Ants no small bother

Q. I have black ants in my flower and vegetable garden beds. How can I get rid of them safely?

Teuis from Boardman

A. In addition to this question, we had many other questions this week about ants swarming in yards and even in homes.

Although Teuis had black ants, many of the reports of “ants in the house” were most likely pavement ants.

There are many types of ants that are active this time of year.

Ants coming into the home are looking for food.

Our OSU Extension Entomology team just finished a new fact sheet dealing with ants and their control.

The first step in control is locating the nest. Sometimes this is easy in a location in the garden.

But, to be sure, you can simply use a spoonful of a sugary substance or a piece of bacon to locate the nest.

Once you get a trail of ants, you can use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to treat the crack or crevice from which the ants are emerging.

Ants in the garden may be difficult to control.

Ants will not harm your flowers or vegetables, but they can team up with aphids later during the growing season.

Many ants feed on the honeydew secreted by aphids, so the ants protect them.

Aphids are small insects with sucking mouthparts that feed on your plants — a bad thing.

Control of ants in the home starts with eliminating food sources.

Clean up any and all crumbs in your kitchen or other area where you find the ants.

Eliminate water sources as well.

Seal cracks and crevices where ants are found to be entering the home.

There are many insecticides and traps for ants as a last resort if you cannot get rid of them.

Be sure to read and follow the label.

Complete details about this option are available through the fact sheet. The fact sheet also includes identification details.

Visit for more information.

Eric Barrett is the OSU Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the Mahoning County office in Canfield. To contact the office: 330-533-5538

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