Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to a great group of women in the Shippan Garden Club about “Lazy Gardening.” One of my statements was that ants are your friends, so long as they are outdoors.
This is generally a tough sell because no one seems to adore or admire ants as much as I do. But since I have such heavy clay soil, any insect that will help me aerate that ( for free!) is definitely welcome.
And that photo of the bulbs in the juniper, above? We can most likely thank our ants. Ants are wonderful at moving our minor bulbs around. So if you are wondering how those crocus or grape hyacinths got all over your lawn, thank my buddies, the ants.
Finally, I do understand that no one–including me—wants them in the house. I have found a great organic product for that (which I buy–I am not compensated in any way for this recommendation).
These little sachets, which are inert ingredients and essential oils, last for 30 days. Sometimes just finding their trails and wiping them away with soapy water works. But occasionally I can’t tell where they are coming from or I can’t get to the source. In that case, these repellents are just perfect.
So try not to bother your ants out of doors now that you know that they will multiply your spring bulbs and aerate your soil. And should they seek refuge indoors, here’s an easy way to change their minds.
Ants also move aphid and scale insects around. That actually makes such pathogens easier to control. Instead of spraying for the pathogens, it is easier to block access for the ants. Tanglefoot works well. I sometimes just use grease around the main trunk, and prune plants away from touching anything else. If the ants can not get in, natural predators control the aphid or scale.
Just one of those things where we can all work together! 🙂