Ants in the garden

Discussion in 'Plant Pests, Diseases and Weeds' started by CJay, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. CJay

    CJay In Flower

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    So I went out to do a little weeding and found several colonies of ants. From the bit of reading I've done I'm getting mixed reviews. Some folks are saying that they're actually beneficial to the garden as they eat some of the bugs that are dangerous to plants and yet others that say they should be exterminated immediately.

    So. Halp
     
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  3. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    depends on what kind they are, I suppose where you are though, there are no fire ants to worry over. Ants are more annoying than harmful in the garden. they bite if you disturb them, kneel on their nest, pull out weeds growing around the nest and out they will swarm... they are just mean defending their nest and the bites are painful. so, do what you want with them. If you find them on a plant they probably are guarding a colony of aphids and will literally jump on you to defend those too. they eat the sweet nectar like substance aphids secrete.
     
  4. CJay

    CJay In Flower

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    I read that. But I also read that by them digging their colonies they expose the roots to air which helps them grow. And loosens soil so the roots can expand faster and farther.

    Yes and bite suck. But you're right. No fire ants here that I know of. We had them in NC. They were mean little buggers.
     
  5. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I let the ants in my garden do their own thing. They don't seem to cause any problems and the birds love snacking on them.
     



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  6. CJay

    CJay In Flower

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    Ok. I'll try letting them be then.

    Thanks guys.
     
  7. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    Most of the time you can ignore garden ants. On the list of ants not to ignore are the carpenter ants. So if you find them near your the house they may indicate a potential problem. So you should at least be aware of what carpenter ants look like. Observation is the best defense.

    On the lighter side ants can be entertaining :) I posted this several years ago.

    http://www.gardenstew.com/blog/e109...ants-home-a-back-yard-science-experiment.html

    Jerry
     
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  8. Sherry8

    Sherry8 I Love Birds!

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    On the side of our house when I was digging....they started climbing all over my legs so I ran into the garage and took my jeans off. They did bite me. I didn't want to run into the house for fear of getting them in there. I should of ran for the shower but I didn't think of it fast enough...all I wanted to do was get them off of me fast.
     
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  9. CJay

    CJay In Flower

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    Thanks for the responses guys.

    So. I wasn't as infested with ants a I thought. Yes there are ants in the garden. Yes they are good ants.

    What I had never seen before is worms making ant holes.

    My grandmother came over after she heard the news I posted in the other thread and I was in the garden. She was absolutely ecstatic over the worm activity there.

    So yeah. I'm kind of stupid sometimes.
     
  10. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Worms are a gardeners friend!!! They aerate the soil, even the black clay I have here.

    Oh, and if you start finding caterpillars on your plants post a photo here so we can help ID them for you. Those are future butterflies and moths which are both great pollinators so you don't want to start squishing them until you know for sure if they are good guys....there are some like the hornworm that will attack tomatoes but for the most part they are good guys.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
  11. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    no, you are not. Stupid is "knowing" you don't know and acting like you do and making a big mess even bigger and then denying you did it.
     
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  12. margie12u

    margie12u In Flower

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    i was getting ready to plant in a new smaller garden i made it had a couple of roses in it from last year, all my other roses were cĂ´ming up and these werent , i just knew they were dead so i was going to dig them up and noticed the roots were entirely gone and fire ants were every where i mean millions of them in the whole garden, i cant plant anything in there till i get rid of them, they have taken over my entire little garden, i was so excited to get started on that bed , i had put white picket fences behind it and was going to put flowers in front of it. if you all could please help! thank you margie
     
  13. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Garden centers usually carry a product called Ortho Fire Ant Killer. It is a while powder that you sprinkle on the area where you find the ants and on the ants themselves if you see them around the garden. It doesn't harm plants, don't know about dogs or cats, but the ants will carry it back to the Queen and it kills her along with the whole family. I keep at least one container in each garden area so I can use it as soon as I find a bed of them...otherwise they might have a chance to disappear underground before you get back with the powder.
     
  14. kate

    kate In Flower

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    I had them in my house last year, it took me ages to kill them off. They were on windows, and furniture. Hope the new cement prevents an episode this year. I knew were they where coming from which is half the battle.
    K
     
  15. Kevin Dunagan

    Kevin Dunagan New Seed

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    Yes, ants can damage your plants as well as your garden area. It is very important that you should locate the nest and create a solid game plan for wiping them out.
    If you would like to get rid of ants you need to use boric powder or you can use food to repel ants is to sprinkle some Cream of Wheat around.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2018
  16. Vincent Rosas

    Vincent Rosas New Seed

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    Ants play a very important role in the ecology of your garden for good and for not so good. Folks are right. Not all insects are pests. There are a number of species we refer to as beneficial insects that could help eliminate and control pests that do a great deal of damage to our beautiful gardens and lawns. Like garden ant can help you to kill off caterpillar.
    But, there are some ants and pests are present that can damage your garden leaves and plants.
    If your garden is dealing with fire ant, then these ants can do a lot of damage in a garden and destroy plants by holing through its root system. At that point you can use some eco-friendly pesticides to reduce the fire ants, but be careful because some of the ants will bite you too, which can cause allergic reactions. It is best that you should consult some exterminators suffolk county ny or any other local pest controller to eliminate those fire ants.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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