Dealing with ants
Nematodes can sort out annoying nests
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