Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > June 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--And The Ants GO Marching...

BONNIE'S GARDEN--And The Ants GO Marching...

Ever noticed how, when weather gets wetter, ants seem to move inside?  We were just a couple of weeks into May when I noticed ants milling around a windowsill in my house.  Because I was sort of expecting this invasion, I managed to catch them before they made it to their usual destination—the cat’s food tower.  Out came the diatomaceous earth (available in the organic section of any garden store) and, voila, no more ant problem.

I had to wonder, though, what do ants actually “do” (I mean, beside disrupt our picnics, march across out kitchen counters, and leave anthills in our driveways and lawns?)  Well, as it turns out, they do a LOT!  Ants actually aerate more soil than do earthworms!  They constantly tunnel undergrounds, introducing air deeper into the soil—as necessary for plants as is water. 

Taking food deep into their tunnels actually introduces organic matter into the soil.  There are seed-harvesting ants which are responsible for the dispersal, even germination, of wild species.  And, ants actually kill and eat the eggs and larvae of other insects—such as fleas, termites, even cockroaches.

There are ants on every continent in the world, except Antarctica.  Scientists estimate that there are about one and a half million ants for every person on the plant!  Interesting side note:  ants can lift 50 times their own weight with their jaws.  That would be like a 200 pound man bench-pressing 10,000 pounds!

Still, necessary though they might be, I still don’t want to share my house with them.  If they want to live in the yard, well, that’s fine, but I have to draw the line somewhere.  So what to draw it with?  Well, I’ve always had success putting a border of diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of my house.  My grandmother, on the other hand, used cinnamon sprinkled on windowsills and threshold.  Maybe that’s why her kitchen was always ant-free, but also smelled delicious!

Ants also don’t like citrus, so a 50-50 mixture of lemon juice and water sprayed on surfaces is an effective repellent as is lemon oil. 

I’ve decided not to sweat the ants in the yard.  They’re doing a more important job than I realized.  But my house is MINE and diatomaceous earth, lemons, and cinnamon will help keep it that way.
Posted: 6/6/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 2 comment(s)
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3/13/2018 1:50:42 AM

Rita B
I appreciate the tips for natural solutions & I wont worry about my 'outdoor' excavators anymore.
6/9/2016 1:39:04 PM

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