It has happened to the best of us: we are sitting under a tree, trying to enjoy our day when we notice that there are ants all over us. Or we are gardening near the tree and suddenly the ground is moving and ants are everywhere. It is a common occurrence for many homeowners, but that doesn’t always mean it is a good thing. Sure, ants are one of the animals that we have to share our planet with, but that doesn’t mean we want them near our trees.
Ants can destroy trees and foliage, keeping your tree open to infestations, diseases, and other problems that can really impact the health and safety of your tree. If you notice ants around your tree, the first idea you may have is to try to get rid of them by yourself. In some cases, this works extremely well.
Here are a few approaches you can take to getting rid of ants near your trees:
5. Peppermint Oil
- A little bit goes a long way
- Can use mint tea or peppermint soap in a pinch
- Relatively cost-effective option
One of the simplest and most effective ways to rid your yard (and your trees) of ants is to use peppermint oil. According to DIY Natural, peppermint oil naturally deters all kinds of animals and pests, including ants. According to their website, “Many people will simply soak a cotton ball in peppermint essential oil and place around the house to prevent ants. This also works well to prevent mice and as a substitute for mothballs in your dresser.” You can do the same thing outside, though you may want to consider something a little more permanent.
Don’t have peppermint oil? Another approach that some people swear by is to use peppermint soap mixed with water. Just make sure you use a soap that is completely natural, because all of the chemicals in many soaps will actually damage your trees. Aim for a soap that is handmade and that you can find the ingredients for, as that will keep your trees the healthiest.
4. Flood Ant Hills
- Easy to do
- Eliminates ant hills
- May need to be done multiple times
Another option to eliminate ants from around your trees is to flood ant hills with water. This is something that takes a bit of patience, especially if you have more than one ant hill in your yard. If you do it a few times, you will start to see fewer and fewer ants until they completely disappear.
According to Ask an Entomologist, ant hills go much deeper than you think, so you might want to keep up the process of flooding ant hills for a few days after you see them start to level off. This allows you to get deeper into the soil, where the ants are furiously trying to rebuild.
3. Sprinkle Black Pepper
- Easy to find
- Relatively inexpensive
- Good for small infestations
If you have a small amount of ants that you want to curtail before it turns into something that is serious and a bigger problem, sprinkling black pepper or cayenne pepper can help to reduce the ant population. This is something you likely have in your kitchen, so you can just sprinkle it around your trees. Make sure that you don’t have any sensitive plants around or in your nearby gardens because it can kill some plants, like orchids.
According to Home Guides, you can easily mix the cayenne pepper method with the previous flooding method for the best results. Simply spread the pepper around the ant hills – this will keep them inside their homes. Then, you can flood them to get the largest amount of the population to leave.
2. Petroleum Jelly
- Another household product
- Rarely impacts other plants
- Better for small infestations
If you have a smaller infestation, another way to attack the problem is to use petroleum jelly. Spreading it somewhere nearby or on the tree itself (not as recommended) allows you to “catch” the ants and eliminate them that much more easily. This is best done if you have a walkway or concrete path nearby. Make sure to test the jelly on the surface to ensure that it won’t stain.
According to Martha Stewart, “When ant infestations persist, it may be necessary to attack the ant colony — both the parent and the satellite ones.” By smearing petroleum jelly on the ground nearby, you may be able to find those satellite colonies that are much harder to find.
1. Contact a Professional
- Once the infestation gets too large
- Use products most people can’t purchase
- Solves the problem quickly
Contacting a professional tree care service may be the best way to eliminate ants from your trees. Ants are extremely hardy and can withstand a lot of what we throw at them. Most of the solutions available to people on the market today are either too weak to really do anything or too dangerous to use around your own children and pets, according to the University of Minnesota.
Do not use chemicals that you aren’t familiar with – especially if you have pets. It is hard to really know what is in some of these chemicals or how they will interact with everything else that has to live in your yard. A professional team can find the best solutions for your yard, possibly saving trees from infestations and stopping entire colonies.
At Bumblebee Tree Service, our goal is to keep your yard safe and beautiful, no matter what you are up against. We know the ins and outs of dealing with pests of all kinds and we strive to find the gentlest and safest ways to handle your problems.
Give us a call today and our professionals will pay you a visit and help to determine how best to handle your ant infestation. Your trees are important and ants can quickly render them dangerous and sick.
Give us a call at (609) 297-1721 so that one of our professionals can come inspect your tree and determine what the next steps should be.