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Ants In Flower Pots: How To Get Rid Of Ants In Pots

Ants are one of the most prevalent insects in and around your home, so it isn’t surprising that they find their way into your potted plants. They come seeking food, water and shelter, and, if the conditions are right, they may decide to stay. Let’s find out more about these annoying insects and how to get rid of ants in pots.

Ants in Plant Containers

Infestations of honeydew-producing insects, such as aphids, soft scales, mealybugs and whiteflies may explain why you’re finding ants in potting soil. Honeydew is a sweet, sticky substance that the insects secrete as they feed, and ants think it’s a banquet. In fact, they will go to great lengths to protect honeydew-producing insects from predators to keep a supply of this tasty food handy.

Get rid of the insects that produce honeydew before killing ants in containers to keep the ants from returning. If you catch infestations of these insects early, you can treat them with insecticidal soap. Spray the plant thoroughly, and pay particular attention to the undersides of the leaves where they like to hide and lay eggs. It may take more than one treatment to get them under control.

The way you care for your plants can also be a source of ant problems. You may see ants in flower pots when you’ve been using home remedies that include sugar or honey. Pick up leaves that fall onto the potting soil and provide a cozy hiding place for ants.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Pots

If you find ants in your indoor plants, take them outside immediately so the ants don’t become established inside your home. To get rid of the ants nesting in container plants, you’ll need a bucket or tub larger and deeper than your flower pot and concentrated insecticidal soap, available at any garden supply store. Here is a simple procedure that will eliminate the ants once and for all:

  • Place the plant container inside a bucket or tub.
  • Make a solution using one or two tablespoons of insecticidal soap per quart of water.
  • Fill the bucket or tub until the solution barely covers the surface of the potting soil.
  • Let the plant soak for 20 minutes.

Ants are one of the most prevalent insects around, so it isn't surprising they find their way into potted plants. Learn how to get rid of ants in pots here.

How to Remove Ants from Potted Plants

Last Updated: April 28, 2020 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 11 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

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Although ants are a nuisance, they do not actually cause any harm to potted plants. Ants are attracted to the sweet honeydew-esque excretions left by other pests that reside in the soil, such as aphids and mealybugs; fire ants like to make nests in potted plants and hide in the plants’ foliage. There are several ways to eradicate ants from your potted plants. You may eradicate the pests with insecticides or baits, drown them in a solution of water and insecticidal soap, or deter them with common household items. If you can’t get rid of pests, repot your plant in fresh soil and a sanitized pot.

How to Remove Ants from Potted Plants. Although ants are a nuisance, they do not actually cause any harm to potted plants. Ants are attracted to the sweet honeydew-esque excretions left by other pests that reside in the soil, such as…