Ants

jay733June 2, 2010

I see little tiny black ants on my hummingbird plants where the nectar is. What can I do to remove them? Also my flower bed is full of ants, the bigger types. Anything I can do to eliminate them without harming the plants or deterring the hummingbirds?

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hummersteve

jay

That must be some sweet nectar to draw the ants, Id like to know what plants you are referring to. Are the ants at the nectar doing any damage if not do nothing. When the hummers go in to get nectar they can also get their protein in the form of ants. Hummers need small insects such as ants, small spiders and knats to fullfill their protein needs. I have peonies to draw insects for hummers to feed on such as ants and knats. Im not sure about the larger ants, again are they doing damage, if not do nothing. Or you might put something sweet outside of your flower bed to draw them out.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 8:06PM
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jay733

Well they are on my firecracker plant and on the butterfly weed. I haven't seen any plant damage, but I'm just worried that they will not leave enough nectar for my hummingbirds. The larger ants aren't doing any damage either, they mostly on the soil but there is a lot of them and kind of worried of an infestation especially since I"m still going to plant more flowers in the bed.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 11:30PM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

I always get ants on my cuphea...doesn't seem to bother the hummers too much. And like Steve said, hummers will eat ants sometimes. Ants are a part of life when you have nectar-rich flowers, and a necessary part of any healthy garden. Unless you have an unusually heavy ant population, I wouldn't worry about it on plants (feeders, yes).

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 8:40PM
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jay733

Thanks for replies, what about the bigger ants on the ground is there anything I can use that's safe for my flowers?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 12:15AM
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jay733

mbuckmaster, I seem to have a lot of the small ants in the flowers, I would say about 3-4 on each tube blossom. Do you have this too? Since they are the only plants I have, I'm worried they'll drink all the nectar.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 7:57AM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

Drinking all the nectar might be a problem, but most nectaring plants usually replenish fairly rapidly. Do the hummers still use them?

You can always kill the ants if you really want to...but I live and let live myself. Certainly if you try to use some sort of insecticide, don't use it on the flowers themselves--it might hurt the hummers.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 3:53PM
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jay733

I don't know if they are or not, so wondering what your situation is like since you say your hummers still drink from them. I don't know if they are drinking all the nectar or not because I haven't had any hummers visit me or had any butterflies stop either. I'm thinking the dry stuff you put in the soil to kill ants would be good? I know this will kill the ants on the soil but also kill the small ants in the plants or stop them from climbing up there? I heard of placing ginger near the plants, does this even work?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 12:25AM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

Well, ants hate bay leaves; you could try that. Don't know about ginger. The little ants don't bother my hummers...ants and birds alike are all over the cuphea and pentas. I only worry about ants in the garden if they're fire ants or on my feeders. Sorry I couldn't be of any help; good luck!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 5:20PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Ants are a part of life when you have nectar-rich flowers, "and a necessary part of any healthy garden"

I wouldn't go that far! Some ants farm plant pests like aphids and scale insects. They are not a healthy addition to the garden.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 10:49PM
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