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How to Keep Ants Off Strawberries

By Esperance Barretto ; Updated July 21, 2017
Use biological controls to safely treat strawberry plants that are infested by ants.

Several ants, including sugar ants and carpenter ants, feed on a wide variety of sweet plant secretions such as nectar, honeydew and fruits like strawberries. These ants are quite active during the summer months when they forage for food. Sugar ants and carpenter ants build colonies in the soil, in gaps between rocks and wood, and around the branches of trees and shrubs. Prevent ants from attacking strawberries by controlling them with natural measures. Avoid using pesticides, as they can contaminate the strawberries and pose a health threat to you and your family. There are several biological methods that you can use to safely and effectively repel ants without harming your strawberries.

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth powder over the soil surrounding strawberry plants. Diatomaceous earth is an abrasive fossil powder. It attaches itself to the ant’s body when the insect walks over it, slowly dehydrating and killing the ant.

Grow plants that repel sugar ants around the perimeter of the strawberry patch. Plant ant-repellent plants such as tansy, spearmint or catnip to keep sugar ants at bay. The strong scent of these plants is offensive to ants and will deter them from attacking the strawberries. You can also use cuttings from these plants and sprinkle them all over the strawberry patch.

Smear a little petroleum jelly around the base of strawberry plants. Petroleum jelly works like glue and causes the ants to stick to it and die.

Sprinkle spices such as cinnamon, clove or red pepper around the base of the strawberry plants. Ants are repelled by the spicy and pungent properties of these kitchen spices and deterred from reaching the strawberries.