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Ants in veg beds

FlinsterFlinster Posts: 883
edited April 2019 in Problem solving
hi All,

any advice in ants in my raised veg beds? They are everywhere! I noticed my radishes looking a bit yellow and the ants are clearly nesting underneath and found a few nibbled with ants all over them! The garden is plagued with ants as it’s a raised dry south facing plot and they love it. This is ok but in the veg beds is becoming a problem! I can’t go in with boiling water without killing plants and don’t want to use permethrin based powders.. has anyone had success with nematodes? I’d expect they wouldn’t  be too good in open ground but thought maybe raised beds would have a better success rate?


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,111
    Keep the soil moist ... the ants need dry soil and raised beds tend to be dryish, that’s why ants love to make their homes in them. Regular watering will make them move elsewhere.  The veg will be happy too. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    edited April 2019
    In your case I think they are worth a try.  The nematodes don't kill the ants but they won't tolerate them near nests so will move their nest elsewhere.  You will need to keep the beds well watered once the nematodes have been applied or they will die and as ants hate wet soil, that will help too (and may even be worth trying first, without using nematodes.)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FlinsterFlinster Posts: 883
    Thanks. I have been watering thoroughly every evening or morning for the last week to no avail. It’s hard to keep moisture levels high during the day as the garden is such a sun trap. I suspect that some nests are in the paths between the veg, or at the sides and they just migrate in. Every time I go to pick something, it and my hands get covered and my daughter has stopped helping bless her (she got attacked a few years ago after sitting on a nest and was stung head to toe... she won’t forgive ants ever lol!). I don’t mind flicking a few off they don’t bother me, but enough is enough! 😬
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    You need to get the beds thoroughly moistened and then kept that way as well as any paths in between.   This will discourage the ants form setting up home in your veggies.

    You can also deter them with a smell they absolutely loathe - mix one small bottle of essential oil of cloves (pharmacy/health shop) in a watering can full of water and pour over the beds.  Repeat as necessary till all the beds are done.

    Plant Pennyroyal round the base of the raised beds.  They don't like that smell either.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,928
    I've had luck blasting their nest area with a high pressure jet setting on the hose multiple times in a week.   It makes a mess of everything around it, but it did get rid of the ants.  
    Utah, USA.
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