The Q&A Archives: Bower Vine

Question: I have a beautiful Bower Vine growing on a Trellis.
The white trumpet flowers have tiny black mites on them and ants are also on them. I sprayed with a Rose Defense that I had & it seems to have killed the mites, but the ants are still on the flowers.
The leaves are a dark green & healthy, however, some leaves are burned from the hot sun days we had in Brentwood a few weeks ago.

Answer: I'm sure the ants were feeding on the honeydew excreted by the original insect infestation. Now that they are used to being in the vine, they will be difficult to control. I'd set baits around the base of the plant. A good least-toxic method is the use of boric acid baits. Boric acid baits can eliminate some ant colonies in about one week. The trick is to not kill the ants at the bait station, but to get the ants to carry the boric acid back to the nest, poisoning the members of the colony that never leave the nest. Most ants feed either on sugars or on protein, fats, or oils. To see which type you have, place small dabs of jelly and peanut butter (not mixed) where ants are seen and watch which food they are attracted to. If they are attracted to the jelly, you can make a boric acid bait by mixing one-half cup jelly, such as apple jelly, with 1 1/4 tsp boric acid powder. Punch several holes in the lid of the jar, then screw the lid on tightly and seal with tape. The holes should be large enough for the ants to pass through to reach the bait. Place the bait jar on its side where the ants will come in contact with it. If the ants are unable to gain footing on the jar lid, you might want to scratch the surface with sandpaper or a pebble. If the ants are attracted to peanut butter, use that for your bait rather than jelly. If you find many dead ants around the bait station, which ever bait you use, lower the amount of boric acid in the mixture. If you are still finding live ants after a week to 10 days, increase the amount of boric acid. Although boric acid is of very low toxicity, it is best to place bait jars where children and pets cannot reach them.

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