How to Kill Ants in Vegetable Garden? 6 Effective Methods

Written by

William Golder


Dorian Goodwin

how to kill ants in vegetable garden

Though an ant’s bite causes a lot of itching and stinging, we can’t deny the fact that they benefit plants by aerating the soil.

However, an uncontrolled ant colony can cause massive damage to your vegetable garden. They can destroy seedlings, eat on stems, raise pest populations, and disrupt roots.

You might not want that to happen, especially if you plan to use your vegetables to save money or grow them the way you want them to.

So if you want to learn the various ways on how to kill ants in vegetable garden, read on.


6 Methods to Get Rid of Ants in Vegetable Garden

1. Apply Diatomaceous Earth (DE)


Diatomaceous Earth is a silica-based powder that kills ants by dehydrating them. It is non-toxic, so you can use it without killing plants.

Not all ants can give a stingy bite. A good example of this is the yellow ants. They got their name from the yellow color of their body. Yellow ants are less of a nuisance than fire ants since their bite does not sting, and they do not eat plants and human food.

However, like all other ants, they become pesky when building an anthill on vegetable gardens and raising the population of sap-sucking pests like aphids.

Applying diatomaceous earth in your vegetable garden can help you protect plants from ants.

What’s good about this is that it does not just kill ants, but it can get rid of other pests in your garden as well, including aphids that feed on your vegetables, flowers, and plants.

These are the two ways how to use DE:

  • Sprinkle the powder in your vegetable garden.
  • Mix 1 cup of DE with ½ gallon of water. Spray it in your vegetable garden.

2. Use Boiling Water to Kill Ants

Another way to kill and keep ants away from plants naturally is to pour boiling water into the ant’s nest.

It can kill a colony of ants once they have direct contact with boiling water, especially small-scale ant colonies with small nests.

However, it is crucial to know that when applying this procedure, it can also burn your vegetables and surrounding plants in your garden, so you must proceed to do this with caution.

To avoid dangerous situations, look for the mounds and pour the hot water directly into the anthill.

  • Pour at least 3 gallons of boiling water into the ant’s nest to reach the deepest part of the nest.
  • Repeat it for at least 3-4 days in a row.

3. Set up an Ant Bait


Setting up an ant bait is another way to get rid of ants in plants.

If you prefer to use an ant bait without chemicals, a Borax is a fantastic choice as an organic ant killer since it doesn’t contain any phosphate or chlorine.

Borax is a slow-acting poison that can kill the whole ant colony. The ants can share the poisoned bait with the rest of the population, including the queen who lays eggs, as they transport the lure to their nest.

Here are some steps for setting up the bait:

  • Step 1: To make a paste, combine the appropriate amount of Borax with water and any sweetener, such as sugar or maple syrup.
  • Step 2: Dip a cotton ball in it or put it on a flat lid.
  • Step 3: Place it near the ant colony.

Using a Borax has a dual purpose in your vegetable garden. Apart from its ability to kill ants, it can also be used as a fertilizer in your vegetable garden.

Since it is extracted from Boron, it is safe to use for treating plants with Boron deficiency. You can identify it by noticing the cracked stems, darkened fruits and vegetables, and more.

4. Apply Abamectin to Kill Ants


Abamectin is an effective slow-killing insecticide derived from the soil that can poison ants and other pests. It is commonly used to eliminate fire ants in vegetable garden because of its effectiveness.

This substance works by causing ants and other pests to cease feeding and eventually die by harming their nervous systems.

When the worker ants share this compound with other colony members, it will eventually kill them all, terminating the ant infestation in your garden.

It’s also safe to use around your plants because it has minimal toxicity and won’t contaminate your vegetables.

Although it is harmless to humans and crops, therefore, protective gear such as masks and gloves must still be worn when applying to avoid harmful circumstances.

  • Mix 4 ounces of Abamectin per 100 gallons of water.
  • Spray them on the infected area.

It is worth noting that for safer and more detailed applications of this substance, follow the guidelines on the product label.

5. Apply Neem Oil to Ant’s Nest

What to prepare:

  • 4 tsp. of Neem Oil
  • 1 gallon of Water
  • 2 tsp. of Liquid Dishwashing Soap
  • Spray Bottle
  • Gloves

Neem oil is obtained from the fruits and seeds of the Neem tree and used as an effective ant repellent for plants.

This oil has two functions. First, it suffocates the ants by penetrating their breathing holes and clogging them, causing them to suffocate.

Second, when ants absorb the oil, it damages their hormonal system, causing them to lose their appetite and ability to lay eggs.

As a result, their queen will be unable to lay eggs and eventually get rid of ants in vegetable garden.

This situation happens when you spray the oil on the plant’s leaves, the aphids consume them, and the ants eat the aphids’ honeydew containing the neem oil.

Here’s how to apply Neem Oil in the ant’s nest:

  • Prepare 1 gallon of water.
  • Add 4 tsp. of Neem Oil.
  • Add 2 tsp. of liquid dishwashing soap.
  • Mix all the substances.
  • Place the compound into the spray bottle.
  • Spray directly on the ants, the leaves, or the ant’s nest.

6. Directly Pour White Vinegar into the Ants

Using white vinegar can kill ants in vegetable garden bed. This ingredient can clog the ant’s breathing holes and inflict burns on it due to its high acidity.

If you want to attack the ant’s nest, mix it with hot water to drown the ants while feeling burned.

These are the few steps on how to prepare the white vinegar against the ants:

  • Step 1: Mix 50% of vinegar with 50% of water.
  • Step 2: Place it in a spray bottle.
  • Step 3: Directly spray the ants whenever you see them.
  • Step 4: Alternatively, pour the vinegar with hot water directly into the ant’s nest.


Now that you know that there are plenty of ways how to kill ants in vegetable garden, you need not worry if they have already created their nests in your garden bed.

You can apply natural ingredients like neem oil and white vinegar to get rid of them, use organic insecticides like Boric Acid, DE, and Abamectin, or simply pour boiling water to kill them.

Try doing all the recommended ways above, and hopefully, you can completely get rid of the ants from your garden bed.

Also, I would like to recommend to you some solutions that protect your garden from insects and animals. Please check out these articles:

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