Ants

Time to act:

Jun, Jul, Aug, Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov

Of the black, red and yellow ants that are commonly seen in the garden, only the red ones (from the Myrmica species) sting. Other than that, ants are more of a nuisance than a pest. They feed mostly on insects, including other ants, and honeydew, the sweet sticky substance that aphids excrete. Ants are known to defend aphids against predators in return for a harvest of honeydew.

Symptoms

Container-grown plants start to wilt. When you check the pot you notice ant tunnels, and that compost has been moved away from the plant's roots. On the lawn or between the cracks in paving slabs, heaps of fine soil appear.

Find it on

no real damage is caused to any plant

Advertisement

Organic

Ants are persistent and it's almost impossible to eliminate them in the garden. You can flush them out from containers by giving the compost a thorough drenching with water. Repeat as necessary, although take care not to drown your plants!

Keep ants off the benches in a greenhouse by wrapping a grease band around each bench leg, or standing the legs on a block of wood in a dish of water. Use a stiff brush to remove ant hills in the lawn.

Chemical

There are many ant killer products on the market, but they are mostly more effective at killing ants that stray indoors, than complete nests in the garden.

Advertisement

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

How can I keep ants out of pots?

Aphids

Apple sawfly

Bay leaf suckers

Related offers

FREE P&P

Subscriber only content

Perfect tulip collections

Enjoy harmonius colour combinations next spring with Sarah Raven's tulip collections. You'll get free p&p, worth £4.95, on tulip collections with this offer.

Unlock now

Offer

200 free spring bulbs

Claim your collection of 200 spring bulbs, including six popular varieties (worth over £24), for free. Just pay £5.65 for postage.

Order now

FREE P&P

Half price tulips

Buy 25 tulip bulbs for £9.99, or save half price when you buy the 100-bulb tulip 'Empire' collection for just £19.98, plus free p&p.

Order now