Wed. Jul. 10, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  ANTS!

Ants, ants everywhere. I’ve never seen so many ants in my perennial beds and in my lawn!  Industrious little creatures that have, quite literally, lifted some of my plants right up out of the ground.

Ants in lawn 2019 – this is about 1 ft. by 1.5 ft. UGH
My salvia – this was a month ago – they have since lifted the plant and I’ve moved it
Ants in avalanche grass – that empty space where it’s black dirt used to be filled in by the grasses… 

I tried knocking the nest down but then they just moved on…

Ants in Prairie dropseed grass
That’s how deep they’ve dug into this grass. They’re uprooting the plants

I decided I should find out if they’re useful and what the heck for! Okay, so they’re tiny rototillers. Well that’s find and dandy if they weren’t digging up what I’ve already fluffed up for my perennial bed!

Ants in sedum

According to the Farmers Almanac, the leaves and insects brought into the nest decay and fertilize the surrounding plants. Many ants are predators and feed on insects that attack lawns and gardens, and in the process of gathering food, they often pollinate flowers and distribute seeds.

Fine Gardening says another advantage of having ants in your garden is protection from herbivores. Ants are attracted to the nectar found on the plant stem or sepals (not the nectar found in flowers that is used by pollinators). The ants patrol these plants and disturb herbivores and seed-eating insects by attacking them, by causing them to fall off the plants, or by interrupting feeding, egg laying, courtship, or molting.

The ants crawling all over sticky peony buds in early summer, for example, protect them from enemies. Okay, I get it, there are apparently reasons for ants to live. I’m still not liking them in my perennial garden.

I would rather leave them out in the lawn! I did find a chemical way to rid the area of ants from the University of Minnesota.

I’m not one to use chemicals but these guys are just plain ticking me off! I tried the granules recommended by the U of MN. So far, it seems there’s less action. I’ll keep you posted.

PS, found the first Japanese beetles last weekend. SHOOT.

‘music box’ rose. JB in July of 2019 photo by Teri Knight