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We've got ants in our greenhouse. And we can't wait for them to take to the skies every year, because they make it almost impossible to stay in the greenhouse for more than a minute, on account of the way they crawl up our legs and into our pants.
Did you know ants and thyme go together? The soil on an anthill is so fine the wild thyme seeds find it perfect for germination. I have lots of anthills and it is fascinating when they all fly. My children used to rob the eggs to feed their goldfish. However, it is wise to try and avoid a sting from a red ant and if you do get one try not to scratch it when it itches but put on some soothing ointment. Keep them away from picnic tables and the kitchen by a barrier of orange peel divided up into small pieces - the do not like the smell of citric acid. Oh, and do not spill any sugar.
That's interesting happymarion, because wild thyme is the foodplant of large blue butterfly caterpillars, which fall to the ground after feeding and are carried into the nests of red ants. Isn't nature wonderful? I have ants in my garden but I don't know where they're nesting. I'd like a really big ant hill so I can make a feature of it. Kate
We had this a couple of nights ago - we live in Spain and it was very hot and humid and the swift's and swallows, and bee eaters put on a fantastic display. Not so good for the ants though!!
I am missing my housemartins. I had a nest over my bedroom window and use to love hearing them chatter. This was approximately three years ago, plus screeching of swifts and swallows. Only saw four swifts, no swallows or housemartins. I live near Durham, I would love to know what has happened!!


Kate I am trying to find out what insect is nesting in my cranebill patch, they are smaller then a wasp. I have become quite fond of them. I actual work around them, if my shadow crosses their nest they come out to investigate on mass.
We moved house in January, and i started up a new compost bin, And now it is heaving with ant's. The birds are loving it. But im not sure if it's any good for the compost? Doe's anybody know if it's good for compost or not?
I should think on the whole ants would be beneficial to your compost by sucking the juices out of the green stuff, so helping it to decompose. Anyway the birds must be depositing some fresh manure on the heap and that is bound to help.
Like ziggyblackjayne I have ants in my compost, I have a dalek like compost bin. They are great to see and do no harm to the compost at all, it is however a bit of a pain to turn, for me and ants. Fascinating though to see them pick up all the eggs and rebuild in no time. I'll be on the look out for the day they take to the skies, never heard of this.
hi there,could someone advise on this;;; my sister has an old tree stump that she rests her birdbath on,for the past 3 weeks some kind of insect [we think] has invaded the stump. they very much look like flying ant they move in and out very quick,also there is sawdust everywhere around the stump.... has anyone got any ideas??? we have looked on-line to see what it could possible be, i thought it might be woodworm or perhaps a flying ants nest but we dont think so as ants nest go after a few days or up to a week [well thats what we've been told].... ive looked up about dead wood bettle! [not that either]. HELP.. thank you.
I saw a few flying ants last week. They weren't flying though, just walking around. I have loads of red ants in the garden and get stung nearly every time I work out in the garden. Can't find the nests though!
Too Many ANTS? The last few years my garden has become just full of ants everywhere. They are even getting into the house, where I will kill them. I know they are beneficial, but I think that too many might be hurting my garden. They are now all over my grapevine. My mother has never had these problems with her vine. i would love to think the herd just a bit. I also don't see as many insects as before, I do not use chemicals. And my compost bin has to be rodent resistant so no birds can get in to dine. ANy help is appreciated! Am I wrong? I live in Chicago but get the best advice here.
Lots of ants together freak me! I don't know why and I can't stand having them in the house. Have been nipped a few times in the garden so don't like when I see them there too. I might try to be a bit more tolerant as Kate has pointed out they are a good food source for birds. I'll try my best!
Lazygardener - that's sad about your house martins. Why not try luring them back by making them a bespoke nesting box ( or leaving a muddy area for them to build their own in spring? Or both... Re your unidentified insects, are you sure they're not bumblebees? You could ask Richard Jones, or email us a photo (see our Contact us page). ziggyblackjayne and Ryan - the fact that ants are nesting in your compost bin means your compost is too dry. If you don't mind the ants the leave them be, but the usual trick is to water the compost heap - the ants move on and your heap breaks down quicker as it's moist. Dry heaps are also favoured by rodents... daisy rose - leave a comment on one of Richard Jones's blogs, I'm sure he'll know what it is. Brenda - I'm sure your ants won't be harming the garden, they'll be part of the natural balance. Could you try to attract birds into the garden by feeding them? Kate
Could you please advise me, do i cut the dead flowers off my Red Hot Pokers after flowering ? then cut down to the base in spring? Thanks


That would turn what is at present choice of partner into take what's there and interfere with evolution, Dave. The kindest thing would be to turn your back on them, just don't look.
Kate, Thanks for advice re: housemartins, we have had none this year plus I have only seen four swifts and no swallows upto now. I am doing the rspb swift watch etc. My flying insects have increased in numbers, have blogged Richard Jones. I have had to rescue large bumblebees, buzzing furiously along my decking, for some reason they were unable to fly. Their wings looked as if they were stuck together.
A large swarm of flying ants in our offices in Barnard Castle this afternoon. Sunny and humid with a recent downpour of rain.
Flying ants emerging in Grantham, Lincs this afternoon. Downpour last night, hot, humid and still today so seems like perfect conditions. Do they sting? I had loads landing on me as I walked home and made me very nervous!