Ants on my cherry tree...

mpalermoMay 6, 2012

I have a Bing cherry tree that I planted a few weeks ago. It's doing well. I've recently seen ants crawling up and down the branches. Should I be concerned that they may be damaging the tree? Should I spray the tree with something to keep them away? It's definitely not a whole colony of ants, but certainly enough to notice.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

They can get into the fruit, and if you have aphids on the new growth, they're going up there to farm the aphids. I would certainly put boric acid ant bait stations at the bases of all your fruit trees that have ants in them. And, a good blast of water to the new leaves if you see aphids.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Ants are almost always in fruits trees because they are farming Aphids or Scale.

Easiest and most effective way to deal with them is to use Tanglefoot on the tree trunk. Follow the instructions on the package and you'll pretty much eliminate the ant problem.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Great, thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:41PM
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If you wanted a cheap, convenient way to stop them crawling up the trunk, you can wrap a couple 'rings' of 1" masking tape snuggly around a smooth area with the sticky side facing outward. The glue may be effective for 1 to 3 weeks, depending. I check them each morning in case a stuck baby lizard needs to be freed. New tape rings can replace the non-stick older tape.If there are no aphids, leaves being eaten, or fruit to protect, I don't bother the ant patrols. They do eat insect eggs.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Yup, the ants are most likely a symptom of a bigger problem, usually aphids and scale as already mentioned. The ants generally won't have any interest in a cherry tree (other than if you have ripe fruit splitting open and still sitting on the branch), so they're not really hurting anything, but whatever they're climbing up there to get probably is.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:55PM
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I've had ants on my Cherry tree (Montmorency Sour Cherry) for the past seven years. Won't my Triazicide 'Once and Done' take care of them after petal fall, then second cover? Thanks Mrs. G

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:41PM
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How big are aphids and scale? Are they big enough to see? The cherry tree is only a few weeks old and the only insects I see are some ants and the occasional bee.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 1:02AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I find ants going up as soon as the bud swells and sucking up the fresh residue/sap from the opening buds and blossoms.
Get the widest, 2" masking tape, and attach inside out, on two places or so, it will trap allot. Ants can actually kill a brand new graft by sucking the live out of the bud!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 1:38AM
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Ants may be harmless on a sweet cherry. Look for aphids first before assuming that is why the ants are there. If you look at the base of sweet cherry leaves you will see a red gland that secretes sugar. More then likely, this is what the ants are after, not aphids.

I get ants on my sweet cherry trees every year, but they cause no damage, and do not farm aphids on them. Because of this, I don't bother trying to control them. These glands may actually be some kind of defense to avoid getting aphids.

Before you freak out on seeing ants, confirm they are milking those glands, and make sure you actually see aphids before taking action against them.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Actually, after checking a bit more, it's tent caterpillars that the tree is defending against. It attracts ants that will attack pests that would damage young leaves, and the tree times it's release of sugars to match they cycle of tent caterpillars. Aphids are not needed by the ants since they get enough food from the glands (nectaries).

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:18PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

I've seen ants in the flowers of crab apple, blueberry and cherry and never a sign of aphids or scale on those plants. They're welcome as pollinators there.

OTOH, my potted lemon and lime are scale magnets and the ants are the clue that the scale is back.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:57PM
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They are definitely going after the nectar glands and there aren't TONS of ants on the tree either. Several per branch, but all hanging out near those glands.

I mainly wanted to make sure that they won't have the tree by eating it or the leaves.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I will spray my Montmorency day after tomorrow (tomorrow I have rain). The ants will be gone for a bit, but I bought 'Tanglefoot' to get the rest. Orchards are worse than owning a boat! Always something to do! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Agree with Capoman, Ants usually are not a problem, I only take action when there is one, ...this sometimes after grafting.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 7:39PM
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