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How to Kill Ants in a Flower Bed

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017

Ants are found in every backyard, working away at keeping your property clean of organic waste and fallen food. These hard-working insects can become a problem when they are present in large populations, swarming through your lawn and over your flowers. Some ants can even bite and sting. If ants are becoming a nuisance amongst your flowers, take steps to control and eradicate them to keep your property ant-free.

Kill ants on your flowers. Mix 1/10 oz. orange oil--a natural orange rind extract available at many garden outlets or health food stores--with a quart of water in a spray bottle. Mist onto any plants that are being swarmed by ants. The orange oil kills ants without harming vegetation.

Find the ant hill. Trying to kill ants outside of the hill without treating the hill itself will not curb the rapidly-reproducing ant population. Place a sugar cube, piece of hot dog or similar food in your flower bed. Wait one hour until the ants are swarming the food. Observe the trail they form and follow it back to the ant hill. Sometimes, there may be more than one hill in your flower bed.

Pour boiling water on the ant hill. This is the fastest treatment method to kill the hill, but only works on small ant hills. The hot water drowns and cooks the ants. Avoid using this method on ant hills adjacent to flower plants, as the heat can also kill your flowers.

Treat your flower bed with a commercial granular ant killer, available from most general retailers or hardware stores. This method is best for ant hills of all sizes. Sprinkle the granules in a several foot circumference around the ant hill. The ants will carry the granules back to the nest, effectively poisoning the entire ant hill.

Make a homemade, all-natural ant killer. This strategy is ideal for those who don't want to use toxic chemical-based ant poison. Stir a tablespoon of borax--a natural mineral powder available from most general retailers--with a cup of sugar. Sprinkle the borax-laced sugar around the ant hill. The ants will carry the sugar to their nest.


Things You Will Need

  • Orange oil
  • Spray bottle
  • Granular ant poison
  • Borax
  • Sugar

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.