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How to get rid of ants in your lawn

Of all the insects you expect to see in your garden, seeing ants in your lawn may come as a surprise to many UK homeowners. But did you know there are over 30 different species of ants living in the UK today? As fascinating and as important to your garden’s ecosystem as ants may be, nobody wants to see the look of their beautifully manicured garden lawn be damaged by invaders, and you definitely don’t want to see them crawling up your legs when you’re trying to relax!

ant nest on a garden lawn

First and foremost, what does an ant nest look like?

Identifying where ants build their fortress in your garden is usually quite straightforward. You will notice piles of soil on the surface of your garden, which are circular and dome-like in construction. This is the entrance to their nest, which stretches far below the surface of your garden. But, as far as damage to your lawn is concerned, this is the main thing you will see.

How can I get rid of ants in my lawn?

Since ants are an important part of the biodiversity of a healthy garden, it’s advisable to try and tolerate ant nests where possible. This is because they help aerate the soil and break down dead plant material, and they will eat common garden pests such as mites and larvae. But, as mentioned before, nobody wants to let an ecosystem like this get out of hand and invade their summer afternoon!

Create a compost heap

A compost heap gives ants the perfect environment to live – they can get all the materials and food they require to go about their day and rarely travel far from the compost area. This means you have a colony of natural composters breaking down the materials you’ve added to the pile, keeping it aerated, and helping to speed up the composting process.

Brush the ant hills away

Brush and flatten the mounts on a dry day so they are level with your lawn to lessen their appearance without disturbing the ant colony too much. Removing the ant hills in this way can discourage the ants from coming to the surface in this area in future. If you do this in wet conditions, you will likely smear the mud across your lawn, leaving it looking equally as messy as before!

Use a non-pesticide control if removal is necessary

If the infestation is out of control, aim to use a non-pesticide control treatment such as nematodes. Ants detest these small, microscopic worm-like creatures since they are one of their only predators. So, if you introduce nematodes to the ant nest area, the ants will usually flee quickly and move on to somewhere else!

Contact a specialist if you assume the ant species may be harmful

Although most ant species in the UK are harmless, some species will be aggressive when disturbed and may bite or sting or even spray formic acid – all of which can be a problem for those allergic to the venom. If you have concerns that the ant colony in your garden is a health risk, then please get in touch with a specialist before doing anything else!

For further reading, we have a blog on common lawn pests on chafer grubs, leather jackets and advice on dealing with worm casts.

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