Ants in the garden: how to get rid of yourself
Ants are found everywhere, live in all gardens and orchards. They often form large colonies, build large-scale anthills, and even settle in houses. Many summer residents consider them malicious pests, but is it really so? Let’s figure it out

Ant species

In the gardens and orchards of central Our Country, several species of ants are found.

Red wood ant (Formica rufa)

These are the ones who build large anthills. They are medium in size, 7–14 mm long. Their chest and cheeks are reddish-red, the abdomen and head are black.

Most often they live in the forest, but sometimes they also settle in summer cottages, on the boundary between vegetable gardens. Their dwellings reach a height of half a meter or more. They are built from twigs, needles and other plant material. In a large anthill, there may be several hundred thousand individuals, and sometimes there are a million or more!

Despite the fact that everyone has seen and knows these ants, in some regions they are already becoming a rarity. The species is already listed in the Red Books of Moscow, Voronezh, Kostroma, Lipetsk, Novgorod and Chelyabinsk regions.

How useful. We know from school that these insects are the orderlies of the forest. Scientists confirm: red forest ants destroy a lot of pests (1). Of course, not only in the forest, but also in the garden. They willingly eat caterpillars of the pine sawfly, caterpillars of needle-eating butterflies and other uninvited “aliens”. One large anthill is able to clear a quarter of a hectare of forest or garden from pests. That is why in Europe red forest ants are artificially resettled.

In addition, red forest ants improve the soil. It is reliably known that in the places where the ant family lives, the earth contains 10 times more phosphorus and 2 times more potassium. And in a soluble form – so these nutrients are better absorbed by plants.

How harmful. However, every medal has a downside. Yes, yes, these insects can do harm.

Firstly, they, like other ants, love to feast on honeydew – the sweet secretions of aphids. During the season, the colony collects 450–500 kg of honeydew! They graze aphids, protect them from enemies and actively breed them, dragging them to neighboring plants. For gardeners, this is a big problem. But it is exacerbated by the fact that aphids, which are bred by ants, are often carriers of plant viruses (2).

Secondly, red wood ants spread the seeds of wild plants. This is good for the forest, but bad for the garden, because wild plants are weeds.

And, nevertheless, the benefits of the red forest ant are much greater, and problems with aphids and weeds are easily solved.

Black garden ant (Lasius niger)

Its other name is black lasium. This species lives on a vast territory – from Portugal and England to the central part of Siberia and Mongolia. It is he who is most often found in the gardens of the middle lane. Sometimes settles even in cities. Colonies are usually small, 4000–7000 individuals. In rare cases, it can be up to 50.

Black ants are small, about 5 mm long. They build anthills underground, in the roots of plants. Recognizing these nests is easy – they look like a small pile of loose earth with a hole in the middle. They willingly settle in gardens, vegetable gardens and flower beds, especially if there are natural decorative elements – stones and driftwood. It is under them or next to them that they most often equip their nests.

How useful. Like many other types of ants, black garden destroys pests. But, as a rule, not all, but only the smallest.

How harmful. If you see an aphid colony on a tree, be sure that an abundance of black ants will also be found there, which also like to feed on aphid secretions, protect it and breed it. They are the main carriers of aphids in the garden. But not only her – black ants love the excretion of worms, so the invasion of these pests is also guaranteed to you.

Also, black lasia loves strawberries, so expect bitten sides of berries.

Garden Palefoot Ant (Lasius alienus)

He’s also a brown lasso. Very small ants, only 2–4 mm long. Color – from light to dark brown. Colonies live underground, and it is very difficult to find an anthill – these insects do not make any mounds. Unlike its counterpart, the black ant, it prefers more open areas – illuminated and well warmed up: glades, sandy soils, coastal dunes, steppe meadows. Avoids wet soils. He loves to nest under rocks.

How useful. Pale-footed ants are omnivores, so pests are sure to be in their diet.

How harmful. This is another honeydew lover, he also breeds aphids and mealybugs. Can nibble on strawberries.

Red Myrmica (Myrmica rubra)

Small ants about 5 mm long. Yellow or light brown. Like black ants, they build their nests in the soil, between the roots of plants. They like to settle under stones, snags, fallen trees. They live throughout Europe, in Our Country – up to Transbaikalia. They are competitors of black garden ants.

Myrmica is a predator, preying on small insects on the surface of the soil and in fallen leaves. These ants paralyze their victims with a poisonous sting. They also scare away potential enemies, which may turn out to be a summer resident. If you sat on the ground and suddenly felt a sharp pain, you must have been bitten by a red myrmica. These ants have incredibly painful stings! A strong burning sensation immediately occurs, and the skin becomes covered with a red rash.

Than useful. This species is omnivorous, destroys garden and garden pests.

How hurts. Also a fan of aphid secretions, therefore he is able to breed it. And also worms. But it does so infrequently. The most unpleasant thing is myrmica bites.

Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus vagus)

You can’t confuse them with other ants, because they are the largest – they reach 1,5 cm in length. And they are completely black. The species is found throughout Europe, in Our Country – up to Altai. In some regions it is under protection – it is included in the Red Books of the Vladimir and Vologda regions.

These are forest ants, they live in glades, old clearings and forest edges. Anthills are arranged in wood residues and stumps. But if there is old firewood or sawn trees on the garden plot, they can also settle next to people. The colony can reach 4 individuals.

How useful. This species is omnivorous, destroying harmful insects. And best of all, he does not breed aphids! That is, it is practically harmless to the garden.

How hurts. May eat fruit, but rarely does so. So we can safely assume that it does not harm.

Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis)

Its official name is very beautiful, downright regal, but there is another one – a house ant. Yes, yes, these goosebumps run around your tables. They are small, only 1,5–2 mm long. Brown or yellowish.

Why is he a pharaoh? The fact is that for the first time these tiny insects were found in the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs – on mummies, where they penetrated in search of food. Here they were caught and handed over to the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus for determination. He described this insect in 1758, called the pharaoh ant, and suggested that Egypt and adjacent regions of North Africa are its homeland.

In Europe, the first time pharaoh ants were discovered in 1828, in London. These insects happily settled under the stoves of fireplaces. In 1862 they were already found in Our Country, in Kazan. They appeared in Moscow in 1889.

Now these ants live in houses on all continents, moving around the world with food and cargo on ships, planes, cars.

In homes, they prefer dark, warm and damp places. They willingly settle in the walls of houses, cracks in the floor and foundation, behind wallpaper, in boxes, folds of clothes and even equipment.

The family of pharaoh ants can reach 350 thousand individuals, but usually ranges from several thousand. But even worse, they do not have a specific nest – the anthill is dispersed throughout the house in the form of small colonies. That is why it is very difficult to remove these insects. Another problem is that, unlike other types of ants, they do not hibernate.

What are useful. I would like to attribute at least one valuable property to them, but there are none – only losses.

How they harm. They eat your food. But this is half the trouble. They can be carriers of dangerous infections. Imagine, at first they crawled along the dirty floor, looked into the trash can, and then climbed into your sugar bowl with dirty paws, walked on the bread and rummaged through the flour.

But that’s not all. Since house ants are ubiquitous, they can easily crawl into the ear at night. Pleasant little.

How to get rid of ants permanently

This is the dream of any summer resident, but, unfortunately, getting rid of ants will not work forever. In nature, all ecological niches must be occupied, and if there are no ants somewhere, be sure they will settle there soon. It’s like with weeds: you can at least completely flood the area with herbicides, a week or two will pass, harmful plants will appear on it again – the seeds will be brought by the wind. And the ants will crawl on their own.

All we can do is to reduce their numbers, but for this we need to fight them constantly. You can use any available means, but, of course, chemical methods of protection help better.

How to remove an anthill from the garden

Anthill of red forest ants

Really large anthills are built by red forest ants. Although they carry aphids and weeds around the garden, the benefits from them are incomparably greater. This is just the case when it is better to leave the anthill. Besides, it’s beautiful.

But if these ants seriously annoy you, then it probably makes sense to get rid of the dwelling of insects. But in no case do not destroy it! You can make it easier: collect the aerial part with a shovel into large dense plastic bags, tie them tightly with tape so that the insects cannot get out. Then dig a layer of earth under the anthill onto the bayonet of a shovel – there are also passages there. Pour the earth into the bag as well. Take or take the colony to the nearest forest. Dig a hole deep on the spade bayonet, pour in an earthen base, lightly tamp. Then pour the upper, above-ground part on top. It is not necessary to form a hill out of it, the insects themselves will equip their home. It is best to do this at sunset or at dawn, when the bulk of the insects are already inside.

If single ants remain in your area, they will leave on their own – they will not build a colony without a queen.

Underground anthills

It is almost impossible to get rid of them, because they are very strongly branched and often form in the middle of garden plants. It is difficult to dig them out without damaging the landing. Prevention is important here: remove rotting trees, old woodpile, stumps and stones from the site – this is where ants like to settle.

However, if the anthill has just appeared and is still small, you can dig it out with a shovel, put it in a bucket, take it outside the site (preferably into the forest) and pour it out there.

Ants inside the house

They are equipped with pharaoh ants. And, as already mentioned, they do not have a concentrated hearth – the colony settles throughout the house, filling secluded places in small groups. Actually, your house is one big anthill. Here you have to fight directly with the insects themselves.

Folk remedies for ants

If there are a lot of ants on the site, it’s better not to waste time – use special preparations (about them below). Folk remedies help when there are few insects.


Herbs and seasonings. It is believed that ants do not tolerate strong odors. Therefore, near the anthills, it is advised to lay out anise leaves, chopped tops of tomatoes and parsley, wormwood, garlic cloves (you can decompose sawdust mixed with garlic gruel) and cinnamon.

In the plantings of strawberries, you can plant garlic.

Charcoal. Many insects do not like the smell of burnt wood – for them it is associated with forest fires. Crush the charcoal and sprinkle generously on the anthill and ant nests.

Invalid methods. Very often among the people’s councils there are completely savage. For example, “pour the anthill with kerosene or carbolic acid.”

Do you know what carbolic is? This is the old name for phenol. And phenol is incredibly toxic to animals, it is one of the most dangerous industrial pollutants. It is destructive to many microorganisms.

Kerosene is not as toxic, but if used frequently and in large quantities, it can harm both people and the soil.

Ant repellant in the garden

The most important thing here is to keep the ants out of the trees – that’s where they breed colonies of aphids. There are three very reliable means.

Hemp oil. Treat the base of the trunks with it – it is believed that ants avoid this smell.

Foil. Wrap the base of the barrel tightly with thin foam rubber, and on top of it with a strip of foil. It is slippery, ants cannot overcome such an obstacle. Foam rubber is needed so as not to injure the bark of a tree, especially if it is young. And on old trees, it will fill in the recesses in the bark so that insects cannot crawl under the foil.

Fly tape. The scheme is similar – foam rubber, on top of it – a tape. Ants trying to get to the aphid colony will simply stick and die.

Ant repellant in the garden

Ash. Sprinkle ash on anthills and places where ants congregate – they, as mentioned above, do not like the smell of burning. And for plants, ash is an excellent fertilizer.

Sweet sponge. Very simple but effective lure. Take an ordinary sponge for washing dishes, soak it in a sugar solution and put it in places where ants accumulate. When a lot of insects gather on it, dip the sponge in boiling water. Soak again with syrup and put back to the ants. And so several times.

Prohibited funds. In the garden, it is also often advised to use carbolic acid and kerosene, but it is unlikely that you in your right mind would want to eat vegetables watered with this muck.

But there is one more bad advice: sprinkle salt on anthills and paths. Do not do this under any circumstances! Firstly, she will not scare them (pay attention to domestic ants that calmly crawl along the salt shaker). Secondly, high concentrations of salt will instantly kill all plants nearby.

Remedies for ants in the house

The most important thing in the fight against domestic ants is to ensure the safety of people and animals.

Boric acid. It paralyzes the nervous system of insects, and soon they die. By the way, for this purpose it is also used in medicine – for removing lice, for example.

To fight ants, you need to add it to something sweet. For example: in 500 g of jam (raspberry, strawberry or cherry – ants love them especially), add 20 g of fresh yeast and 5 g of boric acid. Having tasted such a delicacy, most insects die on the second day.

You can soak a few pieces of sugar in acid and leave them in this form in an open place.

But! Processed jam and sugar should be placed in a place inaccessible to children and warn all household members that this is a poisoned bait! Boric acid is used for external use. If you eat it, you can get serious poisoning, and for children, a lethal outcome is not excluded at all.

Repellents. It is believed that aromatic herbs and spices such as elderberry, tomato leaves, wild mint, cloves, wormwood and garlic repel ants. It is enough to spread them near the products and insects will begin to bypass these places. And when they realize that they can’t get to food, they will leave the house.

Professional ant repellents

There are quite a lot of ant repellents on sale now, but, in fact, they contain only two substances: either diazinon or chlorpyrifos.

Diazinon blocks the production of an enzyme responsible for the nervous system of ants. In insects, convulsions begin, then paralysis and death. The advantage of the substance is that it also penetrates into plants, being easily absorbed by the roots. As a result, it protects them from being eaten by ants for 2-3 weeks.

Chlorpyrifos enters the body of insects through the respiratory system and paralyzes the nervous system. It stays in the soil for 110–120 days, and is effective against pests for about 1–2 months.

Diazinon-based preparations

All of them belong to the 3rd hazard class – a moderately hazardous substance (for humans). But they are not toxic to plants and are safe for soil microflora and earthworms.

“Thunder-2” (3). The drug in the form of granules is intended for the destruction of garden ants in the beds, in flower beds, under trees, in the blind areas of houses, as well as against soil houseflies on seedlings and indoor flowers. The drug is completely ready for use.

Granules are introduced into anthills (to a depth of 2–3 cm) and accumulation sites. Consumption rate: 20–30 g per 10 sq. m. The death of ants and flies occurs in 1-2 days. A single application provides protection against insects for 2-3 months.

“Medvetoks”. The drug is intended for the destruction of ants and bears. Represents granules of red color, ready to use. In addition to the active substance, the composition of the product includes aromatic and flavoring additives that attract insects, as well as plant components – they serve as food for pests.

The granules are brought directly into the anthill by 3 cm. It is better to lay out the poison in the evening. Consumption rate: 20 g per 10 sq. m. The bait remains active for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, “Medvetoks” decomposes into components that are safe for the environment.

Re-treatment should be done after 1 month, when offspring appear from the larvae, but granules can be applied to the soil no later than 60 days before harvest.

“Ant-eater”. The drug is in the form of an emulsion concentrate. Sold in vials (1 ml). The bottle is diluted in 10 liters of water. This amount is enough to destroy 25 anthills! Each ant colony is treated with the resulting solution, for which the soil around the anthills is dug up until clutches are found. This is very important, because if only worker ants die, the colony will quickly recover due to the fecundity of the female. The ruined anthill is carefully shed with the Anteater solution, and then again sprinkled with earth. Insecticide treatment is recommended in dry calm weather, in the morning (before 10:00) or in the evening (after 18:00) – at this time, almost all ants are in their nests.

The period of protective action is at least 3 weeks. After that, “Anteater” completely disintegrates in the soil into natural components.

«Ant” (3). The drug is in the form of granules. They bring it directly into anthills to a depth of 2-3 cm. Consumption rate: 20 g per 10 square meters. m. The death of ants and flies occurs in 3-5 days.

If necessary, anthills can be re-treated after 30 days.

“Muratox”. A broad-spectrum drug against ants, fleas, basement mosquito larvae. Available as an emulsion concentrate.

To kill insects, their places of accumulation and ways of movement (including in the blind areas of houses and on sidewalks) are watered in dry weather in the morning or evening with a freshly prepared working solution (1-2 ml of the drug per 10 liters of water). Before watering, you need to dig up the colony to the pupae, water thoroughly, sprinkle with earth. Consumption rate: 2-3 liters per 1 sq. m.

To destroy ants on verandas, terraces and non-residential premises, baits are used: in a sweet solution (per 100 ml of water, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of honey), stir 1-2 ml of the drug, and then add 100 ml of water. The bait is poured into non-food containers (plastic and tin lids) and placed indoors on the paths of movement or penetration of ants. Baits can also be placed in greenhouses and greenhouses. Insects die for 900 days. The duration of action is 3-3 weeks.

“Muracid”. The drug is available in the form of an aqueous emulsion. In addition to the active substance, it contains food bait, the smell and taste of which attract ants.

The contents of the capsule (1 ml) are diluted in 10 liters of water. The prepared solution is watered with anthills and the passages that insects have made in the soil. Processing is best done in dry weather, in the evening or in the morning, when all the insects are in the anthill. Consumption rate: for small anthills – 0,5 liters of solution, for large ones – 1 liter or more. After treatment, the ants die for 2 days. Efficiency lasts from 2 to 3 months.

Preparations based on chlorpyrifos

They belong to the 4th hazard class – low-dangerous for humans and animals.

“Absolute”. Available in the form of a gel. In just one application, it completely exterminates colonies of house and garden ants.

The gel is lubricated with a substrate or squeezed out with a thin dotted line in the areas where ants appear. The length of the strips is 2 cm. With a large accumulation of insects, the strips are extended to 4 cm. Consumption rate: 25 g (1 tube) per room of 50 square meters. m.

To protect the lower floors, terraces and verandas from garden ants, the gel is applied along the walls inside the building and outside. After treatment, insects die within a day. The applied drug remains active for up to 1,5–2 months.

“Delicia”. The drug is in the form of a granular powder. Can be used both outdoors and indoors. It can be applied in two ways.

Method No. 1. The powder is scattered in a thin layer on the paths of movement of ants, near their nests. Cracks, seams and crevices should be sprinkled especially abundantly. Consumption rate: 10 g per sq. m.

The ants carry the powder to their nest, where it is eaten by the ant queen, the growing offspring, and the worker ants. As a result, the colony dies. In addition, it has a contact effect.

Method No. 2. The powder is diluted in water, mixing well. Cracks, seams, crevices and nests of ants are sprayed with a solution. You can arrange the diluted product in small flat containers. Packing 125 g is enough to prepare 6 liters of solution.

Combined drug

It contains both active ingredients: diazinon and chlorpyrifos. They enhance each other’s action and are able to remove insects even in the most neglected cases.

“A great warrior”. The drug against ants and cockroaches. Available in the form of a gel. It is applied in a dotted line to habitats, accumulations or movements.

For the destruction of domestic ants, the gel is applied with an interval of 4 cm between the strips. Consumption rate: 1 pack (35 g) for an area of ​​50–75 sq. m. Insects die on the first day. You can re-treat the room no sooner than after 3-4 weeks.

To kill garden ants, apply dots or strips of gel to sheets of cardboard and place them on the ant “paths” and around the anthill.

To destroy insects crawling to the lower floors of houses and country houses, the gel is applied along the perimeter of the room with a dotted line: 2 cm of gel – 6 cm of the untreated surface. For the best effect, you need to process the premises, both along the inner perimeter and outside.

What to do if bitten by an ant

Ants living in temperate latitudes are not dangerous. As a poison, they use formic acid, the same one that many in childhood licked from sticks previously lowered into an anthill. That is, it can even be taken orally. But there are also unpleasant symptoms.

Redness and itching

The maximum that can happen if the acid gets on the skin is a slight itching and irritation at the site of the bite.

What to do. The itch itself goes away after a few hours. To get rid of it faster, wipe the bite with vodka or any medicinal tincture with alcohol. You can make a compress with baking soda.


It happens rarely, but the consequences can be serious: swelling and blisters, severe and extensive redness of the skin with pain, nausea, shortness of breath, headache, loss of consciousness.

What to do. As soon as you notice the first signs of an allergy, take any antihistamine. If the drug does not help, the condition worsens – immediately consult a doctor!

In the subject

None of the beneficial insects eat ants. This is logical – the ants themselves are predators, there are many of them, they will not let themselves be offended. Moreover, they will not allow our useful assistants to destroy pests. For example, everyone knows that ants themselves breed colonies of aphids, graze them and protect them. Therefore, it is important to get rid of ants first. Here, too, there are safe ways.

  1. If you find an anthill on the site, sprinkle it liberally with ash or crushed charcoal. Many insects, including ants, do not like the smell of burning – they associate it with a fire.
  2. To prevent ants from climbing trees and settling aphids on them, wrap the bases of the trunks with foil so that it fills all the recesses in the bark, carefully knead it in the shape of the trunk. Ants will not be able to overcome the slippery surface.
  3. Another option is to wrap fly tape around the bases of the trunks: any ants that try to climb the tree will stick to it.

Popular questions and answers

We asked some popular questions about ants in the yard agronomist-breeder Svetlana Mikhailova.

How to find an ant nest
If we are talking about domestic ants, it is useless to look for their nests. They are scattered throughout the house, in the most secluded places.

There is no need to look for anthills of red forest ants – they are large, they can be seen from afar.

Anthills in the soil can be detected by the accumulation of insects and small holes.

Where do ants come from
New colonies are founded by females (ant queens) – they have wings and are able to fly long distances.

The female makes a small nest, lays larvae, from which workers hatch. And they are already expanding and completing the anthill.

How to get rid of ants in a greenhouse?
There are no specific recommendations for greenhouses – they use the same methods as for ants in the garden.

But remember that folk remedies are not very effective, they can only be used when there are few ants. With a large population of the site, only chemicals will help.

How to effectively get rid of ants?
Once and for all, getting rid of ants will not work, they will appear again and again. And in order to achieve maximum effect in the fight against them, it is important to exterminate them constantly – this is an endless work, but there is no other way out. If not dealt with, they can cause significant damage to the crop.
How to quickly get rid of ants?
The fastest way is to use professional chemicals. They have been tested, they have a proven effectiveness and often a long duration of action. And, by the way, you should not be afraid of their toxicity – they are approved for use in personal subsidiary farms (you simply cannot buy highly toxic drugs in the store) and, if the instructions are followed, do not pose any threat to human and animal health.

Sources of

  1. Larionov M.V. Ecobiological characteristics of representatives of the family. Formicidae in pine plantations of the Oka-Don Lowland: Saratov Region // dissertation, 2007 (
  2. Metlitskaya K.V., Zeynalov A.S., Kholod N.A. The prevalence of aphids – phytoparasites on strawberries // Theory and practice of combating parasitic diseases, 2015 (
  3. State catalog of pesticides and agrochemicals as of July 6, 2021 // Ministry of Agriculture of the Federation ( -information/info-gosudarstvennaya-usluga-po-gosudarstvennoy-registratsii-pestitsidov-i-agrokhimikatov/).

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