Why ants are more useful than harmful in the garden
Are ants pests or beneficial?
First of all: ants are not pests! However, their presence can have an indirect negative impact on your plants. For example, that the corridors of an ant nest in the ground can be damaging to your plants. Also, an increase in ant numbers might indicate an aphid infestation on your plants because some species of ants feed on the honeydew produced by aphids.
Last but not least, there is the visual aspect because ants create anthills which can be annoying.
Ants are extremely useful garden dwellers
Ants make a valuable contribution to maintaining the ecosystem in the garden and, depending on the type of ant, take on several important tasks.
Remove dead organic material
Eradicate snail and insect eggs as well as caterpillars
Spread plant seeds
Aerate the soil - prevent soil compaction
Ants are particularly noticeable as pest fighters, as a single ant colony kills up to 100,000 invertebrates per day. Not all of them are pests of course but a large number of pests are decimated by ants who feed on them.
Ant species in the garden
The garden is part of the natural habitat of numerous species of ants, as it offers them optimal living conditions with loose vegetation, trees and, unfortunately, often also aphid infestations on cultivated plants.
In addition to the blackgarden ant and the yellowmeadow ant are the most commonly found species in our gardens. Their nests are located underground and when larger than a certain size, can become visible as sandy mounds of earth, which can be visually jarring, especially on lawns.
But what if they are beginning to get really annoying? Encourage them to move away!
You shouldn't be fighting ants in your garden! First of all because, as already mentioned, ants take on numerous useful tasks. Secondly, because ants keep coming back anyway and fighting them is pointless in the long term. If ants bother you in a certain spot in your garden, you should try to drive them away so that they move to another place. There are several ways you can accomplish this.
1. Deprive ants of their food source
Examine your plants for aphid infestation and take action if necessary. Once the aphids are gone the ants will have no honeydew left to feast on and will look for a new place to stay.
2. Be a troublemaker
Regularly disturbing the peace has proven to be particularly effective. For example, you can poke a stick into an ant nest every day. Sooner or later the ants will start moving their nest to a quieter place.
3. Help with the move
There are other ways to motivate ants to move their nests. Place a few flower pots filled with wood shavings upside down next to the annoying ant nest. Soon the insects will start moving into the pots and you can easily carry them to another location at least 30 m away.
4. Set a scent mark
Use a piece of cinnamon to naturally obstruct or re-route ant trails, because they can't stand the smell of this spice at all.
These natural methods allow the busy little creatures to continue to do their part to maintain the ecosystem in the garden without disturbing you.