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Ants

Indoor and Outdoor Ant Control with Natural Solutions
natural ant control products
There are 14 common ant species that are pests in the United States. They invade buildings in search of food and water; outdoors (and sometimes indoors), they protect and care for other insect pests, notably aphids, soft scale, whitefly and mealybugs, and some species harvest the leaves of various plant species. Most do not bite; however, the fire ants and harvester ants are noted for their painful bites.

Most ants live in mounds in the ground. Others make their nest inside buildings or in wood or mulch. Most are noticed by their habit of making trails to their favorite food. Controlling their invasions indoors and their “farming” of insect pests on the leaves of your best garden veggies or flowers is an ongoing struggle.

However, ants do have useful functions in the environment: they feed on fleas, caterpillars, termites, dead insects and decomposing dead animals. Ants also can help plants; they disperse seeds, aid in pollination, defend against attacks by herbivores, and enrich the soil through soil turning. Go after the ants causing damage; leave the good ones to do their job!

Ants usually nest in the soil. The exception is the Pharaoh ant, which can nest in walls in buildings. A new colony is started when a newly mated queen lays her eggs. She feeds the first larvae until they pupate. A few weeks later they transform into sterile female adult workers, and they dig their way out to collect food for themselves and the queen, who keeps on laying eggs. As the population increases, the nest size increases until it is too large. Then the colony produces winged male and female ants that leave to form a new colony. The only exception to this is the Argentine ant. All of its colonies are linked, and the new queens are accompanied by workers to make a new link when the population increases.

The 14 common ant species and their attractants:

Acrobat ant (Crematogaster spp.) Sweets; insects
Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) Sweets; sometimes protein
Big-Headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) Sweets, fats, and proteins
Carpenter ant (Camponotus spp.) Sweets
Crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis) Sweets spring and fall; proteins, summer
Ghost ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum) Sweets and proteins
Leaf-cutter ant (Atta spp.) Leaves
Odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile) Sweets; sometimes protein
Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum) Sweets, fats, and proteins
Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) Sweets, fats, and proteins
Red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) Sweets and proteins
Southern fire ant (Solenopsis xyloni) Sweets and proteins
Thief ant (Solenopsis molesta) Fats, and proteins and sometimes sweets
Velvety tree ant (Liometopum occidentale) Sweets; insects

Indoor Ant Control
Baits are a key for control. Boric acid or diatomaceous earth may be mixed with an attractant to make your own. Ants carry it back to the nest and feed it to others in the colony.

Most ants follow trails left by the first foragers. Follow the trails backwards to find the entry point; outside, place the bait near the entry point (this should keep the ants outside). Monitor to see that bait is being eaten; if not, move it to another location.

Interrupt the ant trail by cleaning it; remove all food sources by cleaning or storing items in closed containers. Most baits take time to work; keep cleaning up the trails as they reappear.

Use barriers to keep the ants out. Diatomaceous Earth and Orange Guard both work as an insecticide and a barrier. Caulk cracks and crevices.

If the ant colony is somewhere inside the house, go ahead and bait inside. Monitor to see that bait is being eaten; if not, move it to another location.

If the ant nest is in a potted plant, use insecticidal soap. Remove the plant from the building. Mix insecticidal soap 1-2 T per quart of water in a pail large enough to hold the plant, and keeping the plant in the pot, immerse the plant so that the soil is just covered. Leave for 20 minutes.

Outdoor nests may be associated with plants that may be prone to attacks by aphids, soft scale, mealybugs or whitefly. Avoid planting such trees and shrubs next to buildings, or keep a watch for these infestations. If you plant next to a building, keep plants, grass, and mulch several inches away from foundations so nests do not form.

Outdoor Ant Control
Ants may be on plants due to the presence of aphids, soft scale, mealybugs or whitefly, or the presence of ripening fruit or floral nectar. Provide a barrier around the tree trunk to keep the ants out. Use Tanglefoot and keep branches from touching structures or plants so that the ants have to use the trunk. Obviously, control the insect infestation if the ants are after their honeydew. Also, make sure the kind of mulch you use around your trees does not attract ants.

Treat fire ant mounds with beneficial nematodes or Orange Guard Fire Ant Control.

Ring other kind of problematic ant mounds with Diatomaceous Earth and drench with nematodes.

Leaf cutter ants may be treated as above, but you can also ring your plants with Diatomaceous Earth or your potted plants with Diatomaceous Earth or Orange Guard to protect them from attack. If you know what plant they are attacking, you can spray that plant with a natural fungicide. Once leaves are taken back to their fungus farm, they will soon discover that it is not a good source and leave your plants alone.

Click on the ant control products below for more info and ordering.

fire ant control
Fire ants. Treat fire ant mounds with beneficial nematodes or Orange Guard Fire Ant Control.
ants protetcing aphids
These ants are protecting a colony of aphids. The ants will feed on the sweet honeydew produced by the aphids.
ant nest in the ground
Many ant nests are just holes in the ground
treating ant hills
Typical ant hill

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Beneficial Nematodes - Triple Threat Combo
Use the Triple Threat to combat a broad variety of soil dwelling pests!

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NemaSeek Beneficial Nematodes - Hb
Seeks Out Stationary Pests including Grubs, root zone weevils, citrus weevils, Japanese beetles, black vine weevils, ticks, queen ants/termites and more. Great for lawns, fields, pastures and orchards.

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Terro Ant Baits
Eliminate ants with this effective & economical liquid bait.

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Orange Guard
Organic insecticide that kills on contact and keeps repelling for weeks.

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Orange Guard Fire Ant Control
OMRI LISTED. Eradicate fire ants without risking the health of your family, pets or the environment.

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Safer® Brand Diatomaceous Earth - Bed Bug, Ant and Crawling Insect Killer model #51702
OMRI LISTED. Long lasting, odorless, non-staining insect killing powder made from diatomaceous earth.

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$14.40
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Essentria™ G Granular Insecticide - 22 lb
A botanically based, granular insecticide that knocks out difficult to control outdoor pests!

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$80.00
Qty.