While we must let bugs and insects roam free in our outdoor spaces, sometimes they can be too invasive, including swarms of ants.

You’re not alone if you see hundreds of them crawling around when you’re just trying to sunbathe or catch up with a friend over a coffee in the garden.

Although ants play a crucial role in our ecosystem, aiding in decomposition and soil aeration, their presence in excess can be troublesome, especially when they invade our living spaces.

Neil Halton, a property expert from Halton Stairlifts, shares his expertise on a common issue many homeowners face - dealing with ants in the garden.

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Here's a comprehensive guide from Neil on how to manage and reduce the ant population in your UK garden effectively.

How do I get rid of ants permanently outside?

Natural and non-invasive methods

Disturb their nests

Ants thrive in undisturbed spaces. Regularly disturbing their nests can discourage them from settling in your garden. This doesn't mean destroying them entirely but gently raking or hoeing the soil around their nests can make the environment less inviting.

Use natural repellents

Certain natural substances can deter ants. For instance, cinnamon, peppermint oil, and coffee grounds are known to be effective ant repellents. Sprinkle these around your garden or near entry points to your home to keep ants at bay.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Have you got an ant infestation in your garden? What to doHave you got an ant infestation in your garden? What to do (Image: Getty)

Maintain a clean garden

Ants are attracted to sweet substances and protein sources. Ensure that any food waste is securely disposed of and that compost bins are tightly sealed. Regularly clearing away dead insects and plant debris can also reduce ant attractants.

Targeted solutions

Boiling water

A direct, though somewhat harsh, method is pouring boiling water over the ant hills. This method should be used sparingly, as it can also harm plant roots and beneficial organisms in the soil.

Ant baits and barriers

Ant baits can be a more targeted approach, drawing ants to a poison that they carry back to the nest. Ensure that any chemicals used are suitable for garden use and pose minimal risk to other wildlife. Creating barriers with materials like diatomaceous earth or chalk can also prevent ants from accessing certain garden areas.

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Encourage natural predators

Birds, frogs, and certain types of insects prey on ants. Encouraging these natural predators to visit your garden can help keep the ant population in check. Bird feeders, bird baths, and habitat features like logs and rocks can attract these beneficial creatures.

Simple Ways to Create a Wildlife-friendly Garden  

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Professional assistance

If ant infestations persist or cause significant damage, it might be time to seek professional help. Pest control experts can offer more intensive solutions and help identify the specific ant species, which can be crucial in determining the best treatment strategy.

Neil added: “While ants are an integral part of our garden's ecosystem, maintaining a balance is key to a healthy and enjoyable outdoor space.

“By employing these strategies, you can minimize the impact of ants in your garden while still respecting the vital role they play in our environment.

“Should you need further assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional for tailored advice and solutions.”