Ants are your friends

GARDEN Q&A

May 27, 2006|By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI | JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I have hundreds of ant hills in my yard. What chemical can I spread to control or kill them?

Ants are not harming your yard. In fact, they help by eating Japanese beetle eggs and termites, recycling dead debris, and aerating soil. You are most likely noticing anthills because your turf is sparse. Plan now for repairing bare spots or overseeding with grass seed this fall. In the case of a large surface nest, running water into it will encourage them to relocate.

Commercial insecticides labeled for ant control usually contain chemicals that kill a broad range of insects, many of which are beneficial. For a less toxic control, sprinkle diatomaceous earth (formulated for insect control) over the surface of the hills. This mechanical killer has microscopic sharp edges that abrade ant cuticles (skin) causing them to dehydrate.

Checklist

Put tropical lilies out in backyard ponds. Most varieties require a minimum of 5-6 hours of sunlight each day.

Prune evergreen trees and shrubs by pinching off half of new growth or "candles."

Pinch the flower buds of mums and asters to prevent early flowering.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.