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We had a client who woke up to a huge ant mound in her raised vegetable garden. The grape vine and basil next to the mound was already looking droopy. She tried digging out the top mound and moving the ants to another location, but the deeper she dug, the more she realized that beneath the soil, these little insects had taken over the entire floor of the garden bed. She asked what to do to get rid of the ants naturally.

We have several suggestions, so it depends on what is most important to you. If you don’t want to kill the ants, you could place coffee grounds in the raised bed and mix them in with the soil. The acidity in the coffee will drive the ants away. The problem is that these smart insects will go somewhere else to build their colony.

Or you could sprinkle ground cinnamon where you see the ants. Cinnamon disrupts the trails the ants are making, and they’ll stop coming that way.

Coffee grounds and cinnamon are obviously not harmful to your vegetables, so these are both a great organic way to treat ants.

If your intention is to rid your veggie garden and lawn completely of ants, you could use more aggressive household products which will likely kill the ants. You could use a mixture of 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl to make a paste. Place the bowl near the ant mound. The ants are drawn into the bowl by the sugar and the Borax immediately kills them or they will take it back to the colony and it will kill the ants beneath the soil.

You might wonder if the Borax would be harmful to you since you’ll eat the veggies. The answer is that the amount carried back to the soil would be so minuscule that it would not be toxic. Borax is a naturally occurring mineral also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. It is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid.