Many people try to squish ants with their hands after getting frustrated when these are continuously contaminating the food. They are unaware of the problem after killing ants, as their dead bodies can trigger more insects and create even bigger problems.
Is it Bad to Kill an Ant? It is bad to kill an ant as it is beneficial for the environment and contributes to the controlled growth of garden pests. Moreover, it plays a role in the dispersion of seeds, better aeration of the soil, and are nutrient recycler. Furthermore, the dead ants can attract more ants in the house, so you should avoid killing them.
The presence of one ant inside the house means that there is a large colony behind it, so it is better to avoid interfering or killing it as you have to handle the whole colony after its death.
Why is it bad to kill an ant?
Ants are thought to be irritating pests that need to be removed from the house whenever you find a heavy infestation in the garden.
Moreover, they are supposed to contaminate food and affect health as they can even reach packed food. Therefore, it is better to get rid of these insects when they continuously invade the house.
However, you have to consider their contribution to the environment.
There are many reasons to avoid killing ants, including their importance as nutrient recyclers. In addition, they improve soil aeration around plant roots.
Poor aeration of the soil
Ants build their nest in wooden logs and narrow holes within the building and live around the soil roots due to a safe environment.
They prefer to live in plant pots as they get nutrition from plant sap and get a good moisture content close to the roots.
Moreover, they can improve the aeration of soil by digging deep inside the ground and allowing air to pass through these tiny holes and reach roots.
Water and air can easily access the plant roots when they are continuously loosening the soil.
Therefore, when you kill them, there will be no proper aeration of the soil, which can ultimately affect plant growth.
Affect dispersion of seeds
It is interesting to know that ants are involved in dispersing seeds at different locations.
It is estimated that around 25% to 35% of herbaceous plants in North America depend on ants for seed dispersal.
In addition, elaiosomes in plants attract these insects as they are an oil-rich appendage and carry seeds back to their nest to feed them to their colony members.
These seeds are consumed by these tiny insects and fed to the larvae, or they are allowed to grow if they are stored for nutrition in unfavorable conditions.
This way, the seeds are taken to a different location where these insects live and grow into a plant when appropriate temperature and moisture are provided.
So, the absence of ants in the garden can affect the seed dispersal process, and you have to make efforts to do this task by yourself.
Uncontrolled growth of garden pests
The garden pests can be dangerous for fruits, vegetables, and flowers as aphids are commonly present on melons, potatoes, and cucumbers that are widely grown at home.
In addition, caterpillars, beetles, termites, and moths are natural garden pests that can grow in an uncontrollable manner if you kill ants in your house.
These are good at controlling the growth of pests because all these pests are included in their diet. Therefore, they prefer to attack and eat these insects and providing a benefit to your garden crops.
These insects can even eat the adult and eggs of pests and help control their population; otherwise, these have devastating effects on crops.
So, it can be a bad choice for your garden when you kill ants and remove the whole colony from your house. Instead, it is better to ignore a few of these insects when they do not pose a health risk.
Affect decomposition of dead insects
You cannot ignore the ecological importance of ants, as these are good decomposers. These feed on waste material and dead insects and help in their decomposition.
They are known to be efficient cleaners as they clean the environment by removing waste material from the planet.
In addition, the waste material provides a good source of nutrition for these tiny insects.
You can have a look at carpenter ants that are responsible for the decomposition of diseased wooden log in forests by shaving using strong mandibles.
In the same way, dead insects attract these small insects as they are a good source of protein for them, leading to the decomposition of their dead bodies.
Attract fellow ants
When you kill one ant, it can attract hundreds of its fellows that can easily reach by detecting the smell of oleic acid produced by their bodies.
In addition, their fellows take almost 40 to 48 hours to reach the dead one as their bodies begin to decay after two days when they produce particular chemical secretions.
The smell of a dead insect can attract them inside your house, and you have to face a large population; that’s why it is essential to target the whole colony if you are frustrated with them.
Affect nutrient recycling
They are efficient nutrient recyclers as they feed on complex waste materials and turn them into simpler ones.
No other organisms can replace ants as they are the only efficient recyclers. It is only possible when they carry food particles back to their nests in the soil.
Furthermore, the soil microbes feed on plants and organic material like leaves and seeds and transfer nutrients into the soil, increasing its fertility.
Therefore, nutrients cannot be recycled into the soil when you kill these insects. So, it is better to avoid killing them, and you can get rid of them by preventing their entry inside the house.
What methods are suitable to get rid of ants?
It is essential to choose suitable methods that can kill the whole ant colony or repel them from being entered inside the house.
Poisoning the colony is an excellent method to deal with the whole colony as a few members eat baits and feed other colony members leading to the death of adults, larvae, and queen.
You can prepare a bait using borax and sugar that is poisonous for these insects, but it takes time to work, which is a good thing as it gives a chance to feed a large number of colony members.
Crushing and squishing is not going to be helpful when you want to get rid of them permanently because squished ant attracts more fellows inside by releasing a chemical signal.
In addition, repellants can also be helpful, which is a time-consuming process, but it gives better results when you keep black pepper, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, or cloves in the affected area.
A boundary of flour or talcum powder around anthill can make them leave the spot quickly as they feel threatened.
Furthermore, vinegar is also effective in wiping out the trails when you see these insects marching in a straight and going inside the house.
You can easily interrupt their long trails by frequently cleaning the surface with vinegar solution.