Ants in my Pants (Plants)

timberloin(10A)May 9, 2009

Please help, I have tiny black ants all over my cucumber plants! I know that they are not good for my plants. Can someone help me with the least (or non) toxic way possible to get rid of them? By the way, I am container gardening and my cucumbers are in 5 gallon pots. They are climbing up a fence so I can't move them.

Thanks,

Shannon

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Why do you think those ants are not good for your plants. Ants very often help us by removing some of the pest insects. Ants are more beneficial that harmful. There is no good reason to put out stuff to kill ants simply because they are there. Since ants are a part of Ma Natures recycling machine there is no reason the kill them unless they are in your house, they do belong in the garden.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:22AM
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timberloin(10A)

I don't mind them if they are doing good, I was under the impression that they suck nourishment from the plants.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:38AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Have you checked for aphids? They can be very small. Then, too, the pale green sorts are difficult to see unless you look closely.

Aphids produce honeydew -- the stuff is excreted excess sugary plant sap the aphids extract from the plant but don't need.

And honeydew is the reason ants are on your plants. They consider it delicious!

When you find the aphids, squish them or wash them off. Be cautious about using insecticidal soap; it can burn tender leaves, also leaves that are somewhat hairy.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 2:52PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Many people mistakenly believe ants are pests and that is used by pest "control" companies to their advantage. Ants can tell you if you have a problem because they will very often feed on many types of insects and their presence can be a clue that a pest is there.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:30PM
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timberloin(10A)

I think that they are eating nectar from the male and female flowers on the vines. They are congregating in the flowers and I can not see any tiny aphids...

So, if this is the issue could they actually be helping with pollination???

Again, I am not bothered by them if they are not doing harm! But, I live in south florida and we have the nastiest fire ants here---so, when I see ants I think bad!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 9:09AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Fire Ants, as I understand, are simply bad, and since they are non native people where they are need to control them. The single best place I have found to learn about them is Texas A & M since most every other source of information I have seen uses the information developed by the researchers at TAMU.
The other ants clean up our environment, working on the bits and pieces of "waste" material we through down, cleaning up the dead bodies of other insects, etc. Ants are not known to be major pollinators.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fire Ants

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 7:38AM
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