Ever noticed piled-up soil in your yard? It is highly likely that there are unwanted guests in your compound. Most people give a blind eye to such signs and pass up on clearing these piles. Ants are a nuisance and will give you a hard time with their painful stings when you will be trying to catch up on some fresh air in the backyard.
Ant mounds in yard are highly noticeable since they look like small hills. There are various ways of eradicating them; you just have to select which one you want according to the number or type of anthills in the compound.
I am an entomologist, and I have been in this field for too long. From my 25 years of experience, I have gained enough knowledge of both urban and agricultural pests and how you can smoothly control them. Therefore, in this article, I will enlighten you on the most effective ant killer method to assist with the eradication of the hills completely and how to get rid of ant hills naturally.
- 1 What Are Ant Hills?
- 2 What Ants Typically Create Hills in Yard?
- 3 Why Are There So Many Ant Hills in My Yard?
- 4 How Can You Find Ant Hills Outside?
- 5 How to Get Rid of Ant Colonies in Yard – Workable Approaches
- 6 Closing Remarks
What Are Ant Hills?
They are described as piles of soil made up of rotting organic matter, sand, or clay. They are formed by worker ants that try to create a good place for the colony. The ants place vegetation together with clay on top of the hill so that it does not collapse. This explains the shape or formation of these hills. However, different species construct differently. Some colonies gather materials to create some particular shapes and also connect the various networked chambers inside the mound.
Worker ants sometimes decide to combine mud with sand and small sticks for the pile to be strong so that in case of strong winds or rains, the colony will be safe. In areas with a lot of trees or vegetation, the anthills may be covered with plants that were displaced during the construction or the ones they have carried. These plants also offer maximum protection to the hill.
They are not just mere piles of soil, as you may think. There is a whole lot of work and construction happening on the ant hill inside. The hill comprises many tunnels networked to form chambers that have been perfectly constructed by the worker ants. The different chambers have diverse functions.
There are specific chambers where food is stored; the ants rest in and egg storage compartment for the queen. During morning hours, the worker ants transfer the queen’s eggs from the storage place and placed in a compartment close to the earth’s surface to get warmth, and later take them back.
The hills develop just from a tiny formless shaped soil to a tall hill that goes to 3 feet high. There is a hole at the center of the structure to act as an entrance. Also, there are various exits.
What Ants Typically Create Hills in Yard?
The well-known type of ants that is likely to damage your yard by creating hills is the field ants. Field ants are a grouping of several species and vary in appearance, from brown to black. In terms of size, they are commonly a fourth of an inch long. Other ants that may form hills in your favorite lawn are fire ants.
Why Are There So Many Ant Hills in My Yard?
If your yard has dry soil that drains properly, then it’s perfect for them since it is convenient in carrying out their construction. Besides, if you hold frequent barbecues or picnics in the yard, be sure to clean every last bit of food that has dropped on the ground since ants feed on such leftovers, and therefore, this may attract them. If you have been wondering, “Why are there so many ant hills in my yard?” These two factors could be among the reasons why there is an ant infestation.
How Can You Find Ant Hills Outside?
More often, these hills may be hidden somewhere one cannot easily notice, especially if many trees are planted in the yard. There exist many seamless ways of locating the ant hills in a lawn. For example, you can place a trap in sections where the presence of the ants has been noted. The trap is not to kill them, but to help guide you to where their home is.
For species that love sugary meals, you can trap them using tiny jelly pieces and a little peanut butter for ants with a protein preference. After picking the meal, keep an eye on the direction they go since they always take the meal to the hill. You will know where the hill is situated, although it requires much patience. Not all ants crawl on the ground. Some crawl on the wall, and thus, this may make it a little difficult to follow them.
Additionally, ants use the same path followed by their fellow ants. Therefore, if you notice a trail of ants, follow them to find their mound. After locating where the colony stays, now you can come up with plans of eradicating them.
How to Get Rid of Ant Colonies in Yard – Workable Approaches
Ants live in colonies. Hence if you notice an ant mound in your lawn, then you need to eliminate it as soon as possible since the colony grows rapidly. There are various ways to get the job done. They include using natural ways and chemical ways. So, if you’ve no idea how to get rid of ant hills in yard, then below are some methods to use.
Getting Rid of Ant Hills Naturally – Best Natural Methods to Use
If you have kids, then you may rethink using chemicals and opt for natural remedies since the chemicals may be harmful to the kids if they come to contact with them. However, these natural remedies are not that effective as compared to using insecticides. The natural ways include:
1. Using soapy water
You can choose to use any dishwashing soap by mixing it with water. It is important to boil the water first. Pour enough soapy water slowly into the ant hills in the yard via the entrance. The water drowns the ants while the soap makes their routes sticky, and thus they will not be able to escape the hill due to the clogs of the soap.
2. Boiled water
Does boiling water kill ants? Yes! Using hot water is the simplest natural method. Ants cannot stand hot temperatures. Therefore this will kill them, and the water will also cause flooding in the anthill, which will, in turn, destroy it. However, the ants at the bottom of the hill may escape before the hot water reaches them and can return to create another pile. As such, you need to do a follow-up eradication using a different method to ensure they are completely gone.
3. Flattening the anthill
Isn’t this an obvious method because it directly destroys the ants’ safe place? Flattening out the place sends a direct message to the ants that the place is not their safe home anymore. However, they might still switch locations in your yard.
Therefore, you can try to first kill them with hot water or soapy water before digging deep and flattening it completely since the ants build their chambers deep. If the anthill is tall, dig it right from the top. So, if you’ve been wondering how to get rid of large ant hills, then this is one way to do it.
4. Using fuel
Although this can be dangerous, it is very effective. Just ensure you do not light up the place. Fuel is harsh to ants. This approach causes them to suffocate inside the hill.
5. Getting Rid of Ants Using Insecticides – Best Ant Hill Killer Method
Using insecticides is the most effective approach to eradicating ants. When used properly, insecticides produce long-lasting results, unlike natural remedies, which only give short-term solutions. Besides, the chemicals act quickly to give instant results. As well, insecticides are weather-proof, and thus you don’t have to worry about wind, rain, or other meteorological interference. Moreover, manufacturers have researched and are now producing insecticides that are less harmful to humans and the environment.
A common insecticide used is boric acid. You can sprinkle the powder at the hole in the center of the anthill. Do the same around the anthill and in areas near it. This would help to kill any ant that will be crawling towards the pile.
Have fire ant hills all over your lawn? Check my review of the best fire ant killers.
This insecticide is very toxic to pests and will kill the ants if they come to direct contact with it. Additionally, to even make it more effective, make a concoction by mixing this boric acid with sugar and water. The sugar is meant to mask the insecticide and attract the ants. Further, using water will ease the flow of this acid to the deepest compartments and also flood the anthill.
Eradicating ants from the yard is not as difficult as you earlier thought. As compared to other pests like bedbugs which hardly completely go away, ants will move faster to seek a safer place somewhere else. Therefore, you can get creative with the above methods when trying to eliminate these insects, and you can go back to enjoying some splendid time in your backyard alone or with family.
These methods do not get old. You can use them as remedies for as long as you want to. However, using insecticides is the most effective approach. Insecticides act quickly and produce better results. When you use chemicals, the chances of ants coming back are very minimal. Hence it is a long-term remedy.
Have you ever experienced ant hills in your yard? Was it easy to eradicate them? Which technique did you use? Was it effective? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.