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Articles - Issues Of Home Economics:

In April, the Judas tree is a cloud of pink blossom. You can't help noticing it, because the
Young pulmonaria flowers are bright pink. After a few days they turn violet and then vivid blue.
Hazel catkins are worth close inspection, although, if you suffer from pollen allergies, you might
Hamamelis blossom appears in winter, the flowers are delicate bunches of gold or red strands. They
Winter jasmine, as its name implies, flowers in mid-winter – not because of climate change or

Counter measures for an ant invasion

In the garden, ants are actually useful omnivores that tidy away dead animals, insects and plants. On the other hand they frequently "farm" aphids which can devastate young growth on vegetables and fruit – that's when irate gardeners will want to take action.

One of the most common ants to find in your garden is likely to be the Yellow meadow ant (Lasius flavus). These amber-coloured ants prefer to build their nests in grassy areas, like the middle of your lawn. The first you know about their underground nest is a heap of earth that looks like a small molehill in the grass. The Yellow meadow ant feeds mainly on the sugary substance extruded by root aphids. They often farm these aphids and protect them from their natural enemies.

Natural enemies and sweet traps

Ideally your garden will contain a lot of toads and frogs, some birds, insects and small mammals like shrews – these are the natural enemies of ants and will help to keep them under control. You can also make use of the ants love of sweet things, and put jars with honey, syrup or jam near the nest. The ants will wander in and become trapped. You can then empty the jar onto the compost pile.

 

 

Ants dislike the smell of certain herbs

Alternatively, you could use herbs to drive the ants away – they don't like the smell of Mediterranean herbs like lavender and thyme. So plant lots of these in your garden and your popularity will decline steeply. Other smells which the ants dislike include fresh elderberry shoots, nasturtiums, and tansy. The Agricultural Business Chamber of North Rhine Westphalia also advises pouring wormwood tea into the nests. Wormwood tea is easily made by stirring 300 grams of fresh wormwood or 30 grams of the dried herb into 10 litres of water and leaving the mixture to ferment for two weeks.

 

Move them

You could also try relocating the ants' nest. Stuff a flowerpot full of wood shavings or wood wool and put it upside down on or near an ant trail. The ants will quickly move into this new luxury nest and then you can move them to a place where you'd prefer them to live. To stop ants coming into your home, dribble lemon juice, tea tree oil or clove oil on the ant. And, of course, remove any foods that might be attracting them inside.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de