Their bite can sting you and they can also ruin you garden. In this morning’s Get Dirty segment, we’re talking about ants.

Michele Harman, Community Relations Specialist at the Board of Water Supply, joing Take2 to discuss the damage that ants can cause and tips to kee you and your garden safe.

Today we’re talking about ants! Everything at the garden has been enjoying the rain, including the ants. Their population has really grown. The ants are becoming a problem on some plants, especially for our native gardenia or nānū, the kuluʻi and some others. As we head into summer & conditions become drier, people might notice ants coming into homes more as they search for water.  

The best thing to do is watch and monitor.

You’ll probably always have some ants. For your plants, watch for associated pests like scale or you might find sooty mold. Take care of the scale and mealy bugs early. And also treat for ants. I have been able to rely on Borax in a sweet bait, like Terro. A great thing to do to is to bait for Little Fire Ants and other invasive species.

Once invasive ants are at the point of you finding them, it takes years to eradicate.

When they bite humans, it feels like fire and they can cause blindness in pets. We recommend checking at least annually. Also, check new plants, soil and mulch. Often, that’s how LFA has been found early and controlled.

Go to the Stop the Ant website or Hawai’i Ant Lab to see how to monitor for LFA. It takes just a little peanut butter, some chopsticks, freezing the ants and then sending them to the experts to get the ants identified.

For more information, visit the Board of Water Supply website.