How to Kill Ants on Vegetables

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Things You'll Need

  • Sugar

  • Borax

  • Large bowl

  • Spoon

  • Large spray bottle

  • Large stockpot

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Shovel

  • Stick (optional)

Kill the ants you find on your vegetables using nontoxic methods.

Many insects are beneficial garden dwellers that aerate the soil as they tunnel through the ground. However, if you find ants on the vegetables in the garden, they can attract harmful predators to your garden. Get rid of them as quickly as possible using effective methods that are safe for use on vegetables. Nontoxic methods kill the ants on your vegetables and around your garden, keeping your vegetables chemical-free and healthy for your loved ones.


Step 1

Combine 4 cups water, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of borax in a large bowl. Stir until the sugar and borax dissolve completely.

Step 2

Transfer the mixture into a large spray bottle. If necessary, use a funnel to pour the mixture.

Step 3

Spray the borax mixture on the vegetables where you see the ants.

Step 4

Wash all vegetables with running water before consuming.


Step 1

Place 3 gallons water in a large stockpot. Add a squirt of liquid dish soap. Stir the solution well combining the ingredients.

Step 2

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.

Step 3

Widen the anthill opening with a shovel or stick.

Step 4

Pour the boiling soap-and-water mixture into the widened hole. Pour slowly avoiding splashing and burning yourself. The boiling water scalds the ants it contacts, killing them. The soap breaks the water tension, drowning ants that avoid scalding but encounter the water when it cools.


Borax is a natural compound found in many grocery stores’ laundry aisle. It is safe for use around food. However, washing the vegetables helps remove excess borax from the surface. Ants are attracted to the sugar and the borax poisons them. Killing the ants on your vegetables requires treatment of the source. Killing ants in the anthills helps save your vegetables. Diatomaceous earth is another option. Sprinkle it around or on plants. It is composed of ground-up marine fossils. The powder’s sharp edges cut the ants, causing them to dehydrate and die.


To protect yourself when working around ants, wear closed-toed shoes, long pants and gloves. Certain ants, such as fire ants, can impart a painful sting. Boiling water kills any plant life contacts. Do not use this method next to a vegetable plant or grass.


Erin Ringwald

Erin Ringwald began writing in 1998. She runs her own party planning business and helps with her husband's photography business. She's working on her Master of Education with a focus on elementary education and child development. Ringwald studied musical theater and later obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Wright State University.