Succulent Plant Site | Succulent Plant Pests | Ants

Ant Treatment and Description

Common Name: Ants
Latin Name: There are usually quite a few species of ants in any one given area, to numerous to list.
Size: Between 2mm-4mm.
Colour: Ants are brown to black to reddish in colour.
Transfer: Their legs.

Ant Description:

Ants are ants, they come in a multitude of species and these six legged insects come in a variety of colours from brown to black to red.

Signs of Ant Infestation:

Little "hills" of sand and small grit in sandy patches and alongiside buildings.

Damage Done by Ants:

Ants seldom do damage to succulents, they are usually found in conjunction with sooty mold, scale and mealy bug. Ants have a symbiotic relationshp with mealy bugs and scale insects, the ants afford these types of insects with protection in exchange for honeydew (a sweet liquid excreted by aphids etc).

The only damage I have seen done to succulent plants by ants is the building of their nests in the bottom of the pot and the damage being done is the consumption of roots. I have never had a plant die on me due to this though.

Treatment of Ants:

If you have severe scale and mealy bug infestations it would then be a good idea to start killing ants as ants carry the sap sucking insects from one plant to the other and in doing so they also spread sooty mold from one plant to the other.

Environmentally friendly:

  • Leave some sugared water near the infected plants.  Treat infected plants as described in other pages.
  • Sprinkle catnip or mint around the nests.
  • Mix some chillis in with vinegar and spray the ants.

Chemical Treatment:

  • Spray the ants nest with Chlorpiryfos, Baythroid or Metasystox.
  • Use an ant trap, they are laced with poison that the ants feed to the queen.

An ant protecting a scale insect in exchange for some honeydew.

Above:  An ant on  an Adenium leaf.  Ants often look after insects, like scale insect (note the brown scale in the image) and aphids, in exchange for some of the honeydew that they excrete.

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