‘They will be killed!’: ‘Homemade garlic spray’ to ‘effectively deter’ ants from gardens

Aphids: RHS gardening expert gives tips for dealing with pests

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Ants are among the most, if not the most, common pests known by homeowners, lawn care experts, and gardeners. You sit down to a nice relaxing evening on the patio with your favourite snacks, and then here come the ants to investigate. They build their hills, swarm around the garden, and cause trouble when they find their way through cracks in your home’s foundation and into the kitchen. So naturally, it causes some concern when you see an anthill forming in your garden. 

Besides attracting more unwanted pests, large concentrations of ants in your gardens can have numerous adverse effects on your garden. 

Some species of ants are known for causing damage to both your person and your property. 

Farm ants, for example, sting when they’re disturbed or perceive a threat, which could make working in your garden an unpleasant experience when you’re simply trying to tend to your crops. 

Some species, such as carpenter ants, bite for a similar reason. Even worse: after ants bite, they spray a type of acid into the wound.

Removing ants from your garden can be done both naturally and with chemical products. 

In most situations, gardeners should lean toward the natural method first to avoid causing the least amount of damage to plants and the surrounding environment as possible.

Gardening expert Mark Wolfe at HappySprout suggested creating a “homemade garlic bug spray” to deter pests.

He said: “Traditional agricultural experts and scientists agree that garlic spray can be an effective insect killer and deterrent.

“Garlic essential oil and its naturally occurring constituents, diallyl disulfide and diallyl sulfide, are the keys to its effectiveness. 

“In lab tests, these sulphur compounds interfere with the insect’s sensory receptors, causing disorientation and death at all life stages for a wide variety of flying and crawling bugs. 

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“In the garden, sensitive bugs tend to simply stay away from treated plants, but those that are present at the time of application, they will be killed.”

The irritating and disorienting sulphur compounds in garlic repel most flying and crawling insects. 

It’s especially helpful against annoying ants, aphids, armyworms, beetles, caterpillars, cutworms, mites, mosquitoes, and flies.

The expert also pointed out that this solution repels “many larger pests as well”. 

He said: “If you have problems with deer, mice, moles, or rabbits in the garden, a few well placed drops of garlic essential oil or a garlic-based repellent may help steer your unwanted garden visitors in a different direction.”

Garlic insecticide is available to purchase from garden suppliers, or you can try making your own. 

The ingredients needed are three garlic bulbs, water and washing up liquid.

Begin by separating the garlic cloves leaving the skins on the cloves.

Place all of the cloves into the blender and add a cup of water. Then put the lid on the blender and pulse until the cloves are well chopped.

Add the rest of the water and four drops of liquid dish soap followed by putting the lid on the blender and thoroughly liquefy the mixture.

Then filter the mixture through the cheesecloth to remove all non-liquid particles and transfer the mixture to the quart jar.

The resulting mixture is concentrated. To use the spray, dilute one part concentrate with 10 parts water. Apply on or around plants with a trigger spray bottle.

Gardening experts at Fantastic Services suggested adding a spice to make this garlic spray “even more effective” when deterring larger pests.

They said: “A popular addition to add to this mixture is cayenne pepper or chilli flakes. 

“The pepper helps with deterring some birds and rodents. 

“Squirrels, for instance, can’t handle spicy food well, so they back off when they sense some heat in their meal.”

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