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How to Stop Ants from Nesting in Plant Pots

As the weather warms, ants tend to emerge. While a few ants crawling around the house or outside in the yard or garden is somewhat expected, more than that means a possible infestation. But, what attracts ants to our homes and plants? To learn how to stop ants from nesting in plants, then it is important to understand what attracts them.

Why Do Ants Nest in Plant Pots?

Ants are always looking for new homes and food sources for their colony. Like trying to keep other critters out of your garden, preventing ants from nesting in plant pots dovetails from controlling access to food and shelter. As ants seek shelter and protection for their colonies, plants offer convenient hiding spots. Plant pots provide a suitable nesting habitat with loose, well-draining soil that creates an ideal environment to build nests and tunnels. Additionally, ants are attracted to the sweet honeydew secreted by aphids and other sap-sucking insects, which they use as a food source. And, with potted plants, the ants receive shelter and protection from predators and the environment. Finally, the potted plants offer warmth, especially for dark-colored containers, which retain heat that provides a suitable environment for ant colonies. As a result, this symbiotic relationship between ants and potted plants (especially those that yield honeydew-producing pests) often leads to ant infestations.

What are Signs of Ants Nesting in Plants?

Fortunately, ants leave plenty of warning signs that they are nesting in your plants. If you see a recurring line of ants and are worried about your garden, plants or them entering your home, then look out for these common signs (which should help with potted plant nesting or garden nesting concerns):

  • Visible Ant Trails: Ants often create visible trails along plant stems and leaves as they move between their nests and food sources.
  • Presence of Honeydew-Producing Insects: Look for aphids or scale insects on your plants, as these pests attract ants due to the sweet honeydew they produce.
  • Plant Damage: Ants can cause indirect damage to plants by disturbing soil around roots or excavating nests in plant pots, potentially harming plant health.

How to Stop Ants from Nesting in Plants?

There are multiple ways to help stop ants from nesting. From natural remedies to working with professional pest control companies, if you are concerned with ants in your plants, there are methods to control and remove them.

Natural Remedies and Prevention to Stop Ants from Nesting in Plant Pots

  • Pruning and Trimming: Regularly prune and trim branches or other foliage to eliminate pathways that ants use to access plants. By reducing dense foliage, it is more difficult for ants to build nests and establish their colonies.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: A fine powder composed of fossilized algae, diatomaceous earth, can be sprinkled around the base of plants to create a barrier that ants avoid crossing. Plus, it is harmless to plants and pets but effectively deters crawling insects.
  • Essential Oils: Natural essential oils are known for their ant-repelling properties. To keep ants away then create a solution by diluting peppermint, citrus, or tea tree oil in water and spraying it around plant pots or affected areas. It may take a few days, so refresh the spray daily for continued effectiveness.
  • Sticky Barriers: Apply sticky barriers like tree tanglefoot around the stems of plants, which trap ants attempting to climb plant stems and prevent them from reaching leaves or flowers.
  • Mulching: Ants prefer dry, exposed soil for nesting, so applying a layer of mulch helps maintain soil moisture and reduces the attractiveness of your garden to ants. While some mulch can be added to plants, this strategy is most effective for garden plants.
  • Water Management: Avoid overwatering plants, as moist soil can attract ants seeking nesting sites.
  • Beneficial Insects: Interestingly, introducing other insects, such as ladybugs or laceworms, will deter ants because they are their natural predators and feed on aphids and scale insects, reducing the honeydew supply that attracts ants. By controlling honeydew-producing pests, you discourage ant activity, such as nesting, in plants (however, this is mainly an outdoor strategy).
  • Nematodes: Nematodes are microscopic organisms that target and parasitize ant larvae and pupae, helping to disrupt the ant life cycle. Consider applying them to the soil around plants to reduce the ant population in your garden.

Other Remedies to Control and Manage Ants Infestations

While natural methods are preferable, they don’t always deter critters, such as ants. As a result, other remedies, such as chemical insecticides, can be used as a last resort for severe infestations. For any use inside the home, it is recommended to work with a qualified pest control company.

  • Choose Targeted Insecticides: Select insecticides labeled for ant control and apply them according to manufacturer instructions. Targeted treatments minimize environmental impact and reduce harm to beneficial insects.
  • Exercise Caution: Always use chemical insecticides responsibly and prioritize the safety of plants, pets, and beneficial insects in your garden. In particular, it’s not ideal to use chemicals inside the home.
  • Monitoring and Maintenance: The best remedy is ongoing maintenance that stops ants from nesting before they start. As a result, regularly inspect your plants (and yard) for ant activity, keep the garden, along with shrubs and foliage free of debris and consistently implement pest management solutions year-round.

By implementing these effective strategies, you can protect your potted plants from ant infestations and enjoy a thriving garden. From proactive prevention and natural remedies to professional pest control and routine management, controlling ants around your home and garden can be done.

Plus, Eliminate ‘Em can help!

Working with a professional ant pest control provider helps provide peace of mind knowing that your home and family remain safe. Typically, ant control treatment includes proactive steps, such as:

  • Fully cleaning your kitchen to remove all residue, including sweeping behind appliances and throwing away any garbage
  • Tossing out old food
  • Make sure all food – including pet food – is stored in fully sealed containers
  • Removing any debris and residue from the garbage bin
  • Getting leaky faucets and appliances under control

When you call Eliminate ‘Em, you’re guaranteed the best ant extermination services at the best price. Our technicians are standing by to rid your home of summer bugs today! Additionally, Eliminate ‘Em offers your family fast, reliable, and safe pest removal. You can call us 24/7 and expect:

  • Knowledgeable, licensed and certified technicians
  • Sealed entry points, so that ants won’t come back in the future
  • Only EPA-approved solutions and products to be used in your home
  • Same-day service – and we’re always on time!

We’ll also help you build a long-term pest control strategy to prevent the ants from returning!