Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
I have ants all over my yard. I also have domestic cats and wild birds. Is there any organic or other non-toxic way to kill the ants without putting poison in my yard? If not, what is the most effective, least toxic substance I can use?
Rate This FAQ
There are some organic ant control products on the market, but I have not seen an evaluation of their effectiveness.
The best first step in ant control is to have the ant identified. If you collect a bunch of ants in a vial or jar with rubbing alcohol, they can be sent to the lab and I can identify them (go here: http://utahpests.usu.edu/uppdl/htm/forms for more information). If that is not an option, then we will have to work under the assumption that we are dealing with pavement ants. I have had a few people, including myself, collect ants that were all over their yard, around the house
foundation and in cracks in the concrete. In all cases they were pavement ants.
The best way to get rid of these ants is to use baits. Spraying ants with insecticides is not a very effective control. To kill ants you have to kill the queen. When myou use baits, the slow-acting insecticide in them allows the ants to carry it back to the nest where they feed it to other ants, immature ants, and hopefully the queen. The chemical in the products is slow acting, so it may be a while before you notice a significant impact.
Eliminating ants from your yard without repeat and continuous applications of insecticides (which I do NOT recommend) is unrealistic. You will have to live with some ants in your yard and around the house. You should target the areas where you spend the most of your time, and ones that invade your residence.
There are multiple formulations of ant baits: liquid, gel and granular. Since you have cats and birds, spreading granular baits around is probably not a good idea. You can find Maxforce baits (liquid and gel) at your local garden store or a place like Lowes. The bait stations are either covered or not. If they are not covered, then you might consider putting a wire cage around the baits to keep your pets away from them. Using both formulations is better than one, and remember that you want to use a sweet (sugary) bait (some ants like protein-rich baits instead of sweet ones).
Let me know if you need more information, and I'd be happy to help.
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- I've lived in Spanish Fork all my life and have never seen a beetle like this before...and they're suddenly all over our yard! The adults are about 1/3" long. They are either yellow-green or blue-green on their backs, with a small band of light tan (almost white) all the way around the outside edge. They don't fly. We find them usually running across the driveway and I've found a few in the flower gardens as I'm weeding.
- I have a big problem with a little pest in my house. I would call them fruit flies, but they don't hang around fruit. They mostly bug me as I sit here at this computer, and often times in the bathroom by the mirror. How can I get rid of these tiny flies?
- When do spray for the cotteling moths, Apple worms?
- We have flying, black bugs with orange/red spots by the eyes. They are all over our year old peach trees. Do you have any idea what they could be and how we can get rid of them?
- I had some trouble with Squash Bugs attacking my Spagetti Squash. Now my plants looks as if it may have Cucurbit Yellow Vine Disease (CYVD). Should I try to deteremine if its really CYVD and if it is, what do I need to do?
- Is there any evidence of free run chickens significantly controlling flies from horse manure? I have neighbors who rely solely on a single hen and rooster to control flies for their two horses in a paddock, not a pasture. No other form of control is used. While chickens may, in fact control insects, I suspect the only real way to control insects (particularly flies) is to routinely (daily or weekly) police the manure and dispose of it. Is there any literature on the subject?
- I have spider mites on my IIiamna rivularis. It looks like I also have spider mites on my Mirabilis jalapa. I don't remember of having any problems with growing Mirabilis jalapa before. They have always been an easy plant for me to raise. I have read the article on spider mites and I am wondering if I should just let them go or buy an insecticide like Bayer Advanced 3 in 1 Insect, Disease and Mite control. The spider mites are taking over my yard.
- I am interested in beekeeping, and am currently reading several books on the subject. All of the books have said, "contact your local extension office to find out about apiary organizations and to register your hives." I've looked all over your site and can't find anything on this subject for Washington County. Where can I find information on apiary organizations in this area?