Ants themselves do not pose a threat to lawns in the United Kingdom. Instead, it’s their humble abodes that turn perfectly leveled soil into bumpy parcels of land. Ant hills create untenable sections of lawns that require immediate removal. Unfortunately, far too many homeowners prefer to pour scalding hot water down anthills, which only results in dead patches of grass plants.
We have a better idea on how to deal with ants.
Ants Offer Aphid Protection…and that’s not a Good Thing
In the UK, black ants like to eat sweet food sources. The workaholic insects especially love honeydew, a secretion generated by aphids such as greenflies, whiteflies, and blackflies. Ants protect aphids from attacks from predators such as ladybirds. Although that sounds like a good thing, the fact is that more aphids living in your lawn means more damage to your grass and plants. Should you discover black ants on plants, flowers, and vegetables you should know that black ants are protecting predatory sap-consuming insects.
How to Remove Ant Colonies
On a dry day, eliminate anthills by spreading out the ant excavated soil before you mow the lawn. A besom broom or stiff garden broom should effectively spread anthill debris across your lawn. If your lawn has uneven surfaces because of the presence of anthills, pull back the turf in the raised sections of your lawn and remove the excess soil. This procedure is most effective during winter when ant colonies typically go dormant. Make sure to adjust the lawnmower to a higher cut setting to avoid slicing through anthill debris.
Prevention is the Answer
Reacting to an ant problem might only offer temporary relief; preventing the presence of ants on your lawn is the most successful long term solution. Consider buying an ant bait, spray, powder, and/or aerosol to prevent the migration of ants on your lawn. British homeowners can find available products at garden centres or at local do it yourself warehouses. You can also use a the pathogenic nematode, Steinernema feltiae, which some mail order suppliers offer online to treat ant nests that form on lawns and within plant and flower beds. Many professional gardeners use Steinernema feltiae as a last resort remedy to eliminate pesky black ants.
If you believe ants have overwhelmed your once healthy lawn and garden to the point of overwhelming you, consider hiring a professional who has the tools and expertise to return your lawn to its former vibrant appearance.