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Ants in the garden

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Does it matter that there are lots of ants crawling around my veggie garden?

I saved a large earth worm from a puddle of water, dug a little hole next to a tomato plant, put the worm in there and covered it loosely with, maybe, 2 tablespoons of dirt.

I went back later to check on the worm and the poor thing was covered with ants! (I whacked the worm to pieces to put it out of it's misery )

So are these ants making it so earth worms can't live in my garden?? When I dug up the dirt to prep it, there were some worms, not a lot. I think that's more because the soil there was so neglected and dead, nothing to consume.

But digging up the earth there may have stirred up a nest, as well. If the ants are keeping worms out of my garden I'll get rid of them.

Also, is there any other reason why ants should not be in a veg garden?
post #2 of 10
im curious about this too...ill be watching this thread.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
OK I'm too impatient to wait for a response, so I did what I should have done the first time, and goggled the issue.

http://www.weidners.com/ants.html This web site explains why it's important to control the ants in your garden:

This little ant or more accurately the millions of ants that probably live rent free in your yard is very probably the Argentine ant. These ants are the kings and queens of the jungle, your garden and almost everywhere else.

Very smart, hard working and very hungry these little insects stand between you and effective control of the bad insects that damage the beautiful plants in your garden. Unless you control the ants in your garden your chances of success with beneficial insects and other pest control measures are doomed to failure.

The most favorite food of the Argentine ant is the sweet honeydew that aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and other garden insects secrete. Ants will do anything to keep this supply of yummy food available. They will actively attack beneficial insects that threaten their food supply. They spread both the insects and their eggs to other plants in your garden.
Though that doesn't answer my specific question about earth worms, the conclusion is that ants aren't great for the garden.

This guy has good information about ants, too: http://www.beginner-gardening.com/garden-ants.html
post #4 of 10
crud. we have tonsof ants. . .

what do we DO about them?
post #5 of 10
I use peppermint mixed with water in a spray bottle. The ants go running when sprayed on the soil. I have also sprayed the plants directly as needed.

One of the local master gardeners told me that some ants are beneficial. Some types will keep caterpillars and other insects at bay while tilling the soil naturally. But some can ruin your garden. I don't risk it so i use the spray.
post #6 of 10
Last year I wrote a note in my gardening notebook that coffee grounds are good to keep ants away. I don't know where the info was from but noticed it since I have ants too. Thankfully they seemed to mostly avoid my raised gardens last year so I didn't have to deal with them. I'll try it this year though if they do. I'm assuming you just put coffee grounds around the perimeter of the garden but will have to experiment.
post #7 of 10
well, we have lots of coffee grounds, so I'll try that.

I'll have to sprinkle it around the plants, b/c the ants are everywhere.
post #8 of 10
Yes to the peppermint and coffee (though apparently, some coffee works better than others...have to find that info again).

I have had good luck with cinnamon, when no peppermint is on hand. I woudl advise you not to be tempted to plant peppermint in your garden, though. I have heard of folks doing that, but it would likely take over your bed.

If you can get some ladybugs (we have thousands, wish I could send you some) , the larvae--look like little orange and black alligators--love to eat the aphids. I watch the food chain every season on my artichokes. First come the aphids, out come the ants. Next the ladybugs...then their eggs and larvae, then the kissing bugs, and praying mantis...it's amazing to watch it like clockwork year after year! This year I have had so many ladybugs, teh ants all but disappeared on their own!
post #9 of 10
Ooh thanks! We had a whole colony living iside our artichoke plants last year~
I just learned that you can sprinkle cornmeal around , in house or out, and they take that back to their "home" and share, but they arent able to digest and thus...die
post #10 of 10
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