Those pesky pests
Ants have a bad reputation in the garden, despite the fact that they don’t hurt plants. According to Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson in their book “Journey to the Ants,” ants are even more advantageous to garden plants than earthworms when it comes to moving soil and enhancing aeration and nutrition distribution.
That said, ants in a houseplant are never a welcome sight, and eliminating them can be even more aggravating, especially if they keep returning after many attempts to send them packing.
But there are things you can do. Continue reading to learn how to get rid of ants from potted plants.
What attracts ants?
Ants are one of the most common bugs around your home, so it isn’t surprising that they discover their method into your potted plants. They come looking for food, water and shelter, and, if the conditions are right, they might decide to stay. Let’s learn more about these frustrating bugs and how to get rid of ants in pots.
Honeydew is a sweet, sticky compound that the bugs produce as they feed, and ants believe it’s a banquet. In truth, they will go to excellent lengths to safeguard honeydew-producing bugs from predators to keep a supply of this tasty food handy. Eliminate the pests that produce honeydew prior to killing ants in containers to keep the ants from returning.
If you find ants in your house plants, chances are they’re not really aiming for the plants themselves. They are more than likely trying to find aphids, scales or mealybugs– small bugs that can hurt your plant. Ants enjoy eating honeydew, the sweet and healthy excrement these insects produce, so they will, in fact, work to safeguard the bugs from their natural opponents.
Finding ants in a houseplant is an indication that your plant probably has other problems, which are going to get even worse if you don’t take action.
Try store-bought pest solutions
One of the easiest ways to control ant populations in your home is to purchase pest control systems and traps specifically designed for ants.
Buy some ant bait and place it along any routes you see leading away from the plant. Chances are the ants have a bigger nest outside. They’ll carry this bait back to the nest, thinking it’s food, and will kill the whole colony without even knowing it. This will lower your possibility of ant issues in the future.
There are also several chemicals that can be mixed with water and then poured into a planter. These chemical compounds are designed to get rid of ants without harming the plant itself.
To get rid of the ants nesting in container plants, you’ll need a container or tub larger and much deeper than your flower pot and concentrated insecticidal soap, offered at any garden supply store.
Make a solution utilizing one or two tablespoons of insecticidal soap per quart of water. Fill the bucket or tub up until the service barely covers the surface of the potting soil. Let the plant soak for 20 minutes.
If you do not like the concept of putting chemicals on your plant, there are some more natural solutions you can attempt.
Squeeze a citrus rind in the direction of your plant so that the juice spritzes out. This should help to drive away the ants.
To make a more durable citrus repellent, boil the rinds of half a dozen oranges in water for fifteen minutes. Mix the skins and water in a food processor and put the mix around your plants.
Spray it on and around your plant.
Spray the plant thoroughly, and pay particular attention to the undersides of the leaves where they like to conceal and lay eggs. It may take more than one treatment to get them under control. The method you look after your plants can also be a source of ant issues. You may see ants in flower pots when you have actually been utilizing natural home remedies that include sugar or honey.
Soaps consisting of peppermint oil are also efficient when it comes to pest control.
Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, coffee grounds, or dried mint tea leaves can be scattered around the base of the plant to prevent ants, too.
Preventing Larger Problems
Once you’ve gotten your ant problem under control, it’s also important to take preventative steps to make sure that the problem doesn’t get any worse in the future.
Above all else, you need to make sure that you aren’t leaving out any foods or other tasty substances that could attract new ant colonies.
It’s essential to tidy up any spills in your cooking area and ensure food is saved securely.
You know that ants enjoy crumbs in corners, spilled syrup and chicken overlooked on the counter. You can do your best to prevent an invasion by keeping counters clean, floors swept and groceries stored securely.
However, there’s one source of food, water, and shelter that you may be not able to get rid of– your potted plants.
If you discover more ants in your indoor plants, take them outside right away so the ants do not end up creating a bigger problem inside your house.
The ultimate precaution to avoid infestations is to keep the house itself devoid of ants. Seal up cracks and crevices in your foundation and around doors and windows. Make sure you get rid of sources of food and freestanding water to avoid attracting them.
Ants in houseplants can quickly lead to finding ants all over the house.
Lastly, you should try to get rid of aphids and other small insects whose excretions might attract ants.
Spray aphids with a ready-to-use insecticidal soap spray. Saturate the plant with the spray, paying specific attention to the undersides of leaves where aphids like to hide themselves.
Repeat this process as needed at seven- to ten-day intervals. Remove honeydew from the leaves with a damp fabric.
If you follow the steps and techniques listed above, you should see a significant improvement, getting rid of ants quickly and quietly.