Are ants harmful in a vegetable garden?

Asked May 12, 2015, 1:26 PM EDT

I have nests of small ants in my raised beds. When disturbed they will scurry around carrying their eggs. Will they harm the vegetable starts I'm planting? If so, how should I safely get rid of them. I grow organically and have pets in the yard.

Benton County Oregon

3 Responses

First, here's a link to UC Davis Integrated Pest Management Program's "How to Manage Pests - Ants"
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html
They should not harm your veggies. In fact they are beneficial. However, they may "farm" aphids which will harm your plants.
It looks like the easiest thing to do is to pour boiling water, 2 - 3 gallons, on the ants and their eggs. http://growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu/growingsmallfarms-fireants/
Here is another link to "Organic Fire Ant Management" from North Carolina State University Extension. Good luck and be thankful we don't have fire ants here.


Thank you, this is helpful!

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