Unless you live in Greenland, where there are no ants, you are going to encounter ants quite often throughout your life. For the most part, ants are pretty harmless as long as they are outside where they belong. However, once they take a liking to something in your house, whether that is your sugar bowl or your potted lavender plant, they can very quickly try your patience.
The warm, moist soil in your houseplants' pot provides ants with the ideal nesting location. It's also close to their food source, probably something in your kitchen and so means they don't have to travel far to get food. However, as a homeowner, you don't want streams of ants filing in and out of your houseplants. Despite that, ants can actually be quite beneficial—at least to your plants.
Can Ants Kill Your Houseplants?
Though it might not seem possible, ants are actually beneficial to plants and nature in general. They certainly don't kill plants just by nesting in the soil around them. In fact, doing so aerates the soil around a plant's roots and allows water and oxygen to easily reach its roots. That doesn't make it okay for ants to be raiding your kitchen from your houseplants and showing up where they are not wanted.
So, it's time for those ants to go.
Bathe Your Potted Plant to Remove Ants
You can spray and stomp on ants but that doesn't reach the queen. She's still safely nestled within a chamber under the soil, producing more ants. She needs to go. Place the entire plant pot into a container and fill the container with water, or just enough to cover the soil. Leave the plant for 10-20 minutes. This should drown the ant colony.
Boric Acid Mixed with Sugar and Water
Ants can't resist sugar. Bring to the boil 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of boric acid with 3 cups of water. Let it cool down. Once cool, fill several small vessels such as bottle lids and place them on the soil of your potted plant. The ants will drink the sweetened but poisoned water, carry it back to their queen where she too will be poisoned, and then begin to die.
Do not use too much boric acid. Too much will kill the workers before they transport the poisoned water to their queen. Change the lids several times over the next week or two and the entire ant colony will succumb to the poison.
If the ants invading your home and plants are fire ants, be very careful, especially if you have children. These imported invaders have become a menace in Australia and it is estimated that they could cause up to 3,000 anaphylactic shocks per year if not if allowed to spread. Are fire ants invading your garden and home? Call in a pest control service immediately to remove these harmful and invasive ants before they cause any further damage.
Breakfast is the first meal of the day, one that should set you up for several hours of active, busy life. Nothing turns a breakfast bad like picking up your coffee mug, or a plate, and having a critter skitter out from underneath! Ants, cockroaches and more do their best to work their way into our homes, where they aren't welcome and don't belong. Sometimes ant traps and insect bait are enough, but if you ignore the problem it can quickly escalate to where you'll need professional pest control to get rid of your unwanted guests. Professional pest control can provide a wide range of rates and service, and are worth calling.