Deal­ing with ants

Ne­ma­todes can sort out an­noy­ing nests

Garden News (UK) - - About Now -

Ants are more of a nui­sance than a ma­jor prob­lem in gar­dens, but nat­u­ral de­ter­rents are avail­able to deal with heavy in­fes­ta­tions

They’re com­mon in gar­dens, feed­ing on the eggs and lar­vae of other in­sects and col­lect­ing the sweet hon­ey­dew that sap-feed­ing aphids ex­crete. They’re not likely to dam­age your plants, and should be viewed as a mi­nor ir­ri­ta­tion rather than a de­struc­tive pest. Signs that you have a nest in your gar­den are small heaps of fine soil on your lawns, drive­ways, around the roots of plants, the sur­face of con­tain­ers and in your com­post bin. The nests tend to be more of a prob­lem when they’re sited in lawns, be­cause the ex­ca­vated soil makes the sur­face un­even and the grass un­sightly. In time, bare patches will ap­pear. So what’s the nat­u­ral gar­dener’s course of ac­tion? ● Rake or brush the mounds of ex­ca­vated soil on a dry day be­fore you mow the lawn to avoid mud be­ing smeared on to the grass. ● Place es­sen­tial oils, such as pep­per­mint or raw gar­lic, near the en­try hole. Ants are said to dis­like the smell of th­ese items. ● The path­o­genic ne­ma­tode Stein­ernema fel­tiae is a mi­cro­scopic worm. Ants soon move their nests once th­ese ne­ma­todes ar­rive. Wa­ter th­ese worm-like ne­ma­todes over the sur­face at the point where the soil has been brought up. Ne­masys Nat­u­ral No Ants is avail­able from bi­o­log­i­cal con­trol sup­pli­ers such as Ne­ma­todes Di­rect (www. ne­ma­todes­di­rect.co.uk; tel: 0808 901 2055, priced from £10.99.

Nests can look un­sightly in lawns

Al­though a nui­sance, ants do li le dam­age to plants

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