Ants in garden

Asked May 22, 2016, 4:04 PM EDT

I was going to plant some new plants today in my flower garden. I started digging my hole and found there were many many ants in the soil. They are on the smallish side and mostly black with a hint of red. Do I need to get rid of them before I plant? If yes, do you have suggestions on the best approach? (it's a full sun garden). Or can I go ahead and plant like I normally would? Thank you for your help!! Sue

Hennepin County Minnesota integrated pest management ants

1 Response

Ants are not usually a problem in garden soil, as many are predators or just seed feeders. Also the act of digging up an ant colony usually stimulates them to "get out of Dodge" and move the family to a new home. I just ignore such nests when I uncover one (unless you live in the south and they are fire ants) when working in the garden. Some ants are honeydew feeders and will actually protect aphids and other plant sucking insects in the garden. There might be some benefit in controlling these, but you won't necessarily know what kind you are digging up anyway. These ants won't be able to protect their honeydew "cattle" against your gentle soap or oil sprays anyway, should aphids become a problem.