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Ant infestation!!!

This is a discussion on Ant infestation!!! within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Well, it's summer here in Texas and that means ants. For the past few years ...

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  1. #1
    sand_tiger86's Avatar
    sand_tiger86 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Ant infestation!!!

    Well, it's summer here in Texas and that means ants. For the past few years we get plagued by these itty bitty honey colored piss ants that are no bigger than a half a mm long. They LOVE my orchids. I HATE them. They seem to be attracted to the new growths on plants, as they tend to clump together in swarms on them. Will they hurt them at all? I suppose there's no point in trying to get rid of them, as my plants are outside right now and they'll just keep coming back...unless there's a way to make them not want swarm inside my orchid pots? I really don't want to report everything, as it hasn't even been a year since I last did so and my plants have really established themselves now. I wish I knew what the specific variety of ant that we have are called.

  2. #2
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    Dazed is offline Senior Member
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    They sound like what we call sugar ants, REALLY annoying and refuse to stay dead. Since they usually get into everything sweet, food and other wise, locals opt to put what they can on top of trays of water. Since the orchids like the humidity trays it's a win/win option, I use Actara on the buggies to kill off what's already in them. Give it a try and let me know what happens.

  3. #3
    Daethen is offline Senior Member
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    I use Terro. It works well for me. They take is back to the nest and it helps kill the whole nest.

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    Thanks guys. Will the ants harm my orchids at all? Like I said, they only seem to be attracted to the small new growths for some reason. I don't want them eating them, or poisoning them.

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    I don't recall who it was that said it in another post about ants, but I have read that they're after some kind of sap or nectar that they give off, ( but i could be wrong). Not sure about orchids, but I seen succulents have stunted growth when they build their nests in the soil. Terro is another thing I use too, IT'S THE BOMB!, can't believe I forgot about it. Maybe cause I haven't seen an ant inside the house for a few months

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    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    It sounds like they are attracted to the sweet secretions sometimes found on new growth. Ants would rarely do much direct damage, but some can farm aphids or mealy bugs for their sweet secretions, and if they are nesting in the media you can expect to see it break down faster. On the other hand, some ants guard a plant and keep other insect pests away. If they were my orchids I think I would be trying poison bait traps.

  7. #7
    sand_tiger86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaphMadMan View Post
    It sounds like they are attracted to the sweet secretions sometimes found on new growth. Ants would rarely do much direct damage, but some can farm aphids or mealy bugs for their sweet secretions, and if they are nesting in the media you can expect to see it break down faster. On the other hand, some ants guard a plant and keep other insect pests away. If they were my orchids I think I would be trying poison bait traps.
    Funny you mention it, I bought some of those today. I just set them on top of the pots. They seem to be attracted and hopefully will bring the bait down to ruin the whole colony within the pot.

  8. #8
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    we have ants here in california that will 'farm' other insects like scales, mealies, and aphids. they carry them around and attach them to tender parts of plants like new growths and flowers, and eat the sap the bugs cause to leak from whee they bite the plants.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by coeruleo View Post
    we have ants here in california that will 'farm' other insects like scales, mealies, and aphids. they carry them around and attach them to tender parts of plants like new growths and flowers, and eat the sap the bugs cause to leak from whee they bite the plants.
    So they damage the plants?

  10. #10
    Lizgeo is offline Senior Member
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    I have ants almost in every orchid basket, the orchids seem to be happy and healthy. I tried to get them out of one basket once since I wanted to bring it inside. As soon as I moved it outside, ants made home there again.

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