Hi Sheila, I agree with Verdun that the best solution is nematodes which are a natural method. The nematodes in question are called Steinernema feltiae which occasionally naturally infect and kill ant nests. Most of the alternative solutions involve poisons which are taken up by the ants (and hence whatever happens to eat the ants, such as some birds) and the small amount of poison may build-up in these larger animals over time and cause unexpected and more serious problems, perhaps similar to what we may be seeing in bees.
The best known ant nematode producer is Nemasys which sells a product called "Nemasys No Ants". You just water them onto an already damp lawn.
I have quite large lawns and a few ants nests... which means I get visits from green woodpeckers. I shall leave things as they are.
same here they've got babies in one of our willow trees and they need food
I have a 390 square metre lawn with at least a score of mounds, a couple over 80mm wide. Oddly, it's only in the past couple of years they've actually become a problem. They bring the mower to a bone-jaring stop and then get scalped as I have to manhandle it over them. Mowing has become a back-breaking chore and the result is an eyesore. Stamping them flat is no help at all.
I have to agree that one shouldn't unnecessarily destroy anything in nature but ants seem really to be staging a take-over and badly need controlling.
Many thanks to all the helpful contributors here .
I reckon I'll try the nematodes by preference as the 'natural' solution with 'AntStop' as a fallback. Though clove oil sounds interesting and sort of kinder as well, I'm bothered about where they'd go to; if it's just a few feet off to the side, then it isn't really a satisfactory solution.
I have ants nests in my garden,both black and red and we all get on just fine
Sorry your ant problem is so bad...no-one will criticise you for taking steps. I would probably do the same. Perhaps the mild winter has be kind to them?
Yes apologies on my part Diggs.Your ant problem sounds pretty bad and I for one wouldn't blame you for taking action.Each to their own and every situation is different.
Thanks everyone for such a variety of responses to this problem.
I don't think anyone has mentioned the pain that can be inflicted by red ants. I was happily weeding a flower border last week when I felt a sharp pain, like a thorn under my tshirt. It was a red ant. Unknown to me I had another lurking that went on to sting elsewhere. These lumps lasted almost a week and were intensely itchy. Maybe I'm over sensitive but they were no joke. I'd hate our young grandchildren to be attacked.
I have put out bait stations but can't see where the nest is - under a big plant I guess. Does anyone know if nematodes work if you can't water them directly onto the nest?
I have a very large lawn that has started to show ant mounds,I thought I had got rid of them last year which I did but they are back again. Don't waste your time on Nemasys
Besides being very expensive it did not work for me. I found an American site that
suggested using Borax powder, looking it up I found it's another name for soap.
I now use Lemon concentrated washing up liquid in a watering can, one large bottle gives 10 gallons dont' be mean in with the quantity divide the bottle by 5.and fill can slowly to keep the suds down. It might take a few go's but it does work.One thing to remember, it must be LEMON concentrate, iv'e tried others and they did not work well give it a go, it worked for me. I use half a can per mound starting from the middle working out to a radius of 600mm or 2'ft in old money
Having been plagued by ants I bought the 50 sq m No Ants pack that cost me £54 and as they say ants will not tolerate nematodes so they moved their nests about a metre away so you still have them. You can only use it when the soil is warm enough and damp and you have to keep watering it for 2 weeks as the nematodes need the moisture to move around.
I got about 120 sq m of lawn so at 77 I cannot a ford to saturate every sq m of lawn. If you saturated the centre of your lawn and wait till the ants move out then saturate a ring round your central area and wait for them to move again you may be able to get rid of them if you keep doing it.
Using nematodes to control Vine Weevils in flower pots is successful and I do ours twice a year.