Ants are the most numerous insects on the planet. No matter where you in the world, there is sure to be an ant colony nearby. Have they invaded your patio? They will likely use your patio as a pathway to your home’s kitchen. You might be wondering how you can get rid of ants on the patio – and we have the answers for you.
To understand why you have an invasion of ants on your patio, it is worth understanding how ants live. Ants live in colonies with many thousands and thousands of ants living under the leadership of a queen ant. Most species of ants build huge nests underground with complex structures and long tunnels. Ants create holes for ventilation and access to the ground to forage for food. Sometimes, these entrances form ant hills. Moving along paths, ants will travel a few miles each day in search of food and carrying any they find back to the nest. They are attracted by sweet things and that is why they usually establish nests in gardens and near kitchens.
These little insects crawl over your patio for 3 reasons: to find food; moving along a path to a food source; their nest is near to the patio. Mostly found wondering about in summertime, you need to treat this problem before it becomes an infestation or they move their nest even closer to your home.
Locate the paths that the ants use to travel to and from food sources across your patio. Search the routes to the nest and holes from which they use to reach the nest. Mark out those areas while you search for their nest: it will most likely be in a flower bed or next to your house and it is distinctive because its entrance hole will be the largest in your garden.
The only real means of dealing with ants is to kill the ant colony’s population. Just as with bees, ants’ activities are centered around the needs of the nest. Once the nest is destroyed, they will move away to rebuild elsewhere. For those aiming to take more permanent measures against an ant colony, the best way to get rid of ants on the patio is to kill them.
• Nematodes: Nematodes are microscopic worms. They’re the natural enemy to ants and the ants will flee the nest to rebuild a colony away from the nematodes.
• Dishwashing Liquid and Cooking Oil: Mix half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with half a teaspoon of cooking oil (any kind of cooking oil: olive oil or vegetable oil) into a bucket with 1 quart of water. Stir this mixture well and then tap it into a spray bottle. By squirting this solution onto the ants when they walk along their paths, they will die in a short time. Pour the rest of your mixture into the nest’s main hole. You might need to repeat this until all the ants are dead.
• Diatomaceous Earth (DE): This is a white-looking powder highly regarded for its ant-killing prowess. You can buy a bag of DE from your local grocery store and simply sprinkle the powder on the ants’ paths on your patio. They will carry the grains to their nest and will idea when they eat it.
• Cornmeal: Spread cornmeal (which you pick up from any grocery store’s baking supplies aisles) on your patio where the ants walk most frequently. The ants will collect the cornmeal and hastily carry it back to their nest. Upon eating the cornmeal, they will die in their nest. Cornmeal does not harm your garden or plants. You can simply sweep off the cornmeal once all the ants have died and no longer walk on their paths on your patio.
• Insect-Repelling Plants: For those patio-owners with an eco-friendlier outlook, buying and growing insect-repelling plants are proven to work too. Ask your local garden nursery for the best insect-repelling plants they have in stock. When foraging for food, the ants will attempt to eat these plants. These plants contain essential oils that chase away ants.
• White Vinegar: This kills ants on contact. Simply pour 1 litre of white vinegar straight into the ant’s nest.
• Boric Acid and Sugar: When you mix boric acid with sugar, it will create a paste. Stir this mixture until the paste becomes soft and then place pieces of this paste at entrances to the ant’s nest. The ants will die almost immediately after eating this paste.
• Boiling Water: The most popular method to rid your patio of ants is to pour boiling water over them. It is best to perform this with a large jug or kettle of water by pouring it down their ant nest. With this method, you might need to repeat it several times until all the ants in the nests are dead.
1. Ant Baits
Your local gardening store or DIY shop will offer you a selection of ant baits. Ant baits contain a slow-acting poison. As ants are social insects and carry their food to their nest for the ant colony, all ants who eat the bait will be poisoned and die. Ant baits are most effective over a while with ant baits placed near to their ant holes.
Sweep your patio clean to remove any dirt or other ant food so that you have a clean surface from which to attract the ants. Place the ant baits near the nest and on your patio. The ants that invade your patio will find the poison and carry it into their nest to kill the population. As we have mentioned, this takes a few days to completely kill the colony. Spread black and cayenne pepper on the ants’ paths and around the perimeter of your patio. The pepper agitates the ants’ senses and keeps them away from your patio.
2. Ant Killer Gel
Similar to the way in the Boric Acid and Sugar paste works, ant killer gels can be bought from your local DIY store and place the sweet gel along their paths on your patio and around their nest holes.
These gels are harmless to plants, but it would be a good idea to keep your pets and small children away from them too. The ants foraging for food are attracted to the scent of the gel and carry it off to the colony to be shared and eaten by the population.
3. Ant Killer Poison
While ant killer poison is best for patios, it is the most toxic solution. These are also available from DIY and gardening supplies stores. When using these powders, keep your pets and small children away from the patio area for 24 hours.
Sprinkle the powder on the ants’ paths and along the edges of the walls. As with other foodstuffs, the ants will carry the poison to the colony to kill the population.
There are numerous ways to get rid of ants on the patio. The key is to kill the nest. Ants continually breed new eggs and ants and without destroying the queen and the ant colony, the ants will continue to invade your patio. Repeat the methods until you’ve removed the ants from your patio. You will always have some form of an ant invasion in your garden, but you can control whether they invade your patio.
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