How to get rid of ants in the lawn

 Green headed ant nest in a lawn

Green headed ant nest in a lawn

 Green headed ants deliver a painful sting

Green headed ants deliver a painful sting

Ants in the lawn can be annoying, unsightly and sometimes painful! Being able to enjoy your backyard is a right for all homeowners. Certainly, if you have children and pets, you want them to be able to enjoy playing on the lawn without getting bitten.

Ants that set up home in and around your lawn tend to be ants that bite or sting. Green headed ants will be well known to many people giving a painful sting that may itch for several days afterwards. But there are a number of smaller, faster moving ants (such as tyrant ants) that also give a mild sting or bite – not as painful, but still annoying.

So what are your ant treatment options?

As with all ant treatments, the aim is to kill the queen – the egg-laying machine – to ensure the colony cannot recover from a treatment. If you can find the nest, you can try and treat the nest directly either by flooding the nest with insecticide or treating the nest with ant bait.

Treat the ant nest with liquid insecticide…

If you can find the nest (not always easy), injecting the nest can be a bit problematic. Firstly, you don’t want to get bitten! The best option for this approach would be to use a product like PestXpert Outdoor Perimeter spray; with its 1m metal spray wand, you can probe into the ground and still keep your hand well away from biting ants. Secondly, you need to ensure that all the underground chambers have been treated. Whereas it’s never possible to guarantee you’ve treated the whole nest, the aim is to ‘flood’ the nest with insecticide and spraying for about 30 seconds per nest entrance is a good guide. If successful this should deliver fairly immediate results, with the nest dead in a matter of hours.

Use ant bait…

Ant baits are the smart way to eliminate an ant problem. Baits consist of a food attractive to the ants and a slow acting insecticide. Ants take the bait back to the nest and feed it to their nest mates, including the queen. The slow acting insecticides allow the ants to consume all the bait before they experience any toxic effects. By the time it kicks in, it’s too late, they have all eaten the bait and the colony is doomed. The challenge with using ant baits is that you need to choose bait attractive to the species of ant causing the problem – each species of ant has slightly different food preferences and these preferences change throughout the year.

An ideal solution for this problem is PestXpert Nest Kill Ant Bait. The bait contains two different food granules to appeal to a wide range of ant species and maintain attractiveness as their food preferences change. Primarily consisting of a protein granule and carbohydrate-based granule, this bait is ideally suited to lawn ants that tend to be protein feeders – they use their stings to immobilize their animal prey.

 Two different food granules in PestXpert Nest Kill ant bait

Two different food granules in PestXpert Nest Kill ant bait

An application of PestXpert Nest Kill Ant Bait will have a significant impact within 24-72 hours, with the nest eliminated within 1-2 weeks. However, there are some tricks to getting the best performance from PestXpert Nest Kill Ant Bait.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Granular ANT BAITS are not the same as insecticide granules (or sand). Baits contain food and are taken back to the nest – they are designed to kill the whole colony / nest. Insecticide granules are a contact insecticide, killing insects when they come into contact with the granules – they are designed to exclude insects from a particular area, they are unlikely to kill the nest.

Treating the whole lawn

In many cases it’s not possible to find the nest or indeed the whole lawn may be riddled with ant nests. In such cases, granular ant baits such as PestXpert Nest Kill become the best option. Simply sprinkle the bait over the area where the ants are active, and the ants themselves will do the rest.

What about funnel ants?

 Funnel ant nests make a mess of lawns and undermine the soil structure

Funnel ant nests make a mess of lawns and undermine the soil structure

Funnel ants are a unique species of ant, which live underground, digging up dirt into funnels or chimneys above ground. In a lawn they can make a big mess! Baits are not very effective with funnel ants partly because of where they live (below ground) and partly because of their feeding habits. Directly nest injection into each funnel can provide good results, but a major infestation can be a challenge and may require multiple treatments.

The use of PestXpert Nest Kill ant bait can also be worth a try. However, with the ants living underground and generally foraging at night, it is a challenge to carry out an effective application; particularly as the bait becomes unattractive if wet (which can happen with overnight dew or rain). If you are going to use this option, either pour some bait down each funnel or carrying out an area application when dry overnight weather is guaranteed. Try your technique on a small area first.

Will the ants return?

If you kill the nest, the ants obviously won’t return. However, it won’t stop new ants setting up their nests in your lawn in the future (a nice lawn, clear of competition is irresistible real estate for an ant queen!). However, it may take many months for this to happen ­– plenty of time to enjoy your lawn.

But if ants do become a problem again in the future, at least you will know what to do!

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