Real World Gardener Ants on Plants in Plant Doctor

May 20th, 2021

 PLANT DOCTOR

Ants on Plants

Ants in the house are a problem because they turn up in your pantry, in your cat and dog food that you’ve put out, or just hang around the kitchen bench.
Sometimes they’re in places like the bathroom, leaving you wondering what on earth are they doing there?
Ants in the garden are another matter, however, it's pretty common to see ants running up and down on your plants, and one or two shouldn't be a cause for concern.

Ant-on-plant-leaf.jpg

 

It's when the ants are present on your tree or shrub in large numbers that you should start to worry because they can signal other pest problems occurring on your tree, shrub or even seedlings.

Why Are Ants On Your plants in the First Place?

  • Whitefly, aphids, mites are all sap suckers.
  • It’s not just the presence of scale pests that ants are attracted to. These are all sap suckers and produce honey dew which ants like to farm. 
  • Juvenile scale which is the crawler stage, are very small and you may not notice them, although the ants will know that they are there.
aphids-farmed%2Bby%2Bants.jpg
Ants farming aphids

  • Sometimes it’s just the sweet nectar of the flowers that bring in the ants.
  • Ants can live in your containerised plants if the potting mix has become very dry or hydrophobic. The dry soil becomes a perfect medium for the ants to build a home in.
  • Watch to see what the ants are doing-going to the flowers only or running all over the plants.

Solution:

Horticultural or Neem oils can be sprayed to smother the aphids and controlling mealybug. Spring is the best time to control spray for scale, but you can still spray in summer. 
 

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgtarden.com.au

If you have any questions about ants on plants, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
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