Thyme and Ants

(Question)

Hi.
I planted Thyme in my garden as ground cover. I noticed today, there are many ants around one of them. So I did dig a bit and saw many of them and some have wings. I did dig the Thyme out and I saw a lot in the root. I killed them all with hot water. Ants scare me. I do not want them inside my house. Now I feel planting Thyme might be not good idea if the Thyme attract ants and if ants love to eat Thyme.

Do you know anything about Thyme and ants? Is there any good want to kill/repel ants. Thank you so much.

 

(Answer)

 

Thyme is in the Mint family and, like many aromatic herbs in the Mint family, its natural oils are supposed to repel insects, not attract them! It is possible that your ant colony found a dry, safe place to live under your thyme plants.

If you suspect an ant colony has moved under any plant in your garden, water thoroughly.  The ants will quickly try to save the colony by moving the eggs and queen(s) out of the area to a drier location. If you water your thyme regularly over the warmer months you will create an unsatisfactory environment for ants. Boiling water will kill the nest but, as ants play a beneficial role in our garden ecosystem (by aerating the soil with their tunnels, pollinating plants, dispersing seeds and eating the eggs and larvae of garden pests), I would only resort to that if they are near your house.

There is always the possibility that the ants will relocate to other areas of your garden, which is likely if they have found a food source nearby. Check your garden for aphids. They produce a sticky sweet substance called honeydew, which ants love to eat.

Pesticides that kill ants can also kill other important garden insects, so if you choose that route, buy Ant traps that contain toxic ant bait.They sit on the ground and are less likely to be used by other insects. The ants enter the trap, remove the bait and take it back to the colony. It can take a few days to eradicate the entire colony.

You could also try planting more plants from the Mint family, like basil, oregano, lemon balm, sage, rosemary, savory and especially mint- which ants actively avoid.