Ants are common lawn pests that can leave an unattractive mark on an otherwise pristine lawn. Getting rid of ants on a lawn can help give the grass a better environment in which to grow. Identify and treat an ant infestation to make a home lawn more safe, lush and beautiful.
Ants have exoskeletons, a hard outer shell protecting their bodies and bent antennae. Their body shape is thin-waisted. If they have wings, the wings will be white and translucent, with larger front wings than back. Ants are often black, brown, yellow or red, and common ants vary in size from a millimeter to half an inch long.
Types of ants, which commonly infest lawns, include the little black ant, the fire ant and the yellow ant.
An ant infestation in a lawn is characterized by a series of dirt mounds and the appearance of ants on the lawn. In addition to the dirt mounds, ants can damage the roots and disturb the soil under the lawn, giving the lawn a dried-out look even when it has received sufficient water.
An ant infestation can be treated with insecticidal soap for ants. For most types of insecticide, the soap is applied by saturating the mound and the ground surrounding it at a 2-foot radius from the mound, forming a 4-foot-wide circle of insecticidal soap. Check the manufacturer's label for specific instructions.
Applying diatomaceous earth is an organic, non-toxic method that can help reduce the ant population. According to Gardener's Desk Reference, while it does not kill the queen or destroy the colony, diatomaceous earth damages the bodies of the worker ants, reducing the number of ants crawling on a lawn.
Ants, particularly fire ants, have a stinging bite that can harm visitors and pets who wander onto your lawn. To prevent injury, ant infestations must be removed as quickly as is safely possible.
For severe ant infestations, a chemical called diazinon can be used to get rid of ants quickly. Since diazinon involves putting a toxic chemical in your lawn and can damage the soil and kill beneficial insects in your lawn, it should only be used carefully and as a last resort.