Ants in my House Plants (Bay Area)

lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CADecember 23, 2007

I live in a 1920's apartment in Oakland. I'm on the third floor. And I have a lot of house plants.

In the last few weeks, the ants have discovered my house plants. First it was one orchid, and today I was watering my Christmas Cactus, and was dismayed to see that I had disturbed HUNDREDS of ants.

What's a girl to do? I'm worried that if I let them stay, I'll create a terrible infestation. But I'm also worried that if I remove the plants, they'll start roaming and discover my kitchen.

I would prefer not to douse my apartment in poison.

I'm a transplanted Marylander, and don't know the rules for California ants.

Thoughts? Suggestions?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you can find the source outside where they are getting in at you can stop it there with poison.
They are looking for a place to spend the winter.
Is it possible that one plant is rotting. I don't know if they are attacted to that smell.
Get the Terro ant traps or even the liquid. You can put the liquid a few drops on piece of cardboard and they take it back and kill and queen. BUT...I have watched them and some stay right there for like 15 minutes and drink it on my patio.
Eventually after a few days they were dwindling down.
I found the nest in the patio railing cracks and filled it with the Terro foam spray.
In a former condo a neighbor had them and they had a 10 lane freeway outside coming up the wall to her unit.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dick_Sonia(Sunset 17)

Ants are secondary infestors, i.e., they're not interested in your house plants per se, they are farming the aphids or scale crawlers that infested your plants at some earlier point. You probably have scale crawlers (which are just about invisible to the naked eye). Once you take care of the primary infestation, there will be nothing to keep the ants interested in your house plants.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 12:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

not all ants are aphid farmers although that is a possibility. If you moved the pot and saw that many, they are probably nesting in that pot.
I have found that the oil that spritzes out of the rind of citrus makes a good natural ant repellent. Take a citrus rind fold it in half and oil will spritz out of the rind. Spritz your pots and you will find the ants don't like being there any more. I find that lemon and orange work best. The rind must be fresh, not old and dried out.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 10:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sumcool(Cen. Coast/s17)

This may seem strange, but it worked for me.
Cut up a cucumber into slices, then put the slices where you see them entering your home. Maybe they don't like the smell?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
napapen(ca 15)

I use a houseplant systemic granular pest killer on house plants. It goes into the leaves and as the sucking, chewing pests eat they die. Then the ants will leave. Altho in orchids I usually dunk the whole pot in water and the ants move out but before they do, hit them with more water or soap insecticide Penny

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Ants are so easy to control around the house foundation, I don't understand why anyone puts up with them IN the house. Al

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 9:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i have a lot of house plants too and every winter the ants will move into my plants. i find they are there when i have let the plants get too dry and then water a swarm comes out. what i did this time is: isolate the plant, water the plant well. vacumn up the ants up that will swarm out of the pot. to those of you who revert to poison please stop. we put way too much into our earth that is toxic.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 1:46AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What's the deal with milkweed
When is a good time to locate seeds or starts for milkweed?...
Need Giant Whitefly Locations in SoCal (Researcher)
Hello I am an Entomology Ph.D. student in need of some...
Avocado: Sharwil!
Folks, I've been looking for a source for a Sharwil...
Suggestions for unusual and well-producing veggies for northbay?
We're about to plant the same old things: beans, tomatoes,...
Pittosporum 'Silver Sheen'
I live in Northridge, CA which is located in the San...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™