Answer: Ants tend aphids, milking them of honeydew, a sweet excretion. If you rid your artichokes of aphids, the ants will pack up and leave, too. You can hose your plants off frequently to dislodge aphids, or spray your artichokes with insecticidal soap. Insecticidal soap is derived from plants and is relatively harmless to all but soft-bodied insects such as aphids.
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