How can I keep ants out of pots?
Find out how to tackle ants that are nesting in pots or farming aphids on potted plants.
Sunday, 4 August, 2019 at 11:04 am
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Ants can be an issue if they’re nesting in your pots and containers, or if they’re farming aphids on your plants, protecting them from harm. Find out how to tackle them in this Quick Tips video with Kevin Smith, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, as he provides the answers.
Learn how to keep ants out of your pots and containers with a few simple answers, in this Quick Tips video from BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.
How Do I Kill Ants in My Flowerpots?
Ants have a bad reputation in the garden, even though they don’t harm plants. According to Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson in their book “Journey to the Ants,” ants are even more beneficial to garden plants than earthworms when it comes to moving soil to improve aeration and nutrient distribution. The problem is that even though they are harmless, they annoy people when they crawl on container plants, especially when the plants are indoors. Ants aren’t hard to get rid of, and once they’re gone you can take steps to keep them from returning.
Removing Ants From Potting Soil and Plants
Flush ants out of potting soil by immersing the pot in lukewarm water. The ants will come to the surface and float off. Once you have the ants out of the soil, spray the foliage with water to remove any ants clinging to the stems and leaves. Drain the plant for at least 30 minutes before putting it back in its saucer.
Keeping Ants Off Plants
If you have a plastic pot, smear grease around the edges of the saucer or the lip of the pot to keep ants out. Another way to keep ants out of your pots is to place the pot in the center of a pan of water. Keep the roots out of the water by sitting the pot in a dry saucer or raising the bottom of the pot above the level of the water by putting it on top of a few rocks. Make sure the rocks or saucer don’t touch the sides of the pan. Inspect plants carefully for ants before bringing them indoors.
Use baited ant traps to capture and kill ants in pots. Make the bait by dissolving 1 teaspoon of boric acid and 6 tablespoons of sugar in two cups of water. The sugar attracts the ants, and the boric acid kills them. Saturate a cotton ball with the solution and place it inside a breath mint box or similar small, plastic container. Leave the lid open just enough that an ant can get inside, and lay the container on top of the soil. Clean out the containers and prepare fresh bait once a week until the ants are gone.
Ants and Honeydew
Some small insects such as aphids, scale insects and mealybugs excrete a sticky substance called honeydew as they feed. Ants love honeydew, and as long as insects are leaving deposits on the plant, the ants will seek them out. Unless you have a severe infestation, you can control scale insects and mealybugs by picking them off the plants. Spray aphids with a ready-to-use insecticidal soap spray. Saturate the plant with the spray, paying particular attention to the undersides of leaves where aphids like to hide. Repeat as necessary at seven- to 10-day intervals. Remove the remaining honeydew from the leaves with a damp cloth.
How Do I Kill Ants in My Flowerpots?. Ants have a bad reputation in the garden, even though they don’t harm plants. According to Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson in their book "Journey to the Ants," ants are even more beneficial to garden plants than earthworms when it comes to moving soil to improve …