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I have 13 nests in a 40 by 80 feet lawn and as much as I llike ants it is impossible to let my rabbits graze. Yesterday I found the rabbits flying around their enclosure, not exercising, trying to rid themselves of the black ants crawling all over them! They had to be washed and put back in their hutch which is now on legs and surrounded by washing up liquid as the ants hate this and won't travel over it. It has become impossible to sit in the garden. within minutes the little demons are all over our legs. I agree with leaving nature alone as much as possible but our garden has become off limits to us and our pets and I need a solution that will do as little harm as possible to rabbits, dogs and if possible even the ants.



Hi Sheila,  I agree with Verdun that the best solution is nematodes which are a natural method.  The nematodes in question are called Steinernema feltiae which occasionally naturally infect and kill ant nests.  Most of the alternative solutions involve poisons which are taken up by the ants (and hence whatever happens to eat the ants, such as some birds) and the small amount of poison may build-up in these larger animals over time and cause unexpected and more serious problems, perhaps similar to what we may be seeing in bees.

The best known ant nematode producer is Nemasys which sells a product called "Nemasys No Ants".  You just water them onto an already damp lawn.

Woodgreen wonderboy

I have quite large lawns and a few ants nests... which means I get visits from green woodpeckers. I shall leave things as they are.


same here they've got babies in one of our willow trees and they need food

I have a 390 square metre lawn with at least a score of mounds, a couple over 80mm wide. Oddly, it's only in the past couple of years they've actually become a problem.  They bring the mower to a bone-jaring stop and then get scalped as I have to manhandle it over them.  Mowing has become a back-breaking chore and the result is an eyesore. Stamping them flat is no help at all.

I have to agree that one shouldn't unnecessarily destroy anything in nature but ants seem really to be staging a take-over and badly need controlling.

Many thanks to all the helpful contributors here  . 

I reckon I'll try the nematodes by preference as the 'natural' solution with 'AntStop' as a fallback.  Though clove oil sounds interesting and sort of kinder as well, I'm bothered about where they'd go to;  if it's just a few feet off to the side, then it isn't really a satisfactory solution.




I have ants nests in my garden,both black and red and we all get on just fine 

Woodgreen wonderboy

Sorry your ant problem is so will criticise you for taking steps. I would probably do the same. Perhaps the mild winter has be kind to them?


Yes apologies on my part Diggs.Your ant problem sounds pretty bad and I for one wouldn't blame you for taking action.Each to their own and every situation is different.

Thanks everyone for such a variety of responses to this problem.

I don't think anyone has mentioned the pain that can be inflicted by red ants. I was happily weeding a flower border last week when I felt a sharp pain, like a thorn under my tshirt. It was a red ant. Unknown to me I had another lurking that went on to sting elsewhere. These lumps lasted almost a week and were intensely itchy. Maybe I'm over sensitive but they were no joke. I'd hate our young grandchildren to be attacked.

I have put out bait stations but can't see where the nest is - under a big plant I guess. Does anyone know if nematodes work if you can't water them directly onto the nest?

I have a very large lawn that has started to show ant mounds,I thought I had got rid of them last year which I did but they are back again. Don't waste your time on Nemasys

Besides being very expensive it did not work for me. I found an American site that

suggested using Borax powder, looking it up I found it's another name for soap.

I now use Lemon concentrated washing up liquid in a watering can, one large bottle gives 10 gallons dont' be mean in with the quantity divide the bottle by 5.and fill can slowly to keep the suds down. It might take a few go's but it does work.One thing to remember, it must be  LEMON concentrate, iv'e tried others and they did not work well give it a go, it worked for me. I use half a can per mound starting from the middle working out to a radius of 600mm or 2'ft in old money






Having been plagued by ants I bought the 50 sq m No Ants pack that cost me £54 and as they say ants will not tolerate nematodes so they moved their nests about a metre away so you still have them. You can only use it when the soil is warm enough and damp and you have to keep watering it for 2 weeks as the nematodes need the moisture to move around.

 I got about 120 sq m of lawn so at 77 I cannot a ford to saturate every sq m of lawn. If you saturated the centre of your lawn and wait till the ants move out then saturate a ring round your central area and wait for them to move again you may be able to get rid of them if you keep doing it.

Using nematodes to control Vine Weevils in flower pots is successful and I do ours twice a year.


I sorted out my red ants this week. Digging with my spade at arms length - so that they didn't invade my private spaces - I dug out the nest, put it in one of those big bucket things and chucked them all in the canal (I'm lucky to have one at the bottom of my garden)... and so the circle of life continues. There were lots of fish ripples around for some time. If you don't have a canal handy a bucket of water might do the trick!

I do have ants nests on my lawn, I have left them to it as once I saw a green woodpecker eating them.  However, one of my holly hedge plants died - it had an ants nest very close to it, at the time I didn't think anything of it, until another holly plant has died which also has an ants nest just in front of it - is it the ants nest that is killing the holly or is it a coincidence both plants looked healthy until I just suddenly noticed the brown and dead!  Any ideas?

folks tries everything to the point of bankrupsy to rid my large lawns of red ants then after years of frustration I found a product called "Armillatox"

suitable foe all sorts of garden/greenhouse disinfecting, BUT lo and behold it kills ants on contact (Watered into lawn)

Not cheap but dont waste your money as I did on everything under the sun,

learn from my lesson,

It is THE ONLY product I have found after years of frustration and expense that works


I've just received a refund for some nematodes I ordered from T&M to kill off the RED ants in my large garden. The website said it killed the ants but on receiving the package it informed me they only irritate the ants and move them elsewhere. This is of absolutely no use to me as I have a bad reaction to red ant stings (I'm happy to share my garden with ants of any colour apart from the red ones).

I searched elsewhere online and it seems that a solution of Borax is the only sure answer. I had been told this was now illegal but find it has simply been reclassified and is still available on Ebay. Apparently you mix it with sugar ie 1 teaspoon of Borax to 10 teaspoons of sugar, and mix it to a gluey consistency with warm water and leave it by the ant runs, I plan to put it in an unturned jar to protect it from rain.. The ants take it to their nest and it should do the trick.


Curlycarly. you are nearly right. My Grandad was the greenkeeper at a very good golf club. He showed me to put a ring of ordinary granulated sugar around the mound or nest. Sugar costs about 90p for a kilo as opposed to expensive ant powders, gels etc. The ants can't get enough of it, a bit like giving neat alcohol to an alcoholic, and quite simply the kill themselves with sugar poisoning. Very environmentally friendly, very cheap, very effective, job done


Just read all of this thread & it seems the areas that are most affected are lawns. I should be so lucky! I must have a nest, a flaming great nest in the cavity of the one walled section of our conservatory. At this time of year July/August they emerge from under the PVC window ledge onto the patio as mainly flying ants & even appearing from between the patio paving stones. We have a Wilkinsons store nearby & their Ant & Insect Killer (£2) does exactly what it says on the tin. The spray kills 'em on contact, the powder I inject into the air bricks. As for the nest, where would I start to find that? Again, at this time of year, I only have to accidently knock the area of the PVC sill & out they come in their thousands. I also pour boiling water into the paving cracks as they appear. Thank goodness they don't appear in the house, as a precaution when we first encountered this problem outside, I totally sealed the corresponding area in the conservatory. 

denise butcher

I have loads of ants in our lawns and in and a huge nest in a potted tree I think they are amazing creatures and would never kill them, they do so much good to your garden and work so hard, I just would feel awful if I killed them

What if you don't know where the nest is. I see black and red ants in my grass And I have a 3 year ago led who loves playing outside but gets bitten lots. i just dont know what to do 

In my garden I have used insect killer spray. It is very effective and can be used in both indoors and outdoors. It is very effective against ants, flying insects, roaches, spiders. One more thing, it is safe for kids, pets and even plants that's why I brought this online from