Answer: Tt's true that ants often 'herd' aphids and other sucking insects because of the honeydew they excrete, and I suspect your bamboo has become home to a population of cottony bamboo scale insects. These pests (Antonia crawi) are narrow, purplish-red scales up to one quarter inch in length. They are covered with masses of white cottony material and may be densely crowded in the leaf axils of the bamboo canes, or where two or more canes meet.
If you remove the scale insects the ants will go away, too. Try prying or scraping the scale masses from the bamboo. There are some natural enemies of scale insects so avoid using pesticides and watch for ladybugs, lacewings or syrphid flies to come to your rescue!
Q&A Library Searching Tips