Sorry if the title misled you. Sadly, this isn’t a post about the great tune by Little Richard – the lyrics of which (having just researched) are not really about anything, but let’s not let that detract from the great song….but moving on.
It appears that more and more people are encountering Garden ants (Lasius niger) with their increased activity due mainly to the weather. Surprisingly (to me) Irish Black garden ants begin foraging as early as January – I am only surprised because I generally don’t recall seeing ants before spring time. It is then usually around mid-summer, that ants seem to be all over my garden, and people start to report seeing flying ants. I remember a couple of summers ago they seemed to be virtually lining the pavement I was walking along, baked in the midday sunshine.
I agree with people who say we should just leave ants alone if they are not doing any harm. In fact, in the garden, they can do a great deal of good to aerate the soil….though I have lost a few plants to ant nests popping up right under the roots.
On the other hand, when they start to invade my home and crawl across my kitchen worktops (which has happened) then I think there is some genuine cause for concern. I don’t want to sound alarmist because I know they don’t transmit disease but just think about this….where do you think those ants have been crawling before they got inside your home? Across some rubbish lying on the ground perhaps? That old compost heap maybe at the back of my garden? Or worse still (in my view) right over some dog or cat poo dumped in your garden by a neighbour’s pet? For this reason, I would want to vigorously clean up and get rid of ants as quickly as possible from my home.
For people who want to sort out the problem themselves, it seems there are a whole range of tricks circulating online that they can try to deter ants. Amongst them the use of chilli powder or bleach as well as more natural remedies like mint or lavender to repel ants – on the last suggestion, I would just like to add that my garden is a veritable homage to lavender. I love this plant, its wonderful smell and colours, and yet I have had problems with ants both in the garden and inside my home.
It’s reassuring to know that if these tricks fail, or if you just can’t be bothered to sort the problem out on your own, there is always a pest control company willing to help.