Small but mighty, ants pose an extreme danger to many homeowners that have trees in their yard. Ants are so destructive that anyone who has been on the receiving end of their might shivers at just the mention of them. Ants cause big problems for trees and gardens in general. If ants colonize around your trees, you need to start acting quickly.
Your first reaction may be to look for at-home cures for the ant problem, and there are quite a few. However, you do need to make sure that the solutions are actually working, or you could end up with an even bigger problem on your hands. Ants can easily work their way into your home and that can be harder to deal with, especially if you cannot evacuate your home for a few days.
If you don’t handle your ant problems now, it is likely that the problem could extend into your home and into the yards of your neighbors. There are a few steps you can take to handle the problem by yourself, however. Try these out to see if you can eliminate the ants around your trees and in your lawn:
4. Sprinkle Pepper
- Helps with small infestations and colonies
- Can use black, cayenne, or other kinds of acidic, spicy pepper
- Be careful around sensitive trees or plants
Ants aren’t really a fan of anything spicy – which is why areas with ant infestations grow peppers so well. Table pepper is just spicy enough, so you can use that to keep ants away from your trees. You do have to be careful about spreading pepper around because it can kill many different plants.
Sprinkle it around any colonies that you see and be sure to put some into any openings that you might see. According to Organic Lessons, “An alternative solution is to mix some pepper with water and spray it at the ants. The pepper won’t kill the ants but it could deter them from returning.”
Once again, you cannot do this for larger infestations because it will be too much pepper and it will simply kill everything else. Make sure to find the best balance.
3. Petroleum Jelly
- Use old petroleum jelly for better results
- Won’t impact sensitive plants
- Combine with other steps for the best results
Petroleum jelly is something that you probably have sitting around your home that you don’t really use all that often anymore. It is an odd product to take outside, but it really does work. In fact, the Queen of Home, Martha Stewart, has given it her seal of approval.
Use the jelly to shield the ants from getting into their colony so they have to move elsewhere. For the ants that are already in the colony, it will act as a shield to keep them in their colony, cutting them off, or it will cut off their path and trap them in the jelly. This gives you the opportunity to eliminate them as you wish.
Often, petroleum jelly will be the first step to eliminating the ants from your trees. Then, you can combine them with a few other options like flooding the ant hills or sprinkling pepper.
2. Flood Ant Hills
- Combine with other methods for the best bet
- Use clean water the entire time
- Beware that underground hills may still exist
The first thing you need to be aware of when flooding ant hills is that Ask an Entomologist warns that the colonies these ants have made are much stronger than they appear – that is clearly seen in floodwaters where you see entire colonies floating together. However, water can kill ants or at least make them move away from your trees. It will take some regular flooding, so you have to be careful not to overwater your trees.
The best thing you can do to utilize this method is to flood the ground surrounding the trees and near the colonies, every day for a week and then back off slightly. Then, you can use some of the other tricks, like petroleum jelly or pepper to eliminate any lingering around. Then, you can flood it again and repeat until you see most of the infestation move away.
1. Contact a Professional
- Best for larger infestations or infestations that get worse
- Helps with ants that are particularly vicious or continue to come back
- Trees that are distressed need to be looked at quickly
American Forests has a great article that explains how important ants are to the lifecycle of a tree – but there is more to it than that. They point out that good soil, the kind that trees thrive in, comes from ants: “In these areas, much of the topsoil was created by ants. In fact, ants create soil up to 10 times faster than earthworms, excavating as much as 30,000 pounds of soil per acre every year, creating about 4 inches of new soil per millennium in the process.”
Sometimes, ants overtake trees and open them up to many other problems. When that happens, professionals are often the only resource you have to eliminate the ants completely and to ensure that your trees are healthy and happy.
One word of advice is not to use chemicals that you can buy on your own. These will do severe damage to your trees, yard, and anyone who goes into your yard. Reach out to a professional instead who can have the problems cleared in a few days.
Once again, really consider working with a professional team before you decide to buy any chemicals on your own.
If you believe that you have problems with ants around your trees or you have an ant infestation in your trees or lawn, give Go Green Tree & Landscape a call as soon as possible.
Our team is well versed in using tools of all kinds to treat infestations and diseases that impact our yards. We can work with all chemicals safely and can even recommend ways to keep the infestation from coming back once we eliminate it. We hope to be your Independence, MO option for tree care of all kinds, including tree diseases. To stop those destructive ants and ant colonies in their tracks, give us a call today at (816) 520-4864.