Ants are some of the most common pests we find around us; they are found in our homes, kitchen, garden, pantry, potted plants, and every other place they can find.
There are two main reasons they come around us; they are searching for food and shelter. Many people dismiss them and ignore them because they believe that they do not cause any harm to them.
Ants on your space is a pointer to the fact that you might be dealing with something bigger.
This is because ants indicate you have other insects like aphids, mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, and the likes, which are nuisances in your home and garden.
There are, however, effortless ways of getting rid of this problem; some of them include:
- Using boiling water
- Cayenne or black pepper
- Lemon juice
Are Ants Bad For Plants In Pot?
Ants can be said to be good and yet bad for plants in pots. This means that there are some benefits they give to the plant as they invade it, and there are other harms they cause the plants and the environment in general.
Let’s look at some of the ways ants can be helpful to you and your plants:
1. They help control some of the pests on your potted plant by a fee on the eggs and young of these eggs. Aphids, whiteflies and mites are very destructive pests, and they can destroy your plant, but when ants feed on their eggs and young, they reduce their population and hence the amount of damage they can cause.
2. Ants are pollinators. They can help the plants to spread their pollen. As they move from one plant to the other, they unintentionally carry the pollen grain from one plant to another, where fertilization occurs.
3. Plants aerate and help to fertilize the soil: As they feed on organic matter, they speed up the decomposition process, and even when they die and decompose, they add manure to the soil.
Now let’s look at the ways ants can constitute a nuisance.
1. Ants can lead to the increase of some pests in your potted plant, one of the destructive pests that affect plants are aphids, and they produce a sugary product known as ‘honeydew’ which ants love. Hence ants protect these aphids so that they can produce more honeydew for them.
2. Some ants, like the carpenter ants, have powerful jaws and spray some acid when they bite, which can be so painful. Hence, you risk being stung by this, and if you are tending your potted plant that they infest.
3. Some ants can eat and destroy some of the plants as they chew on them. Carpenter ants are some of the most destructive ants there are, and they can destroy your potted plant if you don’t eradicate them.
How Do I Protect My Plant From Ants?
There are many ways you can protect your plant from being invaded by ants; some of these ways involve insecticides that will kill these ants.
There is, however, some very simple, environmentally friendly and very humane way of protecting your plant from ant; some of them include:
1. Plant crops that deter Ants
One of the best ways to ensure that ants do not infest your plant is to grow plants that repel ants. Some of these plants are commonly grown, including thyme, rosemary, peppermint, garlic, lavender, etc.
2. Sprinkle Cinnamon
You can apply natural remedies to keep ants away from your plant; one of those remedies is cinnamon. You can sprinkle cinnamon on the topsoil of your potted plant; it will deter any ant from getting to the plant. This remedy might be a little expensive, but it’s effective.
3. Spray Lemon Juice
The beauty about natural remedies like lemon juices is that they are cheap, readily available, and do not affect the plant, our pets and are pretty safe for humans.
All you need to do is dilute lemon juice with an equal amount of water and spray them on the soil around the plant.
Ants depend on the scent trail of the plants to get to them; what the lemon juice does is mask the plant’s scent so that the plants cannot get to the plant.
4. Use Vinegar
Vinegar works just like lime juice in protecting your plants from ants. You can dilute the vinegar with the same amount of water and sprinkle it on the plant and the soil.
Before you sprinkle any plant with this mixture, you should test a small part of the plant to ensure that they can stand the vinegar mixture. Some plants with delicate leaves produce burn marks when sprayed with vinegar.
5. Cayenne or black pepper spray
You can apply black pepper or cayenne directly to the soil or make a mixture of 2 tablespoons of the pepper with a cup of water, then spray this mixture to the plant and the soil. This will keep ants away from the plant.
This remedy might be almost ridiculous, but if you apply chalk in a line around your garden, it will keep ants away because ants are not likely to cross the chalk line. This method is quite simple and yet effective.
Ways To Stop Ants From Nesting In Your Plant Pot
Ants are pretty pesky pests that can overrun your garden and home if you do not take drastic measures. You can stop ants from nesting in your plant’s pot by :
1. Using Bait
You can put different baits in and around your plant pot that will keep ants from nesting in them.
One of them is an ant bait in a stick form that you insert into the potted plant that is infested.
There is also the reusable bait station which is filled with an insecticide that can eradicate ants. All you need do is to put it at the base of the plant, and it will trap ants.
2. Using Diatomaceous Earth ( DE)
This is an organic, mineral-based insecticide that is white like chalk spread at the bade of an infested potted plant. You can use this insecticide safely by using an applicator bulb to apply it, and when ants come in contact with this DE, they will die.
The best time to apply this remedy is when the plant pit is dry because water will reduce the effectiveness of this material, the ants will die within 30 minutes that they come in contact with DE.
3. Use Orange oil
Texas A&M Extension studies show that an ounce and half of the orange oil mixed with 3 ounces of dish soap and poured into a gallon of unheated water will form a solution that can be poured on the plant pot, in less than a week, most of the ants will die while others will try to get away from the pot.
How Do I Get Rid Of Ants In My Plant Pot?
There are a thousand and one ways of getting rid of ants in your plant pot; you can use both natural and chemical methods. Some of the methods include:
1. Submerging the Pot in Water
If you submerge your plant pot in a water-insecticide solution, you will be able to get rid of the ants in two ways: firstly, the water will drown the ants and kill them, but even if the ants don’t drown, the insecticide in the water will still kill them, so this is a fool-proof method. A solution made with mild soap and water is good enough to kill ants.
Just make a solution of the mild soap in a big bucket and then put the plant pot into the bucket so that the pot is completely submerged in the solution.
Allow it to sit in the water for 15 minutes, killing any ant let in the plant pot. Afterwards, remove it and then submerge it in a bucket of clean water so that any remaining soap solutions are removed from the pot.
2. Repotting the Plant
You can remove the plant in the infested pot where it is planted to a clean pot. This will help to eradicate any colony of ants that are left in the plant- root.
You should remove the plant from the pot and then shake off any soil left in the plant’s root. Then apply an insecticide like permethrin to the soil so that any insect left in the pot will die. Then get a clean pot and replant your plant and then water the plant appropriately.
3. Orange Peels
Orange peels are deadly to ants, and this is because they contain some toxic substance that kills fungi which are ants’ favourite food.
If you spread orange peel in your garden or potted plant, the fungi living there will due, and the ants’ will move away in search of places where fungi abound.
How Do I Kill Ants Without Killing My Plants?
You can kill the ants in your plants without killing the plant by using natural methods including:
1. Hot Water
This is one of the most common natural remedies for ants. As a gardener, you start by locating the entrance point to the ants’ nests, and then you repeatedly pour hot water into the entrance; this will exterminate the ants without killing your plants.
You can use dishwashing detergents like Dawn to exterminate ants. This solution does not adversely affect your plant or you because the detergent is mild.
Get a gallon of water and mix two teaspoons of the detergent with four tablespoons of baking powder in it. Mix the mixture properly, and then spray it where you find ants in your garden or potted plants.
3. Borax and sugar
If the ant infestation is severe, you can use a mixture of borax and sugar to eradicate them. Just mix borax and sugar to form a gel and then drop some pieces near the nest of the ants and their trail. This solution will kill all the ants within a few days. The sugar in the mixture attracts the solider ants to carry it to their colony, where the whole colony can eat the borax and sugar mixture and due. This solution is safe for plants but not for you and your animals.
This is a biological way of taking care of ants in your garden and around you. Nematodes are tiny worms that have no adverse effect on man or plants, but they are ant’s natural enemies.
Ants will keep off any area that has nematodes, and so you can fill a bottle with nematodes and spray them on the ant colonies in your plant or garden.
How Do I Keep Fire Ants Out Of My Flower Pot?
It is common to find Fire ants in flower pots because it provides a good hiding place and moisture.
Many species of Fire ants are relatively long and can sting multiple times, which leads to itchy skin, burning sensation, and pustules.
Fire ants are quite destructive, and they damage plants as they feed on plant buds, seedlings, fruits and seeds. You can use the method discussed earlier to keep fire ants from flower pots; you can also use the method highlighted below :
This is a very effective solution to ants that works on a long-term basis. Apply an ounce of hydramethyl non-based fire ant granules in the flower pot. This will significantly reduce the number of ants in the pot in no time.
2. Painting The Flower Pot
You can resort to painting sticky barriers onto the rim of the planting pot to keep the ants from getting into the pot, you can do this every so often, and ants will stop entering the plant pot.
At the bottom of the pot, a screen should be put there to prevent any from entering from the perforations at the bottom of the pot.
3. Use the chemical Spinosad.
This chemical works well in destroying ants in your flower pots. All you need to do is mix in 4 tablespoons of spinosad in a gallon of water, pour the mixture into a watering can, and then spray the flower pot with this insecticide. This will exterminate the ants from the pot.
How Do You Kill An Ant Colony?
Ants, like most insects, are social animals that live in colonies with a hierarchy of members from the queen to the workers and the soldiers. Hence when you see ants around your space, you have to trace their colony and eliminate it to get rid of the ants completely.
The odorous house ants’ colonies are usually found under stones, areas of shallow soil and in old bark, while pavement ants usually stay in paving stones or neat sidewalks.
You will find colonies of larger yellow ants in the foundation of houses and large moulds which are bet conspicuous house the field ants. You will find colonies of carpenter ants in decaying woods around the house.
You can flatten the moulds of carpenter ants, thereby destroying the colonies. You can use any natural and chemical methods that we talked about earlier to destroy ant colonies.
You can drench the colonies with boiling water or water that contains insecticide. You can use the borax and sugar mixture to exterminate them as well as other means.
Conclusion: How to Stop Ants Nesting in Plant Pots
Ants are all around us, and they infest our homes, garden, potted plant and everywhere as they try to find food and shelter.
They are not completely dangerous to your plants and you; in fact, they add nutrients to your plant, but the issue is that their damage and nuisance far outweighs their usefulness.
The good news is that there are a lot of means and techniques that you can apply in taking care of your ant problems. Most of these means are simple and eco-friendly, like boiling water, vinegar, and others.
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We trust this article helped you learn How to Stop Ants Nesting in Plant Pots. You may also want to check out The Difference Between Soil Mites And Root Aphids.
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