The Q&A Archives: Ants On Artichoke

Question: I grew artichokes for the first time and noticed ants at the base of the plant all summer. They didn't hurt the plant, but is this normal?

Answer: It's not usual to have ants making a home at the base of an artichoke plant, but there may be a couple of explanations: First, ants appreciate nice fluffy soil and artichokes don't mind soil that's on the dry side, so the ants may have moved in because they liked the neighborhood. A more likely answer, though, is that aphids like artichoke plants, and ants enjoy tending aphids because aphids exude a honeydew like substance. The ants groom the aphids and 'milk' them of their honeydew which they then transport back to their nests. If ants are a problem, water your artichoke plants frequently and deeply, and use a strong spray of water from the hose on the entire plant to knock the aphids off.

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