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ants

The photo is deceiving: It looks like just a few ants.

Actually there is a million of them over a 200sf section of my lawn.

I believe a can of ant spray will not do the trick outside.

How can I kill these pests???

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  • 2
    Are these biting ants (like fire ants), or just a colony of ants going about their ant-business?
    – Jurp
    Aug 7 at 17:20
  • ants going about their ant-business
    – Marinaio
    Aug 7 at 17:28
  • Don't try to kill the ants by spraying them directly. Figure out where they travel to and from their nest(s). They usually create pheromone trails and follow the same routes between the nest and good food sources. If you spray the ground where they walk, they will carry the poison back inside the nest on their feet.
    – alephzero
    Aug 7 at 19:45
  • 1
    Can you post a better resolution closeup of an individual ant? The treatment can be different depending on the type of ant you're dealing with. What @Jurp suggested is probably good advice though: get some Sevin-5 dust and shake some around their heavily trafficked routes. The problem is that some ants respond to pesticides by fragmenting out and forming several new colonies...
    – Z4-tier
    Aug 8 at 6:00
  • What’s the reason you want to get rid of them?
    – Tim
    Aug 8 at 8:38
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You can't get rid of them, if you like it or not: they are part of your garden.

If the ants come close to or even in your house, you can try to control them with some poison. But get rid of them completely is really impossible, you'll need so much poison that you'll kill much more than only the ants colony.

I see on your photo that they are on a tile, or flat stone. They seem to like living under tiles and paving stones. So try to reduce them to prevent them to like your garden.

Except for being a nuisance for you, ants are not really harmful for your garden. They seem to milk aphids, which feed on your plants, but probably without ants your plants will also be a target for aphids anyways. So best advice is to live and let live.

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    If you go rough enough on them, you will get rid of most of them. While it's hard to completely annihilate colonies (you'll just get another one next year), reducing millions into hundreds can already be a great benefit to the yard owner.
    – Mast
    Aug 9 at 13:14
  • 1
    There is no need to get rough, your own health will be more on risk when you want to eliminate them for good. Like I say, if they come to close to your home, reduce the colony. Can even be done with a good poor of boiling water.
    – benn
    Aug 9 at 14:32
3

These ants look like the harmless kind, there's no need to mess with them.

If, however, they get near or inside the house try pouring some rubbing alcohol, or something similar (not gasoline, etc), down their nest and a few feet around it and light them on fire. Keep doing it till they abandon that nest/die off.

Not a pro or anything but I have had great success eliminating multiple colonies that popped up inside my house.

edit: To prevent those, who think a "don't try this at home" warning makes a difference, from having a heart attack or something, make sure you know what you are doing as you can burn your house down if you light a fire inside.

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    Ants are tough. As a kid, to stop an ant nest inside my parent's house, I covered the hole with table salt, then poured 95% alcohol into the hole. They just died and the others walked on their corpses! But the "and light is up" is why I am +1'ing your answer!
    – Vorac
    Aug 8 at 8:43
  • 4
    If you want to go a little more extreme, youtube.com/watch?v=IGJ2jMZ-gaI Aug 8 at 17:07
  • Before I read your "edit" paragraph I wondered how it went when you filled holes in your house with alcohol and lit it... Aug 9 at 9:35
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica The alcohol in those holes usually won't catch fire, it just kills the ants. Of course if your house is made out of wood and you try hard enough you can burn it down but that's your problem, not mine. Aug 9 at 11:56
  • 1
    I have good experiences with cleaning the pheromone trails (with alcohol), then mix alcohol and lamp oil to pour into the nests. Wait till the nests are soaked and set ablaze. It's a bit tricky since the fire lasts for a while and may continue underground (so don't do this near anything flammable of worth), but the results are magnificent. You don't need a lot of it either.
    – Mast
    Aug 9 at 13:16
2

In Australia, we use a product called "Ant Rid" for indoors, and refer to outdoor-equivalent granules as "Ant Sand".

If you can't source that where you are, apparently the equivalent can be achieved using Borax (with some sweetener); https://www.bhg.com.au/how-to-get-rid-of-ants

Essentially they are sweetened baits that don't kill the ants immediately, instead the ants take it back to the nest - destroying the entire colony.

(I guess we tend to take insects a bit more seriously in the country where "everything can kill you", so various chemicals & insect-control products are legal and abundant)

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  • The other important factor, though, is "nature abhors a vacuum". If there are that many ants then there must be all of the things they need to live--food, water, shelter, etc. If you kill the ants but don't get rid of the resources they are using then something else will move in. If you are unlucky then it may be worse than ants (or even just a worse type of ant). Aug 9 at 18:59

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