Vegetable Garden Safe Insecticide for Ants


Garden ants are a nuisance. Fortunately, natural pest control methods, including organic insecticides, are readily available. USDA organic-approved pesticides are potent and considered to be less toxic to humans.

Boric Acid

According to "Organic Gardening," a boric acid ant trap is made, "by thoroughly dissolving 1 teaspoon of boric acid and 6 tablespoons of sugar in 2 cups of water." Weekly, solution-soaked cotton balls are put in lidded plastic containers with ant-sized holes.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth kills ants through dehydration. This can be placed near hills, but outdoor ants may avoid it.

"Texas Organic Two-Step"

Dr. Bastiaan "Bart" Drees of the Texas Imported Fire Ant Research Center says that this is "the least-toxic, most cost-effective way to eliminate fire ants." It kills ants for up to a year. First, in autumn, spinosad bait is left out for the ants. Next, mounds are treated with d-limonene.

Bucketing Ant Colonies

Ant mounds are dug up with about a foot of soil from beneath them and dumped into large buckets. The ants are drowned in a dish soap and water mixture or dumped elsewhere.

Predatory Birds

Many birds eat ants; a garden can become a bird attraction, perhaps by setting up a birdbath. If you raise poultry, consider letting them run free range.


  • Mother Earth News: Guide to Organic Pest Control; Barbara Pleasant
  • Organic Gardening: Ants
  • Organic Gardening: Fire Ant Controls
  • Organic Gardening: Red Imported Fire Ants
  • Pesticide Action Network Pesticide Database

Who Can Help

  • Mother Earth News
  • Organic Gardening
Keywords: ants, pest control, organic gardening, garden

About this Author

Mara Carpenter is a freelance writer and poet residing in Wisconsin. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Lakeland College. Carpenter served as a staff reporter and copy editor for The Lakeland College Mirror and was the editor of the Farrago, a literary magazine. She now writes a column for

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