Ants are social insects, and you may be surprised to know they’re related to bees and wasps. Ants live in nests which contain several hundred, sometimes thousands, of other ants. Most are wingless sterile females, known as workers, as well as fertile females, known as queen ants, and males. More than 30 species of ant thrive in the UK, with a few of these – including the familiar black garden ant – occurring in homes and gardens.
When choosing control options, you can minimise harm to non-target animals by starting with non-pesticide methods of control.
Jaylea, owner of Flourishing Plants explained that black pepper is a “very effective” repellent for ants to ensure plants remain healthy.
He said: “Black pepper acts as a natural antibacterial agent for plants.
“Biologically, it’s an essential spice and its secondary metabolites are used as insecticides and bacterial agents.
“Black pepper water can be used as a spray to treat fungus infestations because of its intense aromatic properties.
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Even a “thin layer” of pepper is enough to deter ants.
The expert continued: “Ants cause severe damage to plants, and black pepper proves fatal to them.
“Add a thin layer of pepper around the plant or at the edges of a flower bed.
“You will notice a reduction in ants in a few days.”
What’s more, it is so much cheaper than chemical pesticides as ground black pepper can be picked up from Asda for as little as 70p.
Black pepper can also be mixed with water to create a spray solution by adding half a teaspoon of black pepper to warm water.
Spraying black pepper or its oil on plants helps prevent the spread of diseases.
Black pepper contains piperine, an antibacterial chemical that prevents the growth of mould and bacteria in plants.
It can kill mould without the use of chemicals or pesticides, preventing the spread of diseases and blemishes.
Fungal and bacterial infestations are common in plants.
When black pepper is mixed in the soil, it breaks down into different nutrients and has an antibacterial effect, which can protect plants and also boost their nutrition.
However, unless it’s really a big problem, ants should be tolerated in gardens wherever possible.