Help Identify Insect + Ants Question

saleveneApril 7, 2014

Hi All,

I noticed these insects on my plants the other day... at one point, there was like 5 of them hovering around the same spot on the plan. After I removed them, it looked like they were slowly chewing into the stem (look just below the "V" at the top)

Also, I noticed there are tons of ants around my plant (they seem to prefer one over the other 3). Do they cause harm?

If either of these scenarios are bad, what do you recommend I do to get rid of either or both?

Thanks in advance!

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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

I dont know what the first bug is but if you see lots of ants then they are possibly farming aphids on your plant. Look under the leaves of the plant that has all the ant traffic. They like to eat the aphid honeydew they excrete while they drain your plants of life. they will also protect and move your aphids to other plants. Good luck Ive already started battling aphids in my neck of the woods.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 5:20PM
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If they're fire ants, then they're after other insects or the moisture in your plants. Not knowing what your zone or location is makes it hard to figure out what is goin' on...

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 5:39PM
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I don't see it. Maybe kill one and take a close up.

As far as the ants are concerned, most likely, like flipback mentioned, farming aphids. Solutions--- First, identify aphids!

If so, 1) plant flowers and/or herbs that will attract beneficials like ladybugs and lacewings(take care of ant problem first as they'll scare off the beneficials-- boric acid baits can help in some cases. 2) spray the undersides of leaves with a spray nozzle of water every 3 days or so until populations decrease.
3) if still pretty high populations, do the same with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Then once a week or 2 for control after that.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:16PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

They are stink bugs. The same color green as the plant. That's why they are hard to see. They fly when I try to kill them. I put a piece of rolled up duct tape on the end of a long bamboo stake and dab them off and then step on them. They will eat your leaves.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:21PM
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To me the first one looks like a leaf hopper. Agree with the ants they are most likely there because of aphids. I sprinkle cinnamon around the base of the plant or if in pots also around the base of the pot, ants hate cinnamon and its the nicest way to get rid of them. Also getting rid of the aphids the ants snack source will help drive the ants away. I squish them by hand but most use soaps.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:05PM
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Thanks all for the advice.

Kevin - if you look at the first picture, by the "V", you will see it... Unfortunately I can only tend to the garden once a week (its at my in-laws house), but I'll take a look on Friday and report back. Would it do any harm to spray with neem oil to take some precaution?

I'll also see what I can find around here to take care of the ant problem, but I think it might be difficult to contain completely. To be honest, as long as I can remember, there have been ants in this little garden...

The good news is that there are tons of flowers around (not right next to the garden, but within the vicinity) and I've seen lady-buds on the plants before.

zackey - I'm not sure they are stink bugs, I checked photos on the web and this one looks slightly different.... I'm gonna head over to a nursery and see if they can identify it (I'm based in Colombia in South America) and report back.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Still not seeing

Here's a general rule I learned last year though. If congregating in herds, then most likely a bad bag or neutral. Ifthey're loners, most likely predators(good).

Of course, there's always exception to the rule.

Exactly which V or Y, and what color is it?

Neem is low impact, so shouldn't be a problem. But the very 1st rule of pest control is always IDENTIFY FIRST.



    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:38PM
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Looks like Leaf Hopper to me.

They don't do as much damage compared to the diseases they spread.

Neem never did much for me on any bug problems...

Try these guys for leaf miners.

I used Aphid wasps SEVERAL years ago and haven't seen an Aphid since that wasn't without an egg laid in it by a wasp.
Wasps are about the size of gnats.

I think there were a couple varieties of Aphid Wasps.

Your climate is close to mine in S.Ca.
I'd guess if you found a supplier for the good guys that will ship stuff to you,you will have ended you bug problems for aphids and leaf miners forever.

Terro ant bait is the best Borax bait I've ever used.
I've placed a couple different companies baits close together and ants like the terro best.
It works best,I assume it is because whatever they add to the Borax/Boric acid that makes a difference.

I tried some of the recipes online that are boric acid or borax powder added to a sugar of some kind.= (sugar,molases or?).
None work like The Terro stuff does.
Maybe it has stuff in it that gets the ants that like sugar AND other stuff that ants eat too.

Use the search on Tip top to find what you want if you don't want to copy/paste links.

Once you know a supplier near you or that you can deal with,go for it.

The tip Top Tech info is GREAT,wether you buy from them or not.
They are a local company for me,close by.

I sugest you use their data and then go from their...buying from the garden site here might be too expensive for you.
There is probably a local supplier for your needs near you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bio control

This post was edited by smokemaster_2007 on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 22:24

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:14PM
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Kevin - lol, its in the first picture. Look at the shaft, leading straight up to the "Y"... its right there, green. If I do go with neem oil, do I just spray 100% neem oil, or do I mix it with something?

Smokemaster - wow, had to read this a few times, but super helpful, all of this info! First off, will definitely kill those leaf hoppers as I see them!

Secondly, I don't know if Colombia would like me importing different insects (lol!), so not sure I can buy from tiptop, but if I was back in the states, I definitely would. I think it will be tough for me to find similar products, but I'll see what I can find. I will definitely buy the terro ant killer though next time I'm back in the US and bring it back with me. Can you send me an example of the one you bought and put in your garden to combat the ants? There are a lot of varieties and I'm interested to see what worked for you.

Also, if you could resend the link for leaf miners, I'm interested to read what is used to combat them (though I don't think I have that problem... yet).

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:44PM
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For Kevin so you don't feel left out

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:58PM
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dup post

This post was edited by habjolokia on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 22:01

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:59PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It's a buffalo tree hopper and the ants are attracted to the large amounts of sugary excrement they make. Ants don't always mean aphids.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:12PM
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I see it now Mark...LOL I thought thats what I was looking at but wasn't sure if it wasn't a bud wrapping around the stalk.

Salavene: listen to rhizo1-- there's been only ONE time that I've stumped her with insect I.D.

So, unless you see aphids, no neem. And as far as dilution, not sure what you get there is the same as we have here -- we usually buy a concentrate of 70% and dilute it 2-4 TB/gal.

Not to dispute smokemaster, but he must have wussy ants compared to mine although there's only about 120 miles between us. i tried the Terro last year and they would eat the bait, but i never got rid of them. Somebody else recommended the Amdro stuff, so I'll probably try that this year. TipTop has everything one needs for an IPM prog though. I just wish they were down the road from me like smokemaster.

Click on the link.


Here is a link that might be useful: UC IPM Buffalo Treehopper

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:28PM
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Kevin/rhizo - It definitely looks like a Buffalo Treehopper, but it seems slightly different. It doesn't seem to have that clear part to the body (kinda like a fly's wings) that you see in the pics. I'll try to identify it here and report back...

I would like an IPM program as well, all about going after it the natural way... seems like a really interesting company.

Why don't you get stuff shipped from them or even drive? 120 miles... you can do that roundtrip in an afternoon!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:36PM
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Salavene: Might be just a simple case of subspecies or nymph stage.

No sense in buying the insects if you don't plant flowers to keep them around reproducing. Actually, if you make the garden diverse enough, you can attract most yourself without buying.

I have ordered online (but from different place than TipTop) a couple years ago, ladybugs; and last year, lacewings. Now I see both in my garden this spring. :D But it's the flowers I've planted that I attribute to them being there NOW.

LMAO, obviously you've never driven in L.A. It takes a good 2 hours just to get from one end to the other in the daytime. I used to have to leave San Diego at 3:30 a.m. just to get where he's at by 7 a.m!


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:06PM
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Whoohoo wasn't messing with you.OR ME.

We both kinda know each other.

I fished a LOT out of Sandy Eggo.
Whoohoo just likes growing peppers as I do.

He is putting the ride from Sandy Eggo to the Valley(or L.A.) as a 2 hour ride-ya if you can fly-Try 3 hr. min. and closer to 3 1/2 - 4 hrs. driven to the docks.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:22AM
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Hey all, so in the end, it just turns out that there was a lot of ants and those buffalo treehoppers (which I took are care best I could).

However, on my other plant at home, I noticed these tiny little insects and I'm having trouble identifying them. They are only on the top of the leaves or on the buds of the peppers and seem to leave some sort of clear excretion behind.

Here are some pics, did my best to capture them:

(on the leaf):

(here you can see it on the one pod that is focused in on:)

(unfocused, but they are on the pod just north of the big one hanging down:)

(another pic, mostly to show the excretion they leave behind.. its shiny)

Thanks in advance for any insight!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 2:34PM
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Ok, finally got a good few pics!

This post was edited by salevene on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 16:19

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:00PM
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Once again, I see nothing. LOL Might be aphids or some other soft-bodied insects. Do some water treatments like I've mentioned in the past and see if that helps.

Any way of circling in Photoshop or MSPaint? Or mark with a sticker in photobucket.... click edit, then stickers, scroll through stickers.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:29PM
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jutsFL(9b (Orlando))

Woohoo, it is really hard to see these.... But I found them in the last pic.

Unfortunately Salevene, you definitely have aphids on you plant.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:16PM
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jutsFL(9b (Orlando))

Here you go Kevin, I enhanced it a bit and circled 'em for ya.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:53AM
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Yep. Aphids.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:46AM
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Thanks for helping me identify them. Tonight I started removing them by hand and tomorrow I'll go buy a spray bottle and make some insecticidal spray wiry dawn dishwashing soap.

This one seems to be a difficult one... It was the transplant that had all the dropped pods. It's finally started to produce again so I hope to resolve this quick and have some good pics for you soon!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 12:30AM
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Salavene: you don't want to use Dawn. Or anything that says detergent. You want something that's PURE soap. Fels naptha, Dr.Bronner's castile soap, Ivory, etc. Look for the ingredients Sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, etc. These are the fatty acids that kill them. Apply at dusk, rinse off in the morning. Also, don't make your concoction more than 2% soap to water. 1% should be sufficient. Treat every 3-4 days a week for about 2 weeks until populations decrease.

Simple water blasts should be sufficient for minor infestations.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 3:03AM
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Thanks Kevin. So far I wasn't able to find the right soap, but did find a really powerful spray. I'll see if I can keep them at bay with just water for now and continue to look for a pure soap (I found one, but it also contained glycolic acid and salicylic acid so I decided to go against it.

I'll report back in due time.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:36PM
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