Ants will feed on the honeydew that sap sucking insects produce. Sap 'sucking' insect is something of an inaccurate description because the insects do not have to suck. The sap in plants is usually under pressure and when the insect sticks its hypodermic like mouth-parts into the plant the sap is forced into the insect. The insects excrete the excess as honeydew which is a sugary liquid which the ants will feed on. The ants will protect the sap suckers from predators and can encourage the production of honeydew by stimulating the sap suckers. This a mutually beneficial arrangement with the ants getting the sugary honeydew and the scale getting protection.
However, the arrangement is not beneficial to the plant on which the sap sucking insects are feeding and the ants may not beneficial to you when they head indoors to feed in your kitchen.
So, if you see ants in your plants, you can protect your plants and your home by the following methods:
- Ornamental plants - apply PLANThealth Insect Hit Granules around the roots of the plant. This will form a barrier to stop ants going up the plant to farm the sap sucking insects and a systemic insecticide is taken up by the plant to control the sap suckers.
- Crop plants and ornamentals - apply NO Ants Ant Sand in a bad around the roots of the plants and spray the sap sucking insects with Organic Super Spraying Oil.