Lawn Pests – Ants and Moles

Ants

 

Ants can be found in all lawns across the UK and in most cases they do little direct damage, however when there is an infestation of ants this is when a problem starts to occur. Ants should be tolerated in gardens wherever possible, however when there is a large presence the ant hills left behind become a burden.

 

They make the lawn become uneven, patchy and can cause scalping when the grass is cut. This can result in the soil being smeared and this is made worse when the lawn is cut when it’s wet as these patches become havens for weeds.

 

Sandy or chalky lawns tend to suffer a bit more from ants than heavier clay lawns, and ants tend to be most active between April and October as they are actively searching for food during this period.

 

Unless nests become a particular nuisance they are best left alone because even if you were to destroy a colony it is likely that it’s place will be taken over by further queen ants which could build more nests as a result.

 

Ants prefer dry conditions over wet condition so a good option would be to make sure your lawn is regularly watered and doesn’t dry out too much. This will encourage the ants to move on to somewhere drier.

Prevention
  • On a dry day brush the mounds from the surface of your lawn using a stiff brush or broom.
  • This will help prevent the lawn from becoming uneven.
  • Spike the nest using a garden fork and sprinkle some ant powder down the holes.
  • Nematodes, a biological control, are available for ants. We advise researching the product prior to use. https://www.nematodesdirect.co.uk/9-no-ants-nematodes

DO NOT POUR BOILING WATER ONTO YOUR LAWN IN AN ATTEMPT TO CONTROL ANTS!

Moles

Moles are rarely seen as they live underground but they soon make themselves known when they pop up in your lawn, as they are quite destructive and leave quite a mess. They dig out a system of tunnels and dispose of the excavated soil by throwing molehills above the surface.

 

The soil from the molehills should be removed from your lawn (not flattened as this will kill the grass beneath) and the bare patch re-seeded, if required. Any collapsed surface tunnels should be filled with soil from elsewhere in the garden to maintain a level lawn. Moles prove to be very clever and cunning animals so trying to catch one is quite the challenge.

 

Keeping lawns clear of leaves and debris in the autumn and winter months will help keep moles away. Leaves on the surface of a lawn will attract worms, which in-turn attracts moles who love feeding on worms.

Prevention
  • Ultrasonic devices can be used to deter moles as they do not like too much noise.
  • Moles are not fond of some flowers such as marigolds and daffodils, so dotting more of these around your garden could help.
  • Use moles traps – humane mole traps are available like this one. https://www.stopgardenmoles.co.uk/Humane-Mole-Trap/4.htm