The Q&A Archives: Ants On Vegetable Plants

Question: How do I get rid of ants that are on my vegetable & tomato plants?

Answer: I've never known ants to be a problem in the garden on their own, but when they team up with aphids, you will see trouble! Ants "herd" aphids, protecting them from predators in exchange for honeydew, the sweet excrement the aphids produce. It'll be obvious if this is the case in your garden - you'll see ants on plant stems and leaves and clusters of pale green/brown soft-bodied aphids nearby. You can control them by first blasting them off the plants with a strong spray of water (if the plants are sturdy ones!) and follow up with a neem-based repellent to keep the aphids from returning to the plants. Insecticidal soap sprays are also an effective control on plants that can't stand the force of a strong stream of water. You'll find most of these products in garden centers.

You might also try Sevin or Ortho's Bug B Gone; both are registered for use in vegetable gardens against ants.

Best wishes with your veggies!

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