ants eating my veggie plants

sheeshshe1(5a)June 14, 2010

I've searched on here trying to find a way to get rid of the ants that are eating my plants and almost everything is about fire ants... these are just little brown ants and every year they eat my veggie plants. I've watched them chew down pepper plants at the bottom of the stalk... and every year when I plant my green bean seeds they chew those down too and I have to keep replanting them over and over again. so, what can I do to deter them from chomping down my plants? I used to think it was cut worms eating my green beans but I'm really thinking it is the ants since they're chewing it down further up. please help! thank you!

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

The ants are secondary to whatever did the original damage.

Any chance of pictures?

Without further info, a few guesses as to the culprits -- caterpillars, birds, and/or rabbits.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:46PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

What you are seeing is ants cleaning up after something else caused the original problem. While some ant species may, if there is no other food source available, munch on living plants usually there is enough dead and dying plant material to keep them fed that they do not need to go after living plants.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 6:57AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

This came up last year and the previous and previous as well. Occasionally ants eat the stems of plants at ground level. AFAICT no one is sure why, I suspect they want the sugars released. I'd spread a thin band of DE around affected plants. There are also tons of homemade remedies revealed on a search, incorporate the one that suits you.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 8:39AM
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sheeshshe1(5a)

I am certain that the ants weren't the secondary culprit. I watch my plants very closely and go out there several times per day to monitor it. I know they're eating my plants.

I do have some food grade DE. so put them around the base of all the plants then? I have to replace it when it rains, correct?

what else do you think would be good to do?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 9:05AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

As soon as DE gets wet it is useless. But maybe 3-4 days of breaking their habits will be enough. Just a thin barrier.

You can try some sort of barrier using Tanglefoot as well, altho I suspect 10-12 dead bodies will be enough to walk over to get to lunch.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 9:48AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Fire ants are a known problem for garden plants. I've observed them chowing down on my beans and peas, just for example. They'll bite into the outer skin until they have access to the insides. Once they began discovering my treasured sugar snaps, I reached my tolerance level!

Anyway, there are fire ant baits with Spinosad, which is labeled for use around edible crops. I've used these baits with very good success. Be sure to read and follow all directions and be sure to get the BAIT, not another spinosad product.

You can also bait the fire ants with Amdro, but must do so outside of your vegetable garden area.

To get the best success from a fire ant bait, you need to be careful that you don't disturb the mounds or their pathways. Use a small amount of the product...more is NOT better; it only takes a little bit for the job to be done. The workers will take the particles into their nest where the toxin will eventually get spread around and fed to everyone, including the queen.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 3:50PM
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kingkongos(Phoenix)

I can testify to ants doing damage and not only as clean-up after some other pest. They have been tunneling through my eggplant stems, and chewing flowers right off both my eggplants and okra.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 7:07PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

OOh, yes! Fire ants will eat right through flowers to get at the nectaries, rather than trying to get the goodies the usual insect way.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 12:35AM
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flsunnshyne

I just planted another cucumber plant in my raised garden a week ago. It has been doing so well - flowers just came out about a day or so ago. I watered the garden yesterday and fed it, I didn't notice anything. I went out this morning to pick some lettuce and oh my goodness! My cucumber plant has been ate by something! The leaves look like somethings been munching on them ! I looked closely at them and saw blackish ants crawling around. Also, my daughter planted a lima bean plant near by and I noticed the ants in the dirt around the stem and on some leaves! Help! What can I do so they don't get my green beans or lima beans!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 12:51PM
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indystarproductions

Is this what yours look like? It sounds just like what is happening to me. Whole plants just gone. I thought it was happening at night but then a whole zuccini leaf was gone in 1 hour during the middle of the day. Ate 6 whole tomato seedlings in one night. These ant things are all over the soil where the destroyed plants are.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 7:10PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Even though you may be seeing ants all over the area the plants were it is not very likely they are what destroyed those plants. While there are ants in the world that will do that they do not live in the United States and not even the Fire Ants in the south have been reported devouring a plant that quickly.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 6:16AM
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mikelome

Hi Guys,
I am a 3 year Gardner that used to travel and have had bad luck with neighbors you name it. I have grown beautiful tomatoes , marigolds etc. Armature stuff. Now I have been back home for 2 months and have grown 4 sunflowers the smallest at 5 ft bloomed and all the flower fell off due to excessive rain so is all that's left is the face with green sides. I can post pics. My pepper plants are in my front yard facing west ( noon and after sun) have holes in the leaves like they are being eaten. I thought it was slugs and put out yeast and sugar water add drew nothing but ants. The same goes for my back patio where my sunflowers are growing in a large pot with my green peppers. My peppers are like vines and are chasing the sunflower up its stalk. But I can see ants crawling.All of my leaves even my cherry tomato plant started showing signs of discoloration of leaves and that's a hung planter.My snap peas came up beautifully got about 7 feet and died from the root up. All seeds were bought online or home depot. online seed is hit or miss for weeds but I tend to my garden. I use cow manure as well as miracle grow plus fertilizer, as well as use dead foliage. Weeds are killing me, roundup is not helping Please help me!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:09AM
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LKZZ(7b)

Try coffee grounds around the base of your plant.
The link below has quite a few additional ideas (coffee grounds included) to repel ants naturally.

Here is a link that might be useful: Get Rid of Ants Cheaply and Naturally

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 4:31PM
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