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Ants in Your Plants?

Posted in Garden Advice on September 29, 2017

Ants in the Garden 

Do you see ants in your plants? Do you wonder what they are doing there? It may be that they are 'farming' sap-sucking insects such as scale insects, aphids or mealybugs.

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 sapsuckers from predators and can encourage the production of honeydew by stimulating the sapsuckers. 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:

Learn more about ants in the garden.

David Brittain

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