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Offlineethno3
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Ants and Plants
    #11445462 - 11/13/09 01:53 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

So i moved my Psychotria Viridis, Psychotria Alba and B Caapi outside in the green house for the summer and i've notice over the past few weeks some ants have decided to make a home in the plants.

They have been moving soil, sand and perlite into the branches to make a nest.

I know the ants are good for eating aphids but I'm wondering if it's going to affect the growth of the plants in any way.











And also my Psychotria Alba is starting to flower and the ants seem to be feeding off the flowers will this affect it putting out berries at all?







Thanks.


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Invisiblekarode13M
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: ethno3]
    #11445589 - 11/13/09 02:24 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Ok for starters ants do not eat aphids, they eat their poo. :yesnod:

Aphids are not able to process the plant sugars that they get while sucking the sap out of the plant, so it is just secreted in their scat(poo) as a sticky-sugary substance. The ants, as we all know, love sweet stuff and will hunt it out with uncanny ability.


Once they get a whiff of that sweet goodness, they just continue to use it as a food source and in fact protect the aphids by removing any predators that could harm the aphid.


Also, the ants you appear to have there are different to the usual ant we all know. These ones could be arboreal, which means they build nests in trees and on branches as opposed to under the ground or in hollow logs/cavities. They use bits of leaves and twigs to build, using saliva or fine silk from larvae.

Are the ants living in the soil as well?

Looks to me like you have an aphid problem and a symptom of this is the ants setting up house. I would get rid of those aphids and disturb the ant nests and they could just leave.


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Offlineethno3
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: karode13]
    #11445633 - 11/13/09 02:39 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

karode13 said:


Are the ants living in the soil as well?

Looks to me like you have an aphid problem and a symptom of this is the ants setting up house. I would get rid of those aphids and disturb the ant nests and they could just leave.




Yes the ants are living in the soil as well there are ant holes in the soil at the base of the plants.

There isn't a big problem with aphids i use oil to get rid of them and I've been shaking the plants everyday to disturb the nest but they keep rebuilding them.

If there not going to affect the plant growth i don't mind leaving them.


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Invisiblekarode13M
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: ethno3]
    #11445712 - 11/13/09 03:06 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

If they are living in the soil as well I would get rid of them. They will only displace the soil and create air pockets as the colony gets larger. They will damage roots which could lead to infection and such too.

To get rid of ants I drown them in water. Just soak the pot in the bathtub or something similar, fill with water up to the top of the soil line and leave for a few hours then remove, it's up to you though. :shrug:


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OfflineCactusdan
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: karode13]
    #11445755 - 11/13/09 03:20 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

It kinda looks like they're farming Mealy Bugs.


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Offlineethno3
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: karode13]
    #11445770 - 11/13/09 03:24 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Yeah I'm going to get rid of them, some of the holes are getting pretty big and the colony appears to be getting bigger.

I might consider re potting the plants because I'm not happy with the soil anyway, i think it needs more peat moss.

That or I'll just drown them all.

Thanks for the reply :thumbup:


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Offlineethno3
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: Cactusdan]
    #11445800 - 11/13/09 03:32 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Yeah I've had alot of problems with Scale, Aphids, Fungas Gnats, so it wouldn't surprise me if a had a Mealy Bug problem aswell.

Its getting dark now so I'll take a closer look tomorrow.


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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: ethno3]
    #11445897 - 11/13/09 03:59 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Yeah they are definitely under attack.

Squash/scrape all the visible pests and then spray the top and bottom of the leaves every few days until they look right.:thumbup: Good luck!


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OfflinetheMallacht
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: karode13]
    #11447372 - 11/13/09 01:45 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Also, worm tea if you have some or know someone who is a vermicomposter (worm farmer) is a GREAT foliar spray as well as a natural insect repellent.


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Invisibledanielx
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: karode13]
    #11448934 - 11/13/09 06:20 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

karode13 said:
If they are living in the soil as well I would get rid of them. They will only displace the soil and create air pockets as the colony gets larger. They will damage roots which could lead to infection and such too.

To get rid of ants I drown them in water. Just soak the pot in the bathtub or something similar, fill with water up to the top of the soil line and leave for a few hours then remove, it's up to you though. :shrug:




air pockets are good. It aerates the soil much like earth worms do. I never fuck with nature, they are there for a reason. getting rid of the mostly benign ants could bring other problems.

just my opinion, im in no way an expert in insects; do what you feel is best.


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OfflineHarveyWalbanger
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: danielx]
    #11449671 - 11/13/09 08:25 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Ants are my single biggest gardening hazard. They're so invasive here that my trichs are growing in a sturdy clay based soil rather than a more free draining medium.

I'm in a fairly desert like climate, and the sheer precence of water in the area sends out a beacon to homeless bugs.  Most of them are tolerable, but ants take over the entire pot rapidly if you let them.

while I've never lost anything as hardy as a trich, or a tree; I do lose alot of herbs, spices, and other small shrubbery.  Poppies get slaughtered mercilessly alot of times.


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Invisibledanielx
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: HarveyWalbanger]
    #11449795 - 11/13/09 08:48 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

how do they harm the plants? Maybe ive just never experienced it since there is plenty of rain here.


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Invisiblenitelife
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: danielx]
    #11450253 - 11/13/09 10:01 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

The worst way I could see them hurting the plants is making a colony in the soil and totaly swarming the roots... They would either aerate the soil really good or suffocate the roots and kill the plant.


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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: danielx]
    #11451852 - 11/14/09 03:53 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

danielx said:
how do they harm the plants? Maybe ive just never experienced it since there is plenty of rain here.





They indirectly harm the plants if living in the soil and damaging the roots as they expand their nest, this can lead to secondary infections. It's not so bad in the open ground but when you have it in a prized potted specimen and then compound that by having it in an enclosed area the damage done can quickly get out of hand.


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Offlinefelixhigh
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: ethno3]
    #11453220 - 11/14/09 01:12 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Kill those ants, they're farming aphids on your plants.


FH


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OfflineHarveyWalbanger
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: danielx]
    #11453796 - 11/14/09 03:17 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

First, a glimpse of the enemy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_imported_fire_ant


Their worst tendancy is the swarming.  They multiply stupidly fast, they have no predators except me, and they don't die out over winter (not cold enough).


Now, think annual plants.  Annual plants really only get one swing at life, flowering, and passing on their genes.  If an ant colony disrupts this,  ..well, you get the idea.


EDIT:  I forgot to mention their out-competing the native ants as well.  They really are invasive pests.


Edited by HarveyWalbanger (11/14/09 07:32 PM)


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Invisibledanielx
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: HarveyWalbanger]
    #11454103 - 11/14/09 04:07 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

holy shit I see what you mean. those ants are monsters compared to our native ants here. :eek:


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OfflineBooby
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Re: Ants and Plants [Re: HarveyWalbanger]
    #11535882 - 11/27/09 07:03 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Oldtimers used cucumber peelings on ant hills. I used fresh peelings on a fire ant hill with success, altho the article i read specified dried.


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