Ants in plants and garden
Are ants bad for my garden? If you
have ants running around all over your garden, then the questions will
be: Are they attracted by the sweet smell? And should I let them live
in peace or should I exterminate them?
The ants are making nests in the planting medium.
This messes with the roots. There is a good possibility that the ants
are aphid ranchers. The ants eat the aphids' excreted "honeydew,"
which is a sugar concentrate from the plant's sap. If they are not ranching,
they are getting food from another source and that probably has something
to do with the garden.
The ants must be eliminated. There is only one
thing to do: get rid of them and stop them from returning.
Although it may seem like they are everywhere,
once you follow the trails you will probably find that the ants are only
colonizing a few containers. If the plants in them are not special, it
may be easiest to destroy them to resolve the ant issue.
However, if the plants are special, then they should
be isolated so that the ants cannot get to other plants. A moat can be
made using a tray several inches high. Place something like a block of
wood to elevate the pot in the middle of the tray. Add water to the tray
and the ants are trapped.
Cinnamon is both repugnant and fatal to ants. As
you sprinkle it or water it into the soil you will see the ants scurrying
out of their nests. Ants are also susceptible to pyrethrum drenches and
other biological insecticides. With a spoon, sprinkle ground cinnamon,
which can be purchased at any herb shop or grocery store, on the top of
the planting medium. Then make a drench using two rounded tablespoons
of ground cinnamon per gallon of hot water. Let the water cool to room
temperature then add a liquid pyrethrum insecticide into the solution
as directed. A surfactant such as Coco-Wet will make the solution more
effective. Use the solution as a drench.
Beneficial nematodes should be added to the medium.
These microscopic creatures attack various insects including ants.
To keep the ants out, the perimeter should be lined
with an inch wide barrier of dry boric acid. This powder is not a harsh
chemical but is lethal to ants should they try to pass through. Cinnamon
powder in the garden area, under tables and in out-of-the-way areas keeps
the ants away as well.
Those methods mentioned above are simple solutions.
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