Q: I have a small vegetable garden with a couple tomato and cucumber plants. I have a lot of little spiders running around the garden and in the grass all over the yard. I also found a mound of tiny black ants in my garden. I’m wondering if the spiders will be beneficial or if I need to spray the entire yard. I also want to kill the ants but I can’t find anything safe to use around vegetables. I’ve heard that dry grits will kill them but I haven’t had any luck.
A: Spiders are overwhelmingly beneficial to a garden. They eat aphids, small caterpillars and many other soft-bodied insects. I use wheat straw to mulch around my garden plants and between rows because it provides a good habitat for my spider allies.
Unfortunately, spiders don’t do much ant control….. but the ants don’t do much harm to the garden either. Either leave them alone or sprinkle some ant bait like Amdro(tm) or Over ‘n Out(tm) around your garden for ants to find and take back to their nest. Save your grits for a lazy weekend breakfast with your friends.