Above: Keep ants under control so they don’t ruin your summer fun. Photo by Marc Miraille from Pixabay.

Summer is in full swing. Along with the warm temperatures and sunny days come critters in your yard and garden.

At the Extension office, we are often asked about the nuisance insects in people’s landscapes and vegetable gardens. Some of the most common questions are about ants. These insects invade your outdoor meals, and their mounds are hard to dodge…especially when walking with bare feet across the lawn.

I grew up in Texas, and I don’t miss the fire ants and needing to always look down to make sure I don’t step on a mound.

When we experience hot, dry summers, we tend to see a lot of ants because they’re looking for a water source…and that is most likely your home.

How to get ant-free

If you have a lawn with pesky ants or ant mounds, here are some ways to get rid of them so your feet will be safe from ant bites and your outdoor meals will be uninterrupted.

When trying to combat ants, first try to find the trail. Ants usually have a trail from their home to where they’re going.

Gel baits work great for sugar ants. (Also known as house ants, this small species of ants often nests in the walls or beneath the floor of a house.) The gel baits can be used indoors and outdoors. If the ants persist after a couple of weeks, try a perimeter spray.

Treating fire ants is a bit more involved. First, you need to spread fire ant bait granules by their mounds. If there aren’t many mounds, you can sprinkle the granules around the mounds, not on top. The best time to spread the bait is in the afternoon.

After applying the granular baits, you’ll need to drench the area thoroughly with water. If the ants are still a problem after 14 days, treat the mounds with fire ant killer dust.

Get the ants under control now so you can enjoy your summer outdoors without these nuisance insects.

Where to get help

Contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension office for more information, as well as specific brands of baits, gels, granules and dusts to use for ant control.

To find your local Extension office, go to http://extension.uga.edu or call:

  • Cherokee County — 770-721-7803
  • Cobb County — 770-528-4070
  • DeKalb County Extension — 404-298-4080
  • Fulton County / Atlanta History Center — 404-814-4099
  • Fulton County / North Office — 404-613-7670
  • Gwinnett County — 678-377-4010