ants on my young apple tree!

silkyjohnsonAugust 14, 2010

I have been growing an apple tree from seed for the past few months. Recently, ants have invaded and are on the underside of nearly every leaf, tending to the massive amount of EGGS they have laid. I am pretty worried; the lower leaves have been looking dreadful, and I'm pretty sure once those eggs hatch they will devour the remaining leaves.

What should I do? I have very little gardening experience, so I don't know how common this is.

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Not eggs. Instead, likely they're tending aphids. A harsh water spray should dispatch the aphids. Repeat as needed, every several days.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 6:14PM
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Indeed there are aphids. The ants farm the aphids just like a farmer with cows. They get honeydew from the aphids. The honeydew that the aphids secrete from sucking the juices from your tree. Get rid of the aphids and the ants will go.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 6:35AM
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Thanks for the responses. Just to be sure I'm dealing with aphids, I've uploaded a picture for you guys to check out. I'll do some googling on how to get rid of the buggers...does anyone have some personal experience to share in the meantime?

Thanks again!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 7:14PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I couldn't get your image, silky. Anybody else?

Without seeing the picture, I'm also going to vote for a bad aphid infestation. Look close and tell us: eggs don't have antennae or legs. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 10:30PM
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The link is broken, so says the message.
Ants are not your problem, although they may be a symptom of a problem. The leaves of that apple may well be infested with aphids, since ants would not lay eggs on leaves of anything, and the simplest way to get rid of them is with a sharp spray of water to knock them off the plant.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 7:01AM
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I've had aphid infest my artichokes so bad that water wouldn't work. The stupid buggers were so thick that in order to knock them off with water, I had to spray so hard that it broke the leaves. Not to mention the angry ants crawling up my boots.

That's when I went to the insecticidal soap. I would think in your situation, that may work best since your apple tree is just a seedling... you don't want to rip its leaves off with water blasting. You can get a spray bottle of it at the garden store (or hardware store) for around 5 bucks. Just remember that when dealing with aphids, they are persistent, so you must be too. Check it every day and spray it every other till they're gone, then at the first sign of reinfestation, you can get away with mechanical methods... water, q-tips, whatever works.

Oh and honeydew is just a sweet name for aphid poop.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 12:40AM
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