Answer: You were right not to spray too close to picking time, but it must have been discouraging to have the ants take control of your corn after tending it all summer! This year be ready for them. Ants love sweet foods, so when they first appear on your corn, offer them something sweeter?pure sugar or sugar water as diversion from your corn. Set it out close enough for them to find it, but away from the corn. Don't put it out until you see the ants, so you don't attract them to the corn!
Of course the ants could be a sign that your corn was being attacked by aphids. Aphids are tiny insects which often cluster on the undersides of leaves. Ants are attracted by 'honeydew' which the aphids secrete. They can be controlled by hosing them off, or with an insecticidal soap spray. Once the aphids are gone, the ants should leave also.
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