How to Kill Ants in Plant Roots
Ants are usually harmless to plants, but some ants, like pavement ants and cornfield ants, will injure them. If you notice that your plants are beginning to wither and you see ants surrounding your plants or going in and out of the dirt near its base, perhaps it is the ants that are causing the problem. Fortunately, there are several methods that can kill the ants in your plant roots and if one method does not work well for you, try another.
Apply a pesticide to the ant mounds around your plants. This can be a dust or spray pesticide and should be labeled to kill ants in the outdoors. Examples include Sevin and Ficam. Adhere to the label instructions for any pesticides used.
Take container plants out of the pots, if applicable. Shake off the excess dirt outdoors away from your home. Then take your root ball and soak it in water for two days and clean out your container. Repot with fresh potting soil.
Stick ant baits into the soil around your plants. You can also stick ant baits in potted plants. The ants are supposed to take the poisonous material in the trap back to the colony and hopefully kill the queen.
Spread organic material around the base of your plants. According to the Michigan State University extension, red chili peppers, paprika, dried peppermint and cream of tartar are alternatives to using pesticides to get rid of ants.
Kill Ants In Plant Roots
Ants provide plenty of benefits in yards and gardens, but when they get among plant roots, they can cause problems. In fact, most species of ants aren't interested in plant roots as food, but their presence is a sign that the soil is dry and low in humus, which is decaying plant material and other organic matter. Ants rarely destroy garden plants, though in turfgrass, they can build large anthills that kill patches of grass. On the other hand, ants help to control soft-bodied garden pests, including chinch worms, mealybugs, whiteflies, scale and cutworms. The biggest problems they pose are often cosmetic. Next, wrap a band around the tree trunk and coat it in petroleum jelly or a sticky insecticide that traps crawling insects. If ants have invaded a plant container, dilute an insecticidal soap according to the instructions on the package and immerse the container in the insecticide solution. After about half an hour, remove the container from the insecticidal soap and allow it to drain thoroughly. Some ant poisons in bait traps include boric acid, avermectin, fipronil and hydramethylnon.
- Potting soil
- Ant baits
- Coffee grounds
- Cayenne pepper
- Red pepper
- Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: Ants in and Around the Home
- Esprit de Isle: House Plant Pests and Insect Control
- Michigan State University Extension: Household Hazardous Waste
- University of Illinois Extension: Ants
- University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources: Ants
- University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture and Bioresources: Ants