There is an ant problem in my garden. The ants don’t eat the plants or otherwise target them for destruction, but they are a major nuisance. Pulling weeds too close to their mound gets their attention. They become riled and swarm, biting aggressively with their tiny little jaws, causing more than just a tiny discomfort. They can be all over you in an instant.
Ants like to establish their colonies in flower pots and other planting containers. They especially favor my brick and stone planters, probably for the loose soil.
I have tried various means of eliminating them with disappointing results. I’ve tried pouring boiling water over them. That didn’t work. They almost seem to like it. I’ve tried cinnamon, which I’ve heard they dislike. Using poison where food is grown is obviously not a good idea.
I recently came across a possible solution that almost makes sense — pitting the ants against each other, using ants to destroy ants, sort of like fighting fire with fire. The idea is to introduce ants from one colony into another ant colony thereby instigating a war. The established colony of ants will attack the intruders and the confused newcomers will do battle defending themselves. The hoped for end result is that the colony will come to the conclusion that their location is no longer desirable and will pull up stakes and relocate. The displaced ants, separated from their queen and unable to organize, will scatter and not be a problem.
Here is the mound of the ant colony in my round brick planter and a shovel full of a mound from another colony elsewhere in the yard. You can see ants traveling up the shovel handle trying to get to me.
Where the “invaders” came from.
Chaos ensued when the foreign ant mound was dumped on top of the colony I was attempting to get rid of.
The next day I stirred up the site of the ant colony and saw only two ants.
Today, the third day, I stirred up the nest site again and there were no ants to be found.
I was planning to weed this bed next today in preparation for planting. It will have to wait until the next ant war I instigate is over.