Getting rid of ants in the garden

I noticed recently that there are ants all over one of my raised beds – they are all over the lettuce and other greens. On closer inspection I see that the leaves are also covered in aphids. The little blighters are running an aphid dairy farm in my garden! That can’t be good for the crops so I have to get rid of them. After a quick look on the internet I found one of the most widely suggested ideas for getting rid of ants is with borax, which is a white powdered acid (boric acid) that kills the ants by dehydrating them and drying them out. Here in New Zealand I was able to find borax for sale at my local Binn Inn. Generally it appears you need to mix it with something that makes it more attractive as a food to the ants.

Ants feasting on powdered sugar mixed with borax

Ants feasting on powdered sugar mixed with borax

So I started with an easy recipe – just mix it with some powdered sugar (has a similar consistency as the borax powder). I set some out for them in a beer bottle cap and dusted a little bit directly on their trail. They seemed to be avoiding it at first but when I checked this morning, they had cleaned up all the loose stuff from the trail and they were all over the bottle cap. So this morning I laid out some more second helpings for them. My plan of attack is to get rid of the ants first and then tackle the aphids.


    • on 20 December 2010 at 7:49 am
    • Reply

    Just to add an update on the end result – the ants went mad for the borax/sugar mix and had mostly disappeared after 4-5 days. The aphids disappeared too after the ants were gone and I didn’t have to use anything for them.

    • Andy on 14 February 2011 at 9:43 am
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    We’ve got major ant problems out here in Stoke; they seem to be everywhere! They look like your ants too – fairly smallish and a bit browny in colour.

    BTW I counted three links between this last “Aidan’s Garden” post and beer:

    1. The beer bottle cap, obviously
    2. The Binn Inn reference
    3. The mention of dehydration 😉

      • on 14 February 2011 at 8:14 pm
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      Yeah, try the borax, if you can get them feasting on it, it should kill them off.

      Well done on the 3rd link!

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