Ants in Lawns: Solutions That Work
Get Rid of Lawn Ants Quickly and Safely
Lawn ants can undoubtedly be a nuisance, and while they rarely kill grass, the mounds that form above their nests are unattractive, and your lawnmower blades are likely to scalp the raised grass, possibly even damaging the roots too.
The good news is you don’t need a bucket of nasty chemicals, you can leave the boiling water safely in the kettle, and you don’t need to wait forever for my preferred method to work either.
My name is Daniel, and I’m the co-owner here at DIY Gardening; let me help you solve your lawn ant problem.
My Recommend Lawn Ant Product (It’s Organic Too!)
There are plenty of reasons to choose an organic lawn ant treatment product:
- Safe for wildlife and pets.
- Safe for children.
- Better for the environment.
- Bee and pollinator friendly.
My preferred lawn ant product is nematodes.
Never heard of nematodes?
They are tiny microscopic worms that you add to a watering can; once applied to the lawn, they attack the ants, which will relocate to a safer area.
Nematodes occur naturally in the environment, but you can buy them in a packet and apply them from April to October, provided the ground isn’t frozen.
Step by Step Instructions to Get Rid of Ants in Lawns
Nematodes are live worms, albeit tiny – over 16 million of them per packet!
As they are alive, you should only order them when you are ready to use them or store them in a fridge as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Here are the step-by-step instructions:
- Choose a wet or moist day; avoid dry weather conditions if possible.
- Create a stock solution of water and nematodes in a bucket as per the guidelines on the packet.
- Dilute the stock with water into watering cans and apply with a coarse rose.
- Apply evenly to the entire lawn.
- Keep the lawn moist for two weeks after application otherwise, the nematodes will die.
What Happens Next
The nematodes irritate the ants, who will then migrate to a new area to get away from them.
The ants sense the nematodes and see them as parasitic predators, so they usually migrate far away, but it’s best to treat the entire lawn, so they don’t set up home within your grounds.
It can take up to two weeks for the nematodes to have the desired effect, hence why the lawn should be kept moist.
Issues and Problem Solving
Issues are usually the result of the nematodes dying before they’re had the chance to force the ants to relocate.
If the soil is allowed to dry out, the nematodes will die as they thrive in moist ground conditions.
If this is the case, a repeat application may be required.
Chemicals that kill weeds and moss shouldn’t be put on the lawn two weeks before the application and up to six weeks after.
Typical ant hill in a lawn
Organic Suggestion #2
An alternative to nematodes is Diatomaceous Earth which is the crushed remains of fossilised diatoms.
Widely used as an insecticide, this product is 100% natural, safe for pets and children, and suitable for organic gardening.
Diatomaceous Earth is often used on carpets and hard surfaces but can be applied to ant hills in lawns but will require repeat applications.
Use this on crawling insects such as ants, silverfish, fleas etc. It can also be used as a physical barrier to stop them entering your home.
Diatomaceous Earth has many uses, including as a stabiliser for dynamite and as a filtration aid and it does work very well on crawling insects.
I suggest buying food-grade DE, which isn’t expensive.
Chemical Alternatives to Get Rid of Ants in Lawns
I prefer using organic products in my garden whenever possible as they’re better for the environment, pets and children, and to be honest, they do work very well.
Using predators such as nematodes is an excellent way to get rid of pests without using nasty chemicals.
That said, there are occasions when I reach for the chemicals, although it’s usually after trying safer options first.
The best chemical to get rid of ants in lawns is Permethrin in powder/dust form.
Just apply this powder on a dry day and keep pets and children away.
After a few days, the powder can be swept into the lawn, but it’s usually best to wait until the anthill has been vacated or the ants in the lawn are dead.
Strong Lawn Ant Killer Powder
This is the best nuclear option, and I’ve used this product before, and it certainly does the job.
Use indoors or outdoors on any surface where ants can be found.
Nippon ant killer contains permethrin at 0.488% in powder form, which is ejected from the bottle by squeezing it.
Apply liberally to the ant nest and tread down to disturb the ants.
Also, apply to any crevices, runs or entrances that the ants use.
Permethrin will kill any crawling insect, and some flying, such as wasps, butterflies and bees.
Do Ants Kill Lawn Grass?
Ants rarely cause direct damage to lawns, although a large ant nest can destroy the roots, this is the exception rather than the rule.
The main issue is the mounds of earth that push up the grass, which is then damaged by the mower blades.
On the other hand, ants help to aerate the soil and are generally beneficial to the gardener, so they should only be treated when necessary.
Salt, Vinegar and Boiling Water – Myths Debunked
Salt is toxic to the soil, so it shouldn’t be used on lawns at all, and it’s questionable as to whether it will get rid of ants in lawns anyway.
Vinegar doesn’t kill ants but disrupts their ability to track pheromones, thus confusing them. It’s OK to use as a repellent but it won’t destroy a lawn ant nest.
Boiling water will kill the grass, so it shouldn’t be used on lawns.
More From Daniel Woodley:
Thanks for reading my guide to ants in lawns. My name is Daniel Woodley and I produce content here at DIY Gardening.
This page was last updated on the 14th of November, 2021.
Discover more helpful hints and tips from me over at the blog.
I’m a keen amateur gardener who also manages a large residential landscape in addition to my own mid-size garden.
I also enjoy growing vegetables and fruits as well as a herbaceous border and container garden.
Explore More of our Lawn Guides Below:
All LAWN GUIDES
Our lawn guide articles are very popular and have helped thousands of gardeners in the UK. Learn how to grow grass in shade, deal with pet urine, wear and tear, weeds and moss control. Start Here
Best Moss Killer For Lawns
We’ve tested and reviewed the best lawn moss killers you can buy in the UK. Let us help you get rid of moss and let your lawn grass thrive and grow with our expert help and guidance. Start Here
Over 40 Lawncare FAQS
We asked the experts and they answered our questions in detail. Discover over 40 answers to common lawn care questions here at DIY Gardening. We think this is a great resource! Start Here