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How to Get Rid of Ant Hills Without Killing Grass [5 Tips]

To get rid of ant hills without harming grass, you can use a natural method by spreading diatomaceous earth on the ground around the ant hills. You can also mix a homemade ant killer made from vegetable oil, dish soap, and water. Ant baits and granulated ant poison are two of the most effective ways to kill ant colonies without harming your grass. Alternatively, you can flatten ant hills to drive ants out without any harm to your yard.

How to get rid of ant hills without killing grass

Why is Your Yard Full of Ant Hills?

Typically, ants invade your lawn because there is food or water nearby. Ants often feed on aphids and other small insects, so if your garden is infested with aphids, this can make your yard more attractive to ants. Controlling pest insects can help deter invading ants.

  • Ants are drawn to yards with abundant food and water.
  • Aphids and other small, pest insects are an attractive food source for ants.
  • Keeping your garden aphid-free can deter ants.
  • Ants are attracted to water sources, so a yard with moist areas can attract ants.

Sometimes, your yard just has the perfect conditions for ants and it isn’t your fault. Areas with high humidity often have readily available water that ants need. If your lawn has wet or moist areas, it’s likely ants will be attracted to it.

5 Tactics for Killing Ant Mounds Without Damaging Your Lawn

You can drive out ants without killing patches of grass. To do so, it’s important to use methods that are super effective at killing ants but do not kill grass or poison the ground. Here are the best grass-safe ways to wipe out an ant hill.

Diatomaceous Earth

One of the best natural ways to kill ants is by pouring a thick ring of diatomaceous earth around the ant mound. You can also try these ways to use diatomaceous earth to kill ants. Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossils of single-celled organisms. They’re harmless to humans, other animals, and grass.

  • Spread this diatomaceous earth in a circle around ant hills to kill ants.
  • Ants that walk through diatomaceous earth will become dehydrated and die.
  • Diatomaceous earth is organic and grass safe.
  • Humans, pets, and other wildlife will not be harmed by diatomaceous earth.

Always use food-grade diatomaceous earth when killing ants. Other types of diatomaceous earth may not be safe for humans and pets. Use liberal amounts of diatomaceous earth around ant hills and replenish it weekly to make sure the ants die. Because diatomaceous earth only works to kill ants when it’s dry, add more after rain.

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Homemade Ant Killer Mix

Ants can be suffocated by pouring a mixture of cooking oil, dish soap, and water into the ant hill. To do this, mix 4 tablespoons of oil (you can use vegetable oil, olive oil, or neem oil), 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and 8 cups of water together. It’s best to whisk the oil and water to combine, then add the dish soap and stir. Next, pour this mixture directly into the top of the ant hill. The mixture of oil, soap, and water will suffocate ants on contact.

  • Whisk together 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of cooking oil with 8 cups (2 liters) of room-temperature water.
  • Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of dish soap to the oil and water and mix.
  • Pour the mixture into the hole at the top of the ant mound.
  • The oil and soap will cling to ants and suffocate them.
  • Avoid using hot water—this can damage your grass.

Some recipes may tell you to use hot water for this mixture. Avoid doing this. Hot or boiling water can kill grass. As long as you use room-temperature water, you won’t harm your lawn. The oil and soap will kill quite a few ants and may even wipe out the entire colony.

Ant Baits

Ant traps or ant baits are an excellent way to kill an entire colony of ants without doing any harm to your lawn. Simply place ant baits near the mound. The ants will see the bait as food and bring it to their queen to feed her. The poisoned bait will then kill the queen and workers, wiping out the whole nest without putting your lawn at risk.

  • These outdoor ant baits will kill an entire ant colony quickly.
  • Ant baits pose no threat to your grass.
  • Because ant baits contain insecticides, make sure to keep them away from pets and children.

Ant baits do contain insecticides that can be harmful to people and pets. If you use ant baits, make sure that any pets or small children do not handle or attempt to eat them. If used carefully, ant baits are the quickest way to kill an ant colony without any damage to your lawn.

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Ant Killer Granules

Similar to ant baits, you can sprinkle granulated ant killer on the ground near ant mounds. Ants will see this poison as food and feed their colony with it. In just a few days, you can kill an entire ant mound. Then, you can dispose of the remaining granules. Your grass will be unharmed and the ants will be dead.

  • These ant-killing granules will kill an entire ant colony quickly.
  • Pour the poison granules near the ant mound according to the label instructions.
  • Worker ants will feed the granules to the colony, killing all the ants in the ant hill.
  • Do not use poison granules in areas where pets may come in contact with them.

If your yard is frequented by pets, make sure to screen off the area where the ant poison granules have been spread. Some pets may be drawn to the smell of the poison and could attempt to eat the granules. If you are worried about this possibility, simply try another tip from this list. However, poison granules are super effective at killing ants and pose no threat to grass.

Granules for Killing Ants
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  • Simply sprinkle around each individual mound in your yard.
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Destroy Ant Hills

Ants are attracted to yards where they are safe. So, if you want to drive ants out you can flatten their mounds. In fact, flattening ant mounds is one of the best ways to get rid of ant colonies in your yard. To use this tactic:

  • Break up the top of the mound with a shovel.
  • Use your shovel to dig up the ant mound to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm) and turn the soil over.
  • Tamp the soil down hard with the shovel or with your feet.
  • Water the soil after tamping to make sure it settles.

This method will kill ants, drive them off, and will help your grass reclaim areas where ant mounds have popped up. It’s also an all-natural method to get rid of ant mounds. Just be careful when digging up ant mounds. Some ant species—such as fire ants—are capable of delivering painful bites.

Can You Get Rid of Ant Hills With Boiling Water?

You can use boiling water to wipe out an ant hill. You can even use our tips to kill ants with boiling water. However, boiling water will damage grass as well as ants. Boiling hot water destroys the cell walls of grass blades. This will cause any grass blades exposed to boiling water to turn brown and wilt. So, if you’re trying to kill ants without harming your yard, don’t try this method.

  • Boiling can kill ant hills but it will also harm grass.
  • Grass that has boiling water poured on it will turn brown.
  • Pouring boiling water into an ant hill is not guaranteed to kill the ants.

Your grass may recover from boiling water treatment, but the ant nest may also bounce back. Ants are resilient and boiling water may not penetrate deeply enough to kill the nest queen. This makes boiling water less effective than ant baits or other poison.

Can You Pour Vinegar on an Ant Hill?

It’s not a good idea to use vinegar in an attempt to kill ants. Not only is vinegar not very effective at killing ants, it will also kill grass blades on contact. The acetic acid in white vinegar and all other types of vinegar dries out any plant leaves it touches. If you pour a vinegar mixture on an ant hill, this will result in brown patches of grass.

  • Vinegar is damaging to grass and ineffective at killing ant mounds.
  • The acetic acid in vinegar dries out grass blades, turning them brown.
  • Acetic acid is neutralized by soil, so it won’t kill many ants belowground.

Because the acetic acid in vinegar is neutralized on contact with soil, it will not retain its killing power as it penetrates the soil of an ant nest. Most likely, you will only kill a few ants with vinegar. You’re more likely to kill your grass than ants with this tactic.

How Do You Get Rid of Ant Hills WIthout Damaging Your Lawn?

In order to safely wipe out ant hills without killing your grass you should:

  • Spread a ring of diatomaceous earth around ant hills.
  • Pour a mixture of water, cooking oil, and dish soap into the ant mound.
  • Place outdoor ant baits near the ant nest.
  • Pour ant killer poison granules on the ground near ant mounds.
  • Flatten ant mounds with a shovel.
  • Do not use boiling water—it can damage grass.
  • Avoid using vinegar since it can turn grass brown.

These tips will keep your entire lawn green as you destroy the ant menace. Whatever message you choose, you’ll be able to quickly destroy an entire colony of ants and encourage your grass to reclaim the area.

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