Vegetable Garden Ants
Some have commented that ants must be removed from the garden area. On the other hand, I have read that ants do not pose a threat and can be left alone.Garden ants can actually be beneficial in the vegetable garden.
Something to watch for with ants in the garden, is aphids. Ants are attracted to aphids due to the fact that aphids give off a sweet secretion. The ants will collect these aphid secretions, and take them back to their nests. The ants will also protect the aphids from predators. If you do find ants in your garden, check to make sure that aphids are not present as well. Treat any found aphids as soon as possible.
These ants do not typically harm vegetation by striping leaves from plants. Whenever I find these ants in my garden I let them be. The only time the ants might pose a problem is if the population becomes very large, resulting in an outright infestation.
One ant that you definitely want to stay clear of is the fire ant. Fire ants are usually large, red ants that can construct very large mound. A fire ant colony can contain as many as a million ants. Anyone that has ever been bitten by a fire ant can tell you that this is one critter you want to eliminate from your yard.
Some gardeners see this insect and assume it is a "bad" thing. They are scavengers. If you find them inside your tree, they is not bringing disease to the tree. Neither are they eating or wrecking the tree. What they are doing is harvesting the rotten wood, fungus and other organisms that ARE eating the tree. It is performing a caretaker function for you. Never try to eliminate garden ants from the inside of trees, they are sending a signal that the tree is in danger and ill health.
Some gardeners see them scurrying around on the paving stones on patios or driveways. This is a pain in the garden as they can undermine the stone foundations. Slowly pour boiling water down the hills. If poured very slowly, the hill will likely die. It may have to be repeated several times but eventually the nest will die.If garden ants are in your flower beds, then there are ways to discourage them as well as kill them. Control the aphids. Without aphids, some species will not have enough food. Garden ants do not like wet ground. Keep the garden well watered and your problems will decrease.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Graeme Stephens has been running the largest owned carpet cleaning company
in new Zealand for 24 years. IICRC qualified "master restoration technician"