Ants

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Jnel, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. Jnel

    Jnel Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi,

    Suggestions please to get rid of ants which are all over my lime tree (indian lime).

    Also noticed they are all through my spider orchid, intend on repotting it to see if that will fix it.

    Thanks !
     
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Yes ants have become the new frontline in garden warfare!
    They are the latest almost uncontrollable pest.
    They are farming scale insects which produce a sugary discharge which the ants eat or feed to their hatching young.

    Some things that bring ants to your plants are:-
    1. Using natural fertilizer which contains organic matter that the ants can eat such as chook manure pellets, blood and bone;
    2. Using compost which yields same food source as above;
    3. Applying naturally sourced foliar feeding products to the plant (milk, garlic,oil, seaweed,etc).

    This is the downside of using natural fertilizers and sprays.

    Ants have become a major pest all through the country and from what I read, across the world. I don't know if the ants came after the upsurge of natural fertilizer use or before it but weren't noticed.

    I do know that there has been a silent takeover right under our feet in Australia. The normal ants that lived in underground nests and were only a minor problem, were taken over by a far more virulent biting ant that is keen to protect its territory. These new ants also jump on and off your legs and feet and plants.
    I read an article written last year by an entomologist who has just noticed this take over after many people started asking why ants have become so biting recently. When he investigated he discovered the ants living in the ground nests are a completely different type to the usual non-offensive variety we used to have.

    These new ants are really keen to farm scale on plants as a food source and they will protect their farm by biting you and jumping on your legs when you get close to the plant. So they are taking over the ground around the plant too. Or thieving the moisture from the potting medium causing the plant to dry out more than usual.

    The scale insects produce the sugar secretion, which also encourages black mould to grow on the plants leave like that you can find on citrus or mangoes.

    Now, how to get rid of these blighters.....
    This is hard because the normal stuff we have for our usual garden ants doesn't work that well against this new ant. You have to be far more diligent with applying it.
    You can try ant sand or a powderd variety sprinkled around the base of the plant.
    You can spray fly spray onto the plant where the scale are lined up under the leaves and along the stems. This will only work if the plant isn't very sensitive, so a woody plant will tolerate the fly spray while a food seedling won't. And your orchid won't tolerate the fly spray.
    You can try white oil but don't make your own because it will just become a food source for the ants!
    I have had moderate success with using pyrethrum spray which I make up myself. Its very expensive to buy the base product. I buy a 500ml container of natural pyrethrum from the vet which is usually used as a base for a dog flea wash. But it costs about $100!
    However it has lasted a few years because it doesn't go off.
    Many fly sprays are now made with permethrim which is the man made version. So you can look at the ingredients on the cans. Spray from a distance so as not to burn the leaves.
    If your plant will tolerate it, you can use a hose with a strong jet to blast off the scale and ants several times daily until they finally go away but be prepared for a full-on long lasting territorial fight. You can soak the pot in a bucket of water until you drown out their nest and keep soaking every week for a long time as they will come back.
    Where you have the pot sitting, you can put a circle of ant sand or powder but once they broach the defences they are in again!

    I also buy from my rural feed store, another rather expensive professional product sold in a 2lt container, which is a type of ant sand that needs a very light watering to work when applied to pavers or soil, lawns etc. So it is a bit moisture tolerant also but not tolerant of major rain of course. The ants take the tiny balls back to their queen but these new ants seem to be able to requeen within days. Or perhaps they have several queens on the go inside each nest to begin with.
     
  3. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I'd stay well away from fly spray! It kills everything, good & bad. Pesticides are a major cause of environmental damage. The diversity of insects is falling at an alarming rate due to it.

    I would instead encourage predators, rocks, or a stack of bricks & a water source will attract lizards.

    If it is scale mites & you need to spray anything, try Neem or Eco oil, which like Pyrethrum are natural contact kill pesticides- you have to spray it on the insect directly, this limits collateral damage to beneficial insects nearby.

    For the ants, if they enjoy sweet stuff, ant rid liquid has always done the job for me. Just find a line of them & leave some in a bottle cap. They take it back to the nest & wipe out everything. You will never kill them all, but controlling the population is achievable.
     
  4. Jnel

    Jnel Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks, need to avoid attracting lizards as we have terrier dogs, staffy and and a ****zu. Will try the Prethrum. But for now will do the ant rid as I have some of that in the kitchen. I initially thought the ants were eating the aphids, but then found out I had that very wrong!
     
  5. Andrea Domenico

    Andrea Domenico Member

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    Ants are the one which comes in various shapes and sizes. Ants on your lemon tree are likely a sign that your lemon tree has scale or aphids. Getting rid of ants can be even more frustrating, especially if they keep coming back, but there are things you can do. The most effective way of getting rid of ants is using of baiting and insecticidal soap. You can also place cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, coffee grounds, or dried mint tea leaves around the base of the plant to block ants. That is why it is very important that you maintain a clean environment.
     
  6. Andrea Domenico

    Andrea Domenico Member

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    If these above solution does not works then, the only true solution for ant infestation treatments are delivered by pest control services, who will follow a strict adherence and dedication to prevention.
     
  7. Jnel

    Jnel Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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  8. Jnel

    Jnel Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Armed with antrid, cloves & cinnamon. Hopefully one or a combination will help
     
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