Parasites – i.e. small plant pests – are among the most annoying and difficult problems to solve in indoor and outdoor cultivation, which is why it is advisable to prevent any infestation. In this article we will talk about how to prevent and eliminate ants.
How common is the ant problem?
Ants abound both inside and outside. Most species that attack plants use them as “pasture” for aphids or vine bugs.
Where are they and when?
Ants nest in the soil or growing medium and travel through the trunk to the leaves to graze their flock of aphids and vine bugs.
What do they look like? That’s what ants attacking our plants look like.
Ants consist of 3 parts: the head, the chest and the abdomen. The legs are attached from the chest and the eyes, antennae and mouth to the head. They usually reach a size of 2/5mm.
What damage does it do to the plant?
Ants form underground colonies and have to dig holes to move around, which damages the roots of our plants. Aphids and vine bugs carried by ants are a threat to the plant as they suck the lifeblood. If they find a good situation to thrive, the ants create their nest inside the trunk of the plant.
Prevention: how to defend yourself against ants
There are several methods to prevent ants from settling within the growing area:
- Water: ants do not swim, so building a water channel around the plants can prevent them from forming a colony.
- Some particular useful plants, such as cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves – if shredded – can be a powerful disincentive to colonize.
Chemical Barriers: Boric Acid can create a barrier for plants, but sometimes ants also cross it, which get covered in dust and slowly die or bring the poison into the nest.
- Artemisia Absinthium: It transfers deterrent properties to the soil due to the presence and effectiveness of bitter principles with great respect for the biological balance.
How to eliminate ants once they are on the plants?
To eliminate ants you can use different natural products that act in different ways, with the common result of effectively eradicating them. The most commonly used in gardens is Pyrethrum (or derivatives) which is a natural protector derived from a plant of the chrysanthemum family. It is a lethal product for ants.