Ants? Ants??! Really??

mulesknrJuly 26, 2011

So after doing battle with squash bugs and vine borers on the squash, blister beetles on the tomatoes. I go out tonight to find ants on my sweet peppers. Ants??? Swarming 2 of the plants. For petes sake, what else???

I've just never seen this one before. Any suggestions?

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Ants may or may not be a problem.

Often, ants are farming/herding aphids because they like the honeydew secreted by the aphids, so the first thing I'd do is check the back of the leaves for aphids. If aphids are on the backs of the leaves, you can knock them off with a strong stream of water from the hose.

If the ants don't appear to be doing any damage and the plants are healthy, I wouldn't worry about them. Sometimes ants help with pollination by crawling in and out of the flowers.

Finally, I find it significant they're on the sweet peppers. Sweet peppers contain at least two things ants like/need: sucrose and water. You might be able to draw the ants away from the plants by putting out a shallow pan of water.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:02PM
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soonergrandmom

I had a small tomato that had cracked on the vine today and the crack was covered with ants. My air conditioner always pulls quite a lot of moisture out of the house and it runs out on the ground. The ants have built ant hills in the wet soil where it stays damp but doesn't have standing water.

I was getting so many ants inside my house that they were driving me crazy. Finally I tried Terro and that ended that problem. I'll share the outside with them, but they can't come inside.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:22PM
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mulesknr

Just about everything in the garden has a few ants, a few don't bother me. When I can't see the leaves because they're covered with a layer of ants... Well, thats pretty bothersome. :)

The plants are as healthy as they can be with the heat, bushy, green and moderately producing. I didn't think to look at the backs of the leaves so I'll take a look in the morning.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:28PM
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slowpoke_gardener

I have had a much larger supply of ants this year, even in the house. They are a lot in the garden but I cant see any damage they are doing.

Larry

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:05PM
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mwilk42(7)

I have seen more cow ants this year than any year I can remember.
mo

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:18PM
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tigerdawn(7)

What is terro?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:25PM
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kfrinkle

I get tons of the little black ants all over my okra plants. Sometimes they cover the newly formed okra pods so much that they end up making them deformed and curled. There are no other bugs on my okra plants right now though. I think the aphids have all but curled up and died or headed over to the cucumber plants. I too am thinking the ants just want to water or sugar.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:54PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Tigerdawn,

Terro is a brand name of an ant bait. I think it contains borax and sugar. Usually you can find the ant bait traps wherever the row of indoor pesticides are in the grocry store. At our Wal-mart, the ant bait traps are on one end of the aisle that has cleaning supplies.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Terro

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 2:54PM
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tracydr(9b)

I have ants and aphids on my okra but it doesnt seem to be hurting them. Ants are always on my eggplants. I get so sick of these little desert fire ants but I'm thankful they aren't the imported fire ants which are so much more agressive.
I was using diamectacous earth but finally gave up and went to amdro a few weeks and because the DE kept getting wet and then it wouldnt work.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 7:45PM
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redding

I haven't seen them in my garden this year, but several people have complained about them swarming into houses, looking for water. My daughter found the toilet bowl at her patient's home absolutely covered with them. It was a solid black mat of ants . . . . and it was really quite clean to begin with. They got rid of the ants, scrubbed it down completely, and within hours the ants were right back again.

It seems that anyplace where they can find water is drawing them in. Kitchens, bathrooms, around watering troughs for stock, dog's water dishes, poultry waterers, and anything that might be wet at all. It's an indication of just what a dry year we really are having.

Pat

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 7:57PM
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mulesknr

I went out tonight, no ants, just a sign that said "too hot, we're going north to cooler weather, see you next spring". I didn't see any sign of aphids, which I was really expecting to.

I'm not seeing any in the house, haven't since last spring but I'm pretty sure they are out there hiding under the mulch.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 8:04PM
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soonergrandmom

tigerdawn - As Dawn said, it is an ant bait. A few will crawl into the little hotel and die but others will take it back to the hill. It worked amazingly well for me.

There is an indoor type and an outdoor type, but in our store both of them are in the garden shop.

We have lots of ant problems here so I was very glad to find Terro. We recently got new kitchen cabinets and when they removed the old ones, there were little tunnels behind the cabinets. At first we thought it was termites but there were no signs of termite damage. We sprayed it down, then sprayed bleach back there before installing the new cabinets. For the next two weeks, I fought ants everyday so I knew we had disturbed their hiding place although we hadn't seen ants at the time. I tried several things before I discovered Terro. One of my neighbors had used it and told me where to find it.

Our area seems to get a lot of ants and spiders. Almost everyone I know here powerwashes the outside of their house at least once a year to remove spider webs.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 9:41PM
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