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Ants farming aphids

 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'm not sure how many of you know that ants will protect aphids in order to farm the sugary substance they excrete. We have a lot of ants. We have aphids, and I have seen a fair amount of lady bugs, however, the ants are protecting the aphids. So I've basically been cutting down the plants that have aphids on them, so far it's a very select variety of weed and nothing else. I'd like a better solution though. I think the lady bugs will handle the aphid problem if I could only get the ants to stop farming them. Kill the ants? What is the solution here?
 
Joy Oasis
Posts: 167
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I have the same situation, and I've been putting out borax/sugar syrup baits to ants and find many dead ones, but there is still plenty of them to protect aphids on my cucumbers and melons. That said I am gardening in a community garden full of cooperating type of ants -Argentian ones, so if one nest doesn't have enough memebers, other nests supply to them. If you have black aphids, they are much easier to deal with - save some banana peels and cut them up small. Scratch them into the soil surface around affected plants. Aphids will leave in 2 or 3 days. Plants uptake whatever is in the peels and black aphids do not like it. Not the green ones though. Those are the ones that are on the cucurbits.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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In my garden I see this mostly on lamb's quarters. My solution is to leave some lamb's quarters in the garden as a trap crop. Every so often I pull up the aphidy plant and give it to the chickens. No big problem.

I don't like how ants climb up my legs when I disturb their nest and hang out on it. I do like how they aerate the soil and move nutrients around. Ants are more welcome in the garden than the kitchen.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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