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How to Keep Ants Off My Garden Plants

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

A garden ant infestation can be more than a nuisance. They can invade plants and remain unseen until they're crawling up the sleeve of your gardening shirt. And, even worse, they can harm the fruits, vegetables, flowers and other plants that you've worked so hard to grow by enabling the proliferation of aphids, mealy bugs and lace wings. Luckily, there are many different methods that you can employ to keep ants off of your garden plants for good. But keep in mind that ants are tenacious and each method may have to be employed several times for it to be ultimately effective.

Grind chalk and create an inch wide barrier around your garden. Ants will not cross chalk lines. However, be sure to do this early in the morning or late at night when ants are the least active or you will end up trapping some of them in your garden.

Get rid of what may be luring them there. Aphids and or mealybugs may be attracting ants to your plants with their sugary excrement. A sign that your garden may have a colony or two of these bugs is that the leaves of some of your plants are covered with a shiny, sticky substance. Getting rid of these bugs may be the key to ridding yourself of your ant problem.

Stop the ants from climbing. Head to your local garden center and purchase Tanglefoot or another sticky substance designed to prevent ants from climbing up plant stems. Also prune any leaves or stems that bend over and touch the ground.

Destroy the nest. No other method will be permanently effective until you do. An effective way to kill an ant nest is to pour roughly three gallons of boiling water into it. It kills ants on contact. Any ants that escape the deluge can be repelled by a mixture of orange peels and water blended in a blender and poured over what is left of the ant hill.


Things You Will Need

  • Chalk
  • Tanglefoot
  • Orange peels
  • Blender

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.