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The Ants Are Marching . . .

This is a discussion on The Ants Are Marching . . . within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I don't think they do any harm, but I have heard of ants bring aphids ...

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  1. #11
    Kerry's Avatar
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    I don't think they do any harm, but I have heard of ants bring aphids to plants, and then the aphids produce a sort of honeydew stuff that the ants then eat. I am not sure if this is true, but on my roses I often find ants on the stems where the most aphids are congregated.

    So, I think if anything, it is the aphids that harm the plant as they actually attack the tissue, whereas ants just eat the sweet stuff.

    To be honest, I would be more concerned about ants in the plant finding their way to your food stores, as that is a real problem. Getting rid of ants tracking their way round your home is not something I like. I have been able to use an ant powder, but we have to be really careful with our cats. I understand your concerns about using it with a young child. With Tom being diabetic there have been a few interesting moments where I have found the source of a new ant trail to be old glucose sweets that have been dropped in some very strange places. The first and worst time, I have no idea what caused it though!

    Don't know if this helps or adds anything to the post....

  2. #12
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    I think it is actually a very interesting relationship. I am waiting for a flask of Myrmecophila which are named for their mutualistic relationship with ants that colonize the hollow pbulbs and fertilize them, and also protect them from other pests. I always thought the bullthorn acacias were cool so when I found out orchids enlisted ants as well I had to have some. Luckily they grow well without the ants. In the Acacias they live in hollow thorns, and are provided special packets of nutrients to raise their young, as well as nectar. They will seriously kick some butt if you mess around with the tree.

  3. #13
    KC C is offline Senior Member
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    I have had ants chew on the upper side of the stem right at the base of the flower bud, more than once, getting the plant to produce sap at that spot while they were waiting for the bud to open so that they could get to the nectar. On a large stem it doesn't make any difference, but on a small stem it can be weakening and, of course, there is always the possibility of bacterial &/or fungal problems setting in.

    I find the best solution to ant invasions is ant traps. I just set them around in the pot/basket of the plant they're being particularly bothersome in and also set some around on the orchid benches and shelves and even hang them from mounts, if need be. I even use them outside. Often just putting them out once a year is sufficient to take care of the problem, the ants seem to get the message that they are not welcome in massive numbers, nor are they allowed to set up housekeeping in the orchid pots/mounts.

  4. #14
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    They are thick outside under every thing I can mention ,1000s of them . Never seen so many in one season , wonder why ? Gin

  5. #15
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    BE VERY CAREFUL WITH BORIC ACID!!! I treated all of the open walls in my home before I closed them with the interior boards. My painter was using a spray gun, and some of the white powder got in his shoe. My house is all beaded board, and he removed the base boards to paint then and the walls separately. It started as a minor irritation, and then he thought it was a spider bite, and then he went to the emergency room. The doctor told him it was a chemical burn. He was out for 2 weeks. Fortunately no repercussions from the accident. When that stuff gets on your skin, and gets wet, then when you start to feel it, the damage is already done. Will do great for bugs. I have been in my house for 2 years, and never had a roach. It only works as long as it stays dry. That is why it is in the walls. You said you had small children. Mine are not that young, 8 & 11, and I would not use it in the open.

  6. #16
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    The problem could also be the big variations in the weather. We went for a long time without rain, and they were all over the yard. I was out there every couple of days with Fire Ant Graduals. Then when we started getting rain, it was everyday at 3P for about 20 minutes. It was like being in Costa Rica again. The plants loved it, but the ants were getting tired of getting soaked so they started moving to dry areas. Your potted paints were and empty coop building waiting for tenants.

  7. #17
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    I had a infestation of ants in a cymbidium I was growing indoors. I didn't want to spray and spray the plant because my cats are always near the orchids.

    Idea: Make the ants eat poison.
    I made a moat by placing a dish upside-down on a larger dish. I placed the cymb on the inverted plate, filled the moat with regular water and then taped several ant traps to the outside of the cymb's pot. Since the ants couldn't go out foraging they had to eat the poison. After about 3 weeks of making sure the moat was filled the ants were gone. Not the fastest way, but it worked.

  8. #18
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    I got rid of mine finally dabbed Revenge on the hangers , problem is unless you get all of them the colony splits , even if the queen is killed they will make a new one and set up a new home . .. Gin

  9. #19
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    I'm glad you got rid of your ants too Gin -- I don't know what the deal was this summer with bugs.

    Apparently my ant massacre earlier this summer was successful too. I sprayed vandas and their neighbors down heavily with pesticide (outside of course), twice in about a week and haven't had any problems since. I guess word was out that my house was NOT a friendly place to set up the colony.

  10. #20
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    Sadie - Good to hear that you've been able to sort out your plants

    Mroberts - that' a very clever idea that you had!

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