How Do You Keep Ants Out Of Potted Plants?

If you see a train of ants traveling to and from your potted plants, relax. They are not there to harm or attack your plant. 

Instead, they are there to farm the aphids, scales, or mealybugs feeding on your plant.

Ant climbing up a leaf stemPin

Ants love feeding on honeydew, the excrement the tiny pest insects leave behind. This sweet and nutritious leftover is a natural protective mechanism for these insects. 

What To Do With Ants On My Plants?

Remember, the ants aren’t there to harm your plant but eat the excretions left behind by other pests. Learn more about How Ants Farm Aphids.

There are many methods for getting rid of ants in your house plants: 

  • Set up ant traps 
  • Spray pesticides 
  • Wash the pot with soapy water
  • Replant the plant

What Is Ant Bait? Is It Effective?

Ant baits are handy and can help destroy entire colonies of ants while easily luring the ants.

These baits are a mixture of slow-acting insecticides, sugars, oil, and protein. This attractive mixture baits the worker ants into carrying it back to the nests where other worker ants and the queen share the poison.

As more ants consume the poisonous bait, the number dwindles and wipes out the whole colony. Ant baits are available in gardening supply stores. 

Ant baits are often the safest insecticide method. Do read the label before inserting them into your infested pots, though. Keep them away from children and pets.

What Are The Other Methods?

There are other pesticide methods one can use after using an ant bait.

Take the potted plant outside and completely submerge it in a solution of 1 quart of water and a couple of tablespoons of insecticidal soap. 

Let the plant sit in the solution for about 20 minutes to kill the leftover ants hidden in the soil. Once done, remove the plant and brush off the dead ants. Allow the plant to dry thoroughly.

Another method is applying or spraying Permethrin. This potent insecticide kills the ants on contact by paralyzing their nervous systems.

Permethrin comes in various forms, such as dust, powder, and spray. Be sure to read the instructions before applying. 

This strong chemical can cause serious harm to your plants and humans if not used correctly.

Another Option: Use Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ants

What Are Some Chemical-free Options?

There are natural methods to remove ants as well.

Ants hate citrus acid, so a good solution is to squeeze a little citrus juice, such as lemons, limes, or oranges, around your pants. It will act as a good repellent against an ant attack.

For a more heavy-duty citrus solution, boil the rinds of 6-8 oranges in water for roughly fifteen minutes. Puree this in a blender or a food processor and pour it around your plants as a strong repellent to keep the ants away.

Making your own soap solution is also an option. 

In a gallon of water mix:

  • 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap
  • 6 drops of peppermint oil

Spray the solution on and around your plants. This mixture some claim to be effective.

Make your own soap solution with:

  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap
  • 1 pint of warm water

Spray the mixture on and around your plants.

Related: Getting Rid Of Ants In The Garden Without Killing Plants

How Do I Ensure The Ants Don’t Come Back?

Scatter any of these natural ant-deterrents around the plant’s base: 

  • Cinnamon
  • Chili powder
  • Cloves 
  • Coffee grounds 
  • Dried mint leaves

Related: Getting Rid of Ants in Potted Plants with Cinnamon

After getting rid of one ant colony, a new one may form. But this is natural, and now you know how to fix the problem.

Keep your house and spills cleaned up quickly, so there is less to attract ants into your home in the first place.

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