only frowned upon, it is superfluous. Tried and tested methods dispense with toxic components. How to get rid of ants in the herb patch, compost and lawn without toxins:


The classic beer trap kills ants and should only be considered when the infestation pressure is high. Pick up a flat jar with vertical walls. Fill this with a mixture of stale beer and a spoonful of honey. Set up near an ant road, the seductive scent magically attracts the workers. The temptation costs the insects their lives because they plunge into the liquid and drown.

Note: Baking soda has fallen into twilight as a means of combating ants. On the one hand, there is a very unreliable success rate. Above all, however, female workers suffer an agonizing death after consumption or mere physical contact with the alkaline substance.

Attrition tactics

If you have discovered a nest in the lawn, you can get rid of the penetrating people with a poison-free attrition tactic. To do this, repeatedly submerge the construction. Since ants have a pronounced aversion to water, they will sooner or later run away. It is important to note that this strategy is primarily intended for an infested lawn. In the herb bed or compost heap, excess water can have negative consequences, such as drowned plants and washed away organic matter.


When nematodes find their way into herb beds, compost and lawns, ants run away as a result. The tiny nematodes of the Steinernema feltiae species have proven to be an effective protective aid for affected home gardeners in non-toxic ant control. Female workers perceive nematodes as a threat to their offspring. They carry the dolls away with high pressure, with the queens in tow. The particular advantage of the nematode method is that you do not destroy the colony. The roundworms are bred in special farms. The tiny creatures are delivered in a clay mineral and should be spread out in the garden as soon as possible. How to do it right:

  • Best time from May at 12 to 22 degrees Celsius
  • Stir into a watering can with water within 3 days of delivery
  • Equip the spout with bars and distribute the mixture on infested areas
  • Then briefly shower all treated areas with fresh water

It is a purely biological remedy that you can safely use in the family garden. Use the support of nematodes on a regular basis, prevent an infestation and do not have to worry about the pests in the first place. It is advisable to add fresh roundworms to the garden every four weeks from May to August. Continuous soil moisture also contributes significantly to success.

Indirect strategy

Black garden ants have literally domesticated aphids, milk the sweet honeydew, carry them to the best food sources and rigorously defend the pests against cockchafer and other enemies. By targeting lice, you are depriving the colony of an important food source. Ultimately, the hungry ants migrate to colonize new grazing grounds. Even though you missed the target with combating lice, you still hit the mark because you are finally rid of the plague. As a positive side effect, your ornamental and useful plants can relax and develop splendidly. How to control aphids with soapy water:

  • Dissolve 40 milliliters of pure core or soft soap in 1 liter of warm water
  • Stir in a few drops of alcohol
  • Fill into a spray bottle
  • Spray on the top and bottom of the leaves at intervals of 2 to 3 days

So that yellow garden ants can no longer feast on the honeydew of root lice, control is a bit more difficult. Root lice are mainly found in the root area of ​​plants, so that the soap solution has no effect here. Repeated dousing with tansy broth destroys the root lice colony and eventually drives away the ants. Incidentally, under high pressure of infestation, affected gardeners swear by preparations with neem oil, which, as a casting agent, reach and fight lice sitting in the ground.

Tip: If ants register a threat to their lovingly cared for aphids, an evacuation is initiated immediately. So that workers do not relocate the lice to other plants, forward-looking home gardeners create circular walking barriers around treated plants. Fine sand, rock flour, cinnamon or pepper are suitable.

Attract natural opponents

A garden that is close to nature is the best prevention against colts of ants in herb beds, compost and lawns. Where chemical fertilizers and pesticides are consistently avoided, a local, well-balanced ecosystem full of life develops. Natural opponents who like ants to eat also feel at home here. Birds like the green woodpecker have insects on their menu, as do beetles, spiders, dragonflies and toads. The following components should not be missing in the nature-loving garden:

  • Mixed hedge made from local flowering bushes with berries as valuable bird food
  • Wild corner made of piles of leaves or dead wood, wild flower beds with nettles
  • Dry stone wall made of regional natural stones, planted with local perennials
  • Small and large water worlds, such as a pond with a swamp area, a mini wet biotope or a stream
  • Hollow plant stems and rotten tree trunks as an insect and beetle hotel

With a little luck, the ant lion, one of the most dangerous predators of insects, will move into your garden. The insect of the year 2010 preyed on careless workers with a funnel trap made of fine sand. The beneficial organisms like to use loose tree bark or layers of mulch as a retreat. A natural garden is therefore just right for the ant lion, so that in future ants looking for a new nest will avoid herb beds, compost and lawns.

Even the nature-loving gardener does not have to put up with an ants invasion in the herb bed, compost and lawn. A wide range of gentle methods is available to drive the pests out of the garden. You can get rid of hard-boiled colonies with non-toxic control methods such as beer traps and nematodes. The indirect method has proven to be a powerful strategy, in which aphids are used to destroy the ants’ food source. Before an ant colony drives you to despair the next time, upgrade the garden design in a meaningful way. By integrating components such as dry stone walls, mixed hedges and wildflower beds, you invite the natural antagonists of ants to linger.

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