Ants, white fungus and black spots

thomasdj360May 16, 2011

About two months I purchased two 1 gallon bamboo plants from a online nurserie. Pseudosasa Japonica and Phyllostachys Bambusoides. Both looked okay other than some dead leves due to it beung early spring. Now it is two months later and the Pseudosasa Japonica is doing well but the the Japanese timber bamboo has ants crawling all up and down the cane and inside the topped part of the cane where they cut. They cut an inch obove the node leaving two branches growing out of that node. The ants are crawling in the rotting inch of cane. There is also black little insects I noticed most of them on the face of the leaves not bottom where mites usually are found so I'm not sure. They are really tiny and I could just make them out moving. There is also a white type of mold at the base of the cane where the ants are also crawling on and into the soil. I know there is a type of mealy bug that produces a type of mold that ants eat. Is that right? I have read that ants are not harmful to bamboo except in the case of them being there because of the mealy bug. I did not see any type of mealy bug though. Would carpenter ants eat the rotting topped cane. The ants are red and I did see one with wings (not sure if that was an ant though). I also have 4 Yellow Groove Bamboo Plants I transplanted last year and there doing great. They are all shooting right now. I have researhed as much as I could and I am still not sure what to do or what I'm dealing with. If anybody could help with some suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you. Ps. I will try to post a picture.

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

The ants are not a problem. They do not damage the bamboo...they are usually mining the sweet residue left by aphids. The "white type of mold" is probably secretions from mealy bugs. Hosing off your bamboo regularly should help keep things under control. If you want to use a soap spray like Safer or a solution of neem oil, that will help, too.

Finally, carpenter ants are highly unlikely to be interested in bamboo. (They also have a distinctive appearance that makes them easy to identify.)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 11:23AM
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Thank you very much for the advice. I do have one more question though. Today I noticed one of the leaves curled a little and checked under it. What I saw was a web sticking from each side of the leaf like a little canopy about an inch long. At first I thought "ah ha" mealy bug. But then I notice a spiders legs sticking out. I couldn't see the whole body so I'm still a little weary. The legs didn't look stringy like the pictures I saw of the noxious mealy bug. And the web may have seemed more sticky due to it being wet from the rain the past couple of days. If it's a spider it's beneficial, if not I'm just not sure. I couldn't really tell what that noxious type mealy bug looked like from the pictures I found on the internet. The red mealy bugs I can actually see what's what in the pictures. Again thank you for all the advice.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 6:16PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

The spider may just be a coincidental visitor and not a concern. If you had bamboo mites, they are very tiny black spots about the size of a pepper flake, and have little white, cottony webs on the underside of the leaves. The damage they do is to eat chlorophyll from the leaves and the top sides of the leaves develop little splotchy, white patches like dashes ("Morris code"). It doesn't sound like you have this, though.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 10:18PM
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