Ants are common insects found in the soil, our houses, or other areas. They construct their colonies near the food source in any place. They are both beneficial and dangerous for the soil and plants.
Are Ants Good For Soil? Ants are good for the soil because they aerate the soil, increase the nitrogen content to help the plants grow, promote pollination, and control pests. Black, red, and yellow meadow ants are beneficial for the crops.
Besides being beneficial, these insects can be dangerous for all of us. They can cause massive destruction to our properties and food stocks.
How ants are beneficial for soil?
Ants are social insects and play an essential role in managing the balance of the ecosystem. They are beneficial for the soil in gardens and fields in many ways.
Aerate the soil
Proper aeration of soil is essential for the growth of plants and crops in the field. The carbon dioxide present in the air is an essential component for the lives of plants. Increased aeration can help in the better growth of plants and different vegetation in fields.
The ants make colonies in the soil of the garden and fields. They make different tunnels and chambers in their mounds that can help aerate the soil.
Proper aeration increases the infiltration of water in it. Increased moisture content can provide a sufficient amount of water to the plants.
It will speed up the process of photosynthesis in plants and crops. These insects help to increase the growth of crops by aerating the soil.
Increase the nitrogen content
Getting enough nitrogen is crucial for the lives of plants because it is an essential part of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll makes the necessary food through photosynthesis using water and carbon dioxide.
Ants can help in increasing the nitrogen content of the soil. These insects can increase the amount of nitrogen by decaying the organic matter or dead leaves.
The microbes present in the gut of these insects can also help in increasing the nitrogen content in the soil.
During the construction of their nest, these microbes are transferred to the topsoil. They enrich the topsoil with nitrogen and promote the growth of plants.
These insects also promote the process of pollination. They are found in abundance in the garden. They also crawl here and there in search of food.
In doing so, they can also carry different pollen grains and seeds to the other sides of the garden. In this way, they can help in the growth of plants and flowers in different places.
The contribution of ants in pollination is not significant in comparison to other pollinators. But they can be of high value in areas where other pollinators are absent.
Pests and other harmful living creatures can damage the garden and crops. It is crucial to control pests in the fields to protect them from damage. The ants also help in controlling the pest in the soil.
Many species of ants are carnivores and feed on different pests. They usually feed on termites’ aphids and grubs.
The presence of this insect in the soil is beneficial as it can feed on all the pests. In this way, they play a major role in controlling the pest in the gardens.
Increase the nutrient content in the soil
They feed on dead plants and insects. They do so by decomposing the dead leaves and bodies of insects in the soil. They speed up the decomposition of the organic matter in the topsoil. The decomposed material releases different nutrients like, carbon and phosphorus in the soil.
An increase in nutrient content is good for the health and growth of plants in the garden. Some ants feed on the fungus and break down the mold into mall organic particles. The breakdown also increases the nutrient content of the soil.
What types of ants are beneficial for soil?
Black ants are commonly found in the garden and fields. They are beneficial for the soil in many ways like, aerate the soil and distracting predators and pests.
Yellow meadow ants are also helpful in many ways and are common in forests and fields. They can release different nutrients into the soil.
Red ants are also a type that is beneficial for the soil. It helps protect the plants from different insects that feed on them.
Can ants damage the soil?
They can also have different disadvantages for the soil and plants in your garden. Too many ants can also cause damage instead of good to the plants.
When the population of these insects is out of control, they can cause soil erosion. Too many colonies and tunnels can make holes in the ground.
They alter the physical and chemical properties by disrupting the chemical composition of the soil contents.
It also has a downside for the plants and crops. The presence of ants can attract aphids in the garden. Aphid is a pest that feeds on plant sap.
They get nutrients or sugary liquid from the aphids. That’s why they attract it in the garden and cause damage to the plants and flowers. They can also hinder the growth of roots by dumping them.
How to get rid of ants from the soil?
There are many ways you can get rid of them from the garden soil. Here is a brief description of all of them.
Pour boiling water
It is the most effective and cheap way of removing them from the soil. Their delicate body can not withstand the high temperature and heat of the water. Simply boil water in a container and locate all the colonies of the ants in the ground.
Directly pour the boiling water on the colonies of these insects. Let the water stay until all the ants are dead. You can repeat this procedure many times to eliminate them from the fields.
Use a borax and sugar mixture
Sprinkling the mixture of borax and sugar can effectively kill all the ants from the soil. To make a mixture, pour a sufficient amount of sugar and borax into a bowl. Then add boiling water in it to make a solution. Then pour the mixture into the garden near the colonies of ants.
The sugar attracts them, and swallowing the borax and sugar mixture will kill them. You can sprinkle a mixture of borax and honey on the garden to kill these insects. You have to use the mixture 2 or 3 times to remove all the insects from the garden.
Use ant-killer sprays
Ant killer sprays also contain toxic chemicals that can kill these insects. These sprays usually contain boric acid or avermectin. They can effectively kill more than 20 to 3% of the ant population at one time.
You have to spray it frequently to eradicate them. Diatomaceous earth is another effective chemical to get rid of them. You can sprinkle it in your garden to resolve the issue.