Welcome to Dr. Pool!
Ants in plants are a real problem for plant lovers. In fact, these small insects are to all intents and purposes pests and cause damage to the vegetation, both indoor and outdoor. This guide highlights the damage that ants cause, the plants most at risk and the methods to eliminate them, also in an ecological way.
An ant-infested plants: which are the most attacked?
Ants are mainly attracted by the honey secretions that cochineals and aphids leave on the soil or plants. Precisely for this reason they often affect the foliage or stems of some plants, but in a non-degenerative way for the same crops. It often happens, however, that these small insects nest in the soil and are also able to produce their own food, breeding aphids in the true sense of the word and cultivating small fungi.
As said, the most endangered plants are the garden ones, whilst the potentially poisonous plants such as geraniums, or those emitting strong aromas such as mint or eucalyptus, are almost never affected. However, it is necessary to disinfest the soil of any plant that has been affected by ants: their underlying anthill can compromise their health and growth in the long run.
Ants: what damage do they cause
Ants nestle in the soil of vegetable gardens and plants and must be kept under control and better still removed, especially if they are present in large quantities. Ants in pots are also a problem often faced by garden enthusiasts in their own homes. Particularly in vegetable gardens, these small animals can carry away the seeds and thus spoil the sowing, but that’s not all. These insects, as already mentioned, are able to literally breed aphids, the so-called plant lice, to harvest the honeydew. In particular, in winter they keep them in the ant-hill chambers, while in summer they place them on the stems of the plants. Needless to say, ants can damage and compromise the growth of the plants themselves.
Aphids are then a real problem for any kind of plant, which will become food for these parasites. It is therefore essential to take a good look at your plants and try to catch them if the infestation of ants is consistent and an appropriate intervention is necessary, better if ecological, especially in the case of edible plants.
Ants, however, are not always harmful, if present in small quantities they can keep the soil well ventilated and fertile, also keeping some parasites and insects away.
How to eradicate ants with natural remedies
To eliminate ants there are not only chemical products and traps, but ant control products, safe even for those who live daily indoors and outdoors.
You can use completely safe and green products, such as cucumber. It seems that these insects are bothered by this vegetable and it will be enough to place some skin fragments around the plant to be disinfested to see sure and quick results.
Mint is also ideal as a natural ant repellent and you can place some of its leaves near the plants to be disinfested, or grow a plant close by.
Cinnamon or coffee can also be used to create a real insect barrier. You can make a line with coffee beans or coffee powder, or with cinnamon sticks or cinnamon powder and you will see how the insects will not pass over. Not only that, by soaking a string of rope in lemon juice and placing it as a barrier you will have the same results. In the same way you can use salt, laurel, chilli pepper, cloves, hot paprika, vinegar, eucalyptus essential oil, or the plant itself and oregano. All these natural products are repellents for these small insects and spreading them here and there on the infested soil or near the plants to be protected will provide an effective, long-lasting and completely harmless natural remedy for humans and animals, which will not even compromise the growth of the plants.
Insects and animals fighting them
Among the green or natural remedies to eliminate ants from the pots, from the vegetable garden or, in general, from the garden, there is the one which requires the use of other predators. In practice, other insects are exploited, to be introduced in the outdoor environment, able to remove the ants naturally. Spiders are the best insects for this task and this is because they do not affect the vegetation, whatever it is, and indifferently capture many species of ants. Getting hold of them is simple, just sharpen your eyes and look in your house or garden: just one is enough to start chasing away most of the insect pests. But how to get spiders? You only need to catch one or a couple of spiders at home: in summer it’s easy to find them, especially if you have green areas or different plants on your balcony. Alternatively, ask your trusted nurseryman and ask him if you can get some more information and if possible some spiders.
Other remedies to eliminate ants
In addition to natural remedies to ward off and prevent the appearance of ants, there are also chemical products and remedies to drive away and eradicate these insects. On the market there are really infinite solutions, safe and certified, to buy in supermarkets, gardening shops, nurseries and in DIY and DIY centers.
One of the remedies considered non-invasive consists of bait, small boxes containing harmful substances for them. These cages are positioned where the insects stop or where they usually pass: locating their Indian line is quite easy, just observe. The small insects will enter the trap and eat the harmful substances they contain, which they will also take to the den and there infect all the others, eliminating themselves completely. There are, however, some compositions in spray, to be sprayed on the plants, also from the garden, which can quickly eliminate the insects, thus freeing the plants also from the aphids bred by them. Another alternative is to use anti-aphids products, which will eliminate one of the main sources of food and sustenance of the ants themselves. They will change areas and leave the anthill, but this is not a method that ensures success.
Tips to prevent ants
Preventing the appearance of these pests, which are often harmful to crops, is not difficult. Just keep the house and outdoor areas clean, avoiding crumbs or food residues, checking the plants regularly and also taking advantage of the repellent power of other plants, which can also be cultivated in pots, such as mint or other plants among the natural remedies mentioned above, such as laurel or oregano. Not only that, it is also useful to avoid water stagnations in the soil and promptly cure the plants from aphids infestations, which attract the same ants.