Author Topic: Ants, to kill or not to Kill  (Read 29092 times)

FlyingFoxFruits

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Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« on: November 10, 2012, 06:36:59 PM »
Sometimes there's no question, the ants must die!

But I've noticed that they don't harm certain plants if allowed to live on the tree or in the pot.

They have certain benefits.

-the queen and all of the ants have antibacterial and anti fungal properties!
- they may help trees with poor soil biology compatibility, (especially some from South America!)
- they may aid in pollenation
- they may alter or stabalize ph
- the colony may increase soil temp during a freeze, about the roots!
- Ants quickly break down organic materials, possibly acting as a catalyst in making them plant available.
- they do not have intentions of killing your tree!
- they simply want to share the bounty that your tree has to offer! (sugar, proteins, habitat/shelter)

- sometimes it can work out, and there is enough food produced by the plant for everyone(ants, birds, friends, and you!)

- sometimes this natural symbiosis (microcosm) results in a healthy tree, with no pesticides, and more resistance to disease, less costs to maintain, with ample crops of fruit.

Most of the benefits listed above are just my personal beliefs and theories!


I've decided to let them live, until they start really bothering my plants, but here are a few that have no problem with ants, and may even like their presence!  believe it or not! Aphids and scales included! 

Most Annonas!
Most Plinia/Myrciaria!
Most Sapotaceous sp! (canistel, sapodilla, mamey, ross sapote, abiu)
Moringa (actually has glands to attract ants!)
Most Eugenias (at least the ones I've grown, Brazliian)
Most Garcinias
Amazon tree grape!(they are friends with ants)
Inga sp! (they are friends with ants)
Loquat
Dragon Fruit

a few more plants I think don't mind,
Acerola?
Wampi?
White Sapote?
Avocado?
Mulberry?
Jackfruit? (now I might be pushing it...but I don't recall ants being a problem on any of these!)



I'm sure there's more, but I can't think of them now!

I'm certain we can think of some more plants that aren't harmed by ants, and reasons why they should be allowed to live (along with aphids even!).

I'm also sure we can think of a large number of plants that hate ants, aphids, scale, and sooty mold...and about a million reasons and ways to kill them!

I'm for both!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 06:41:10 PM by ASaffron »
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nullzero

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2012, 09:28:40 PM »
I let them live, I have never had a major problem with ants on the fruit trees. However, ants have devastated the corn crop one year (due to aphid mining). I believe the ants are most likely beneficial, so I leave them be. They have nested in several of the container plants. One of the best benefits I think, is the increased aeration and protective shield the ants can give to the tree (with insects that they don't farm!).
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

huertasurbanas

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 10:29:32 PM »
Hi, nice subject

some ants had killed one nice guajava sprout... so I moved the pot to another site.

also, i included rice, see:

http://www.huertasurbanas.com/2012/11/01/hormigas-peleandose-por-el-arroz/

Thanks for the list of benefits, did not know them.

I am a follower of Fukuoka and natural farming, so for me the concept of "pests" not really exist and that may be beneficial: is familiar to me.

But the reality is that this year ants (big black) almost killed an apricot, then I had to put protections, diverting attention by putting rice and a plastic in the trunk preventing their rise.

bangkok

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2012, 01:12:12 AM »
I just removed a nest of weaver ants in my mango-tree. After that i found our that they are very usefull for protection against bugs. Now i m looking for a nest to place it back in the tree but i have to find a way to move the nest without getting bitten. :P

luc

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 12:32:13 PM »
For me they gotta go but it is a lost battle.
They constantly defoliate some of my trees , Phillantus acidus , Bilimbi , Kaffir lime , Ilang Ilang , my 2 Santols died because of ants ( I think )
The only ones I welcome once in a while are they army ants , they will clean the whole place of scorpions , cockroaches etc....
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JeffDM

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2012, 05:10:09 PM »
I have to deal with the Argentine ant colony in San Diego which is part of the "California large" colony described in this Wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_ant
I routinely spray insecticide and dust with ant powder to maintain a defensive perimeter around my house, but still get several invasions each year.  They cannot be defeated, but they can be controlled a bit.
I don't allow them to set up colonies in my potted plants or hanging plants and I'm very careful about letting any plants come in contact with the exterior of my house.
I'm always amazed when I see the trails they have worn down in spots of bare ground - just like little super highways.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 05:12:18 PM by JeffDM »

NewGen

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2012, 05:16:02 PM »
I have ants all throughout my yard, nothing I can do about it. But for certain potted trees, I place some Tangle Foot around the trunk, and voila, no more ants. I found that if they can't climb onto the branches/leaves they usually leave the container as well.

FlyingFoxFruits

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2012, 06:02:48 PM »
I heard if you sufficiently cover the mound with baking soda, it will suffocate the ants?  With CO2?

maybe I'm crazy?  but I think the ants might be acidic (formic acid by defense) in nature, and cause reaction of deadly proportions when combined with sodium bicarbonate.

also might hurt a tree, with alkalinity, and salt as byproducts!  so be careful if you try this.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 06:05:22 PM by ASaffron »
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natsgarden123

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2012, 06:58:06 PM »
Coincidental that this thread is here;  My Sapodilla has been invaded by a bunch of huge red ants, carpenter ants I think.   THEY have to go.  I am wondering if they have a colony in the mulch. Does anyone have any experience with Florida carpenter ants ?  I just noticed the problem today...

FlyingFoxFruits

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2012, 08:28:20 PM »
Coincidental that this thread is here;  My Sapodilla has been invaded by a bunch of huge red ants, carpenter ants I think.   THEY have to go.  I am wondering if they have a colony in the mulch. Does anyone have any experience with Florida carpenter ants ?  I just noticed the problem today...

ya, they love sapotaceous trees.

I think we used merit to kill them on our miracle fruit plants.

there's other ways to kill them!

borax and soap!

but be careful you don't accidentally kill a dog or bird!

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Soren

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 01:19:05 AM »
As mentioned their impact on the fruit trees depends on the species, to mention a few;

Garden ants (Lasius spp.) and several other genus (e.g. Formica spp.) farms aphids for the honeydew and the garden ants do eat fruits like my Eugenia uniflora. They are generally not beneficial to the tree even though they will usually take other prey species like caterpillars.
Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) protects the trees and have been used as organic pest control (have posted a link somewhere on the forum).
Leaf cutting ants (Acromyrmex spp. and Atta spp.) do remove leaves and should therefore be considered a pest.
The group of army ants normally remove pests but are not easy to coexist with.

True, some ants do pollination to some extent but in general - keep the garden ants and leaf cutters away - ants can't usually control aphid populations being predatory generalists, but parasitoids can and predatory ants will take them as well if they get the chance.
I don't have tanglefoot available here in Uganda but it seems as the perfect tool to keep the ants away.
Sřren
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bangkok

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 05:26:50 AM »
In the past i got them away with feeding them dry yeast mixed with fruit-jam. They like to eat it and it kills them.

My flowering mangotree is also full of ants now but i dont see the problem yet. I had the mango leaf-cutting weevil  ( Deporaus marginatus ) who ate my new flushing grafts but i sprayed something against them today.



Dangermouse01

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2012, 09:53:07 AM »

huertasurbanas

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2012, 09:58:14 AM »
Oh, fun... I just dont understand how they did aphid farming, I filmed a bit and they seem to move the antennas touching the aphids... did they included the aphids there in the lemon leaf? or where the aphids ther before they arrived?

tabbydan

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2012, 10:51:03 AM »
Oh, fun... I just dont understand how they did aphid farming, I filmed a bit and they seem to move the antennas touching the aphids... did they included the aphids there in the lemon leaf? or where the aphids ther before they arrived?

They protect the aphids, and in exchange they get to eat up the waste of the aphids (that has sugar in it).  That is definitely a situation to eradicate them for (because the aphids are drinking up the sap of your plant and making it weaker).

Usually all they do with my plants is setup nests at the bottom of the container, they may damage the roots slightly but I usually don't try to eradicate them unless I'm bringing the plants inside.
What's that got to do with Jose Andres $10 brussel sprouts?

Slopfog

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 09:18:38 PM »
All it takes to get me really mad is for me to see a flush of new leaves out of a tree all curled and twisty due to aphids/scales and their ant buddies.  if that happens we're going to war.  I find a honey and borax mixture very effective for the ants.


Soren

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2012, 06:54:32 AM »
All it takes to get me really mad is for me to see a flush of new leaves out of a tree all curled and twisty due to aphids/scales and their ant buddies.  if that happens we're going to war.  I find a honey and borax mixture very effective for the ants.

Exactly, remove the farming ants and the aphids will be without protection from predators
Sřren
Kampala, Uganda

fyliu

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2012, 04:08:50 PM »
Oh, fun... I just dont understand how they did aphid farming, I filmed a bit and they seem to move the antennas touching the aphids... did they included the aphids there in the lemon leaf? or where the aphids ther before they arrived?
Stroking the aphids actually makes them produce nectar faster. Maybe it's a signal that they're under protection. Ants are really actively farming the aphids.

natsgarden123

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2012, 09:29:56 AM »
Sprayed the tree and mulch with SEVEN and the ants are gone. I hated to do that but the soap didnt help at all.   

FlyingFoxFruits

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2012, 11:56:14 AM »
ever notice aphids that wiggle all at once, in intervals?

like they are working together to draw more of the plants juices at once?

it's very strange, I've seen them do this like a synchronized dance.
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fyliu

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2012, 01:16:59 PM »
Yeah it's like they're doing the wave. I thought they might be reacting to a light breeze, trying to get fresh air.

FlyingFoxFruits

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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2012, 04:09:18 PM »
Yeah it's like they're doing the wave. I thought they might be reacting to a light breeze, trying to get fresh air.

aha!

I'm not crazy!

and now I've found a fellow bug loving forum member.

you gave yourself away by confirming my observations.

most would have just killed them without pausing to look at their behavior.

LoL
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Re: Ants, to kill or not to Kill
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2012, 06:52:08 PM »
Foe fire ant control in the lawn I lay down dry molasses from the feed store.  Its my understanding that fire ants are protein eaters and avoid sugar.  Its worked very well this year.

 

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