ants outside along the foundation

Asked August 1, 2020, 7:35 PM EDT

I have a constant battle with ants along the foundation of my house. They mostly congregate around decaying objects, I believe this is beneficial. They enjoy our hummingbird feeders. The nests seem to be below grade along the foundation. except for scouts they are not visible indoors.
I've been using sugar and boric acid on a paper towel, see picture. I put it out a few days in a row. If they persist I use an insecticide. In my opinion, which may be a fantasy, the boric acid has done enough damage to the nest, the insecticide finishes them off.
Aside from the hummingbird feeder, are they beneficial or pests?



Howard County Maryland

3 Responses

Ants are absolutely beneficial. We can't get along without them. Their tunneling opens up compacted soil, so roots can grow through. It allows both water and oxygen (necessary) to get down to roots. And as they tunnel, they churn up the soil and bring up deep nutrients to where more shallow roots can use the nutrients.

Ants are also the enemy of termites, and keep they away. (Always good around foundations!)

Ants are scavengers, and by consuming the constant debris that is created by plants and animals, they clean up our environment.

Incidentally, they sell special attachments for hummingbird feeders that intercept ants (usually with something like a moat.)

Ellen

Thank you. Should I assume that i need not be concerned about a potential nest inside the wall of my house? I've seen them enter through cracks in brick mortar.

Hi - For dealing with a nest inside of a wall, we recommend using bait traps. There are baits that contain a growth regulator. The ants will carry the bait material into their nest and share it with the colony. You may have to try different baits. For example, if the boric acid has not-been effective, try a gel-based ant bait. Please refer to our website for recommendations on using baits.
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/ants

Christa