It is an unfortunate fact that, as the weather improves, we will not be the only creatures venturing back outside. Garden ants lay their eggs in the spring, and within a few weeks they will be out and about, looking for food and bringing it back to their growing nests. Towards the end of summer flying ants will also start to appear around UK homes.
While there are over 12,000 species of ant, the ones most common to the UK are not too harmful providing you do not let them get out of control. However, if you leave an ant problem untreated it can cause larger issues down the line:
If you have a major ant problem in your garden, you may prefer to hire a local pest control specialist to take care of it. A professional, as well as having the knowledge to tackle your ants, will also have access to specialist equipment and poisons that will help them to do the job more efficiently.
To get rid of your ants once and for all, you will first need to find their nest. Simply killing ants whenever you see them will not cut them off at the source, and the 'source' has thousands to replace any workers that you get rid of!
Look out for small piles of disturbed earth on your lawn, in your garden beds and between any nearby pavement or patio slabs. Ants can also make their nests at the bases of exterior walls.
While it is doubtful that any ants native to the UK will cause you serious harm, certain species of red, wood and flying ants can still bite. Ants will also try to defend themselves if you rile them, so do not start stomping around on nests with no shoes on! When dealing with your ants, make sure you wear a long sleeved shirt, full length trousers and a pair of gardening gloves. If you want some extra safety, tuck your socks into your shoes!
Getting rid of garden ants is usually a relatively simple task, and there are plenty of tricks available.
One thing that you will want to consider before doing anything else is whether or not you are happy to use chemical pesticides. While these are effective at killing ants, they can also harm nearby plant life. As such, they can be a very poor choice for removing ants from a vegetable patch or lawn! If you are still determined to use a chemical pesticide, look for any that contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids and be sure to speak a representative at the store you are buying from for advice.
Luckily, there are a number of highly effective and completely organic methods for getting rid of ants in the garden: