How to get rid of red ants in your garden – FIVE natural methods

Gardening: Expert shares advice for dealing with bugs

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Red ants, also known as fire ants, are often found in gardens under paving slabs, pots and in lawns. They have a painful sting, so a badly-placed nest can pose a hazard to some households and might need to be dealt with – here’s how to manage them naturally.

For the most part, experts advise that ants should always rather be left alone if possible.

They are abundant creatures and can often pop up elsewhere, and learning to live with them will almost always be the more reasonable option, particularly when it comes to harmless black ants.

But if you have a particularly badly-placed nest of aggressive ants, you might have no choice but to take action.

There are a number of things you can try, some of which don’t require any dangerous pesticides.

1. Insect repellant plants and scents

Various plants, especially the ones that contain essential oils, give off a certain smell that puts off lots of unwanted insects.

You can try putting cinnamon sticks, coffee grinds, chilli pepper, paprika, cloves, or dried peppermint leaves near the openings of nests to encourage the ants to abandon their nest and relocate.

You can also use a squeeze of lemon or some crushed up mint.

Ants also hate garlic, so cloves around ant nests or entrances to spaces you use can be useful.

NOTE, the below solutions should ONLY be used in an ant emergency – ants are intelligent beings and shouldn’t be killed for no reason! Whatever you do, do it as quickly and humanely as possible.

2. Boiling water

This is the most common technique to deal with a badly-placed nest.

Locate as many entrances to the nest as possible and pour boiling water inside.

You might need to do this a few times until all the ants are dead.

3. Dishwashing liquid and oil

Mix half a teaspoon of liquid dish soap with one and a half teaspoons of cooking oil (olive oil and canola oil work best) with one litre of water.

Once the mixture is ready, pour into the nest.

4. White vinegar

Pouring around one litre of white vinegar directly into the nest can eliminate the unwanted ants.

This is not harmful to the ground or your plants, but it will kill the ants on contact.

5. Boric acid and sugar

This is said to be the most effective method.

Mix boric acid with sugar until it turns into a paste and then place small amounts of the paste around the entrances to the ant nest.

Ants love sweet things and so they will be drawn to the paste, they will eat some and carry the rest back to the nest for the queen.

Shortly after eating the sweet paste, the queen and other ants will begin to die due to the boric acid.

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