Ants in outside areas can be a problem for householders. Outdoor ants can build nest mounds in the lawn making maintenance difficult, create unsightly holes in the ground, and red wood ants can sting pets, children and adults. Instead of expensive chemical products, use a homemade ant killer with natural ingredients that won't harm humans, pets or the environment.
Types of outdoor ants
The UK is home to more than 30 known ant species, most of them concentrated in the south of the country. Many different types of ants can infest outside areas including the little black ant, red wood ant, yellow meadow ant and brown tree ants. Carpenter ants may also nest outside homes in wood piles or rotten tree stumps. Most of these ants are harmless, but the red wood ant can deliver painful stings when disturbed.
Baits for outdoor ant control
Poison baits take advantage of ants' natural tendency to carry food back to their nests. These baits contain sweet or protein foods that entice the ants to feed. Mix your own bait by using boric acid, a naturally occurring mineral that works as a slow-acting stomach poison on insects. Ants may demonstrate different bait preferences throughout the year, either preferring a sweet bait or a grease bait. Monitor the ant baits to see which they prefer and prepare the baits accordingly. Baits may take several weeks to work. Place baits near ant mounds and remove other sources of food so that the ants will feed on the baits.
Scatter ant killer
For removing ant mounds in lawns, rake the mounds level and scatter a natural ant killer like boric acid or diatomaceous earth over the ground. Diatomaceous earth contains the fossilised skeletons of tiny marine creatures. This material has tiny, sharp edges that cut and damage the ants' exoskeleton, causing their bodies to dry out and die. Rake these compounds into the top layer of soil.
Mound soaking minimises contact with red ants, which are aggressive and can swarm and sting anyone who disturbs their mound. The best time to use this method is when temperatures are between 21 and 30 degrees C (70F to 85F), when the ants are closer to the surface. Pour a large amount of boiling water over the mound several times in succession. You can also pour vinegar over the mound to kill the ants. A strong mixture of hot water and hot pepper tea with the strongest peppers you can find will also help to kill the ants.
Homemade ant killer precautions
Wear goggles to protect eyes from liquids and sprays. Wear suitable clothing and gloves to protect the skin. Put on a face mask when using powders, granular products or sprays to prevent lung irritation. Keep ant-killer baits away from pets and children. Also keep pets and children away from soaked areas until the soil is dry.