‘Go straight for the source’ 7 ways to get rid of an ants nest on your property

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Ants found in the UK are generally harmless to humans, though some species like red, wood or flying ants are known to nip human skin. While an ants nest in your garden isn’t always a risk, getting rid of it will give you peace of mind that your plants and home are safe from these creepy crawlies. There are plenty of ways to get rid of ants and stop them from invading your property, but which methods are the most effective? Here are the seven ‘proven’ tricks to try at home, according to Fantastic Gardeners.

There is no need to kill ants just for the sake of getting rid of them, but you should consider taking steps to remove them if they become widespread either outside, or within your home.

If the ants are confined to an isolated section of your garden it is unlikely that they will cause significant damage to your plants or property.

Fantastic Gardeners said: “When it comes to ant infestations, it’s never about simply sporadically spraying their seemingly endless trails with an ant killer weapon of your choice.

“To eradicate the entire ant threat in your garden, you have to go straight for the source.”

How to get rid of an ants nest

Black garden ants are the most common species found in the UK, and are known to nest mainly in dry soil and humus.

Their nests are most noticeable in flower beds, laws and under paving stones – all of which can be treated using any of the following methods.

Boiling water

The most widely known natural ant extermination method is using boiling water.

This method is cheap, safe and effective – though it may take a few attempts to fully remove the nest.

Fantastic Gardeners recommended using the boiling liquid on “as many entrances to the nest as possible” to cover all bases.

White vinegar

If you’re struggling with ants, it’s a good idea to stock up on this pantry staple as you’ll need a generous amount to effectively kill the nest.

Pour one litre of this acidic substance directly onto the nest and it should kill the ants on contact.

This method is safe to use on your lawn or in flower beds as it won’t cause damage to the growth


These microscopic worms are the natural nemesis of ants and can be utilised to “devour” a nuisance nest.

The tiny worms will hunt down the ants, forcing them to find a new nesting site far away from any potential predators.

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Dish soap and oil

This soapy, slippery solution has a high success rate when it comes to killing garden ants.

All you need to do is mix half a teaspoon of liquid dish soap with one and a half teaspoons of cooking oil (olive oil and canola oil work best).

Dilute with around one litre of water and decant into a large spray bottle

Spritz the liquid onto the nest, focusing it directly on entrance points.

Boric acid and sugar

Ants are known for their love of sweet food and liquids, making this method particularly effective

To make the solution, mix boric acid with sugar until it turns into a paste.

Place small amounts of the paste around the entrances to the ant nest to draw the bugs out.

The ants should eat some of the sugary substance and carry the rest back to the nest for the queen.

According to Fantastic Gardeners, the queen and other ants will begin to die shortly after consumption due to the boric acid.

Diatomaceous earth (DE)

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is effective against a variety of critters, both at home and in the garden.

This white powder can be sprinkled around the path or plants that you’re looking to protect.

DE is best applied on a dry day when the ground and soil are free from any moisture.

the wetter the surface is, the more time it will take to do its magic.

Insect-repellent plants

Various plants, especially the ones that contain essential oils, give off a certain smell that puts off lots of unwanted insects.

While this is not an instant fix for an ants nest in your garden, it will work well to prevent unwanted nests in the future.

Lavender and mint are two of the best plants to add to your garden in summer – so it’s time to get planting.

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