How To Prevent Ant Hills From Showing Up In Your Yard

After seeing a line of insects marching into a kitchen, people generally go looking for the most effective ant deterrent to eliminate the infestation as quickly as possible. If you are seeing ants on your thriving garden, you likely are focusing on eliminating the threat as well. However, instead, you may want to think about treating the source of these pesky insects. If you are seeing ant hills in your yard, they may eventually find their way indoors or into your garden or home, where they can cause unwanted damage.

Having a few ant hills in your yard can have some benefits, such as aerating the soil. This allows moisture and oxygen to reach the roots of plants more efficiently. The insects may even help to distribute nutrients. 

However, they also can cause significant problems when they appear in huge numbers, like killing some of the plants in the area. They may create uneven ground that could cause your mower to scalp the grass. This can be problematic to the health of certain types of grass. Should you see fire ant mounds in your yard, this is dangerous for kids or pets playing on the lawn, as these insects can sting you repeatedly. Other insects may also begin invading the lawn, seeking to feed on the ants too. 

You have multiple options for removing these mounds, some of which involve natural treatments and some of which involve more chemical choices.

Natural ways you can eliminate ant mounds in your lawn

When trying to remove ant hills in a natural way, you can try to reduce or eliminate the reasons the pesky insects built nests in your yard in the first place. Ants are more likely to choose your property to create nests because there are sources of food and water nearby. Lawn maintenance is the best defense. If you have nearby bird baths, leaking sprinkler systems, or other sources of excess water, try to move them or eliminate them. If you have trees that drop rotted fruit onto the ground, this also may draw ants.

If you don't mind potentially damaging some of the plants around the ant mound, you have a couple of options that are effective. Covering ant hills with a trash bag can force them to move to a new location. Or try pouring boiling water mixed with a little bit of liquid dish soap over the mound to injure these pests.

To protect the grass and other plants in the area, you also can douse the mound with water from a garden hose before raking the dirt around the hill and then tamping it down. The insects will dislike having the nest disturbed, so make sure you don't have fire ants before trying this solution. It may take sealing the nest several times over the course of a couple of weeks to convince the pests to stop trying to excavate the nest again. Just be aware they may set up shop again nearby, so you'll need to remain vigilant.

Eliminating the ant mounds in your yard through treatment methods

A highly effective means of eliminating the ants making mounds in your yard is to sprinkle boric acid powder around the perimeter of the hill. It is extremely toxic for these insects, killing them soon after contact. Some people mix it with water and sugar to encourage the bugs to take it into the nest. If you have concerns about pets or children becoming sick from exposure to the boric acid, you can make use of protected bait stations that contain boric acid near the ant mounds. If you'd rather make use of a safer substance for pets and children, baking soda is safer for them, but impossible for ants to digest.

You can apply an ant killing granule to the yard at the same time you may be adding fertilizer and weed killer. By treating the entire lawn, you ensure that the insects will either die or move far off your property, rather than just relocating the hill to another area of the yard.

Perhaps the most effective way to control ant hills in your yard is to call a licensed pest exterminator. This option certainly is costlier than the DIY methods discussed so far, but exterminators should have the knowledge and experience needed to do the job correctly and quickly. If you have fire ant mounds, counting on experienced professionals to eliminate them may be best because of the dangerous stings these insects can deliver.