Ask a Question forum: ants on sunflowers - why hurt the ants? They are not killing the sunflowers.

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Iloveants
Jun 25, 2016 6:07 PM CST
Sir or Ma'am, why kill the ants? They are good creatures outside. They are
not killing the sunflowers, correct? It seems HORRIBLE to kill ants outside in their
habitat.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jun 25, 2016 8:53 PM CST
Welcome! to NGA. I think.... Confused
Name: Julie
Eugene, Oregon (Zone 8a)
Container Gardener
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JulieInEugene
Jun 28, 2016 11:52 AM CST
Iloveants, I've been battling the ants which invade all my container plants, presumably attracted to the moisture. At least watering seems to bring them back in droves. I read your response asking why kill the ants a couple days ago. Ever since, a question has been burning in my head...DO the ants hurt the plants? And I'd like to know if there are any benefits to their being there? Because I'm certainly NOT winning this war with them! And when I disrupt them they just come into my house Thumbs down I'd rather they stay outside-as long as I know they're not hurting my plants. Can you help with an answer, please?
Thank you very much! Thank You!
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Jun 28, 2016 1:54 PM CST
I can tell you that ants bring aphids into my garden. They seem to think my plants are little aphid nurseries. I've heard from some people (though not personally witnessed) that they will uproot and "spit out" plants they don't like from the garden. They also carry plant diseases around.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 28, 2016 1:59 PM CST
Ants will not hurt some plants depending on what they are. If you have shallow rooted plants or newly planted shrubs, the ants can become numerous enough that their extensive (and I do mean extensive...) tunneling can expose roots to air drying them out, keeping them from having contact w the soil-they are not able to asbsorb moisture or nutrients. Also then when it rains the tunnels can collapse, causing the roots to be exposed. So, no the ants do not directly harm plants, but yes I have had them reek havok on some things before. Also if you let them continue on around the foundation of your home they will become numerous and you will have gobs of ants show up in your kitchen/bath. I have been battling ants here for 3 years. I hate them.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
Jun 28, 2016 2:01 PM CST
robynanne said:I can tell you that ants bring aphids into my garden. They seem to think my plants are little aphid nurseries. I've heard from some people (though not personally witnessed) that they will uproot and "spit out" plants they don't like from the garden. They also carry plant diseases around.


I don't think the ants bring aphids, but aphids secrets honeydew which attracts the ants.
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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Jun 28, 2016 2:02 PM CST
Horntoad said:

I don't think the ants bring aphids, but aphids secrets honeydew which attracts the ants.


Unfortunately, I watched them. Carry aphids. And STICK them on my plants. Little turds. edited to add that they also will protect them from predators, which is just as bad.
[Last edited by robynanne - Jun 28, 2016 2:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
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Altheabyanothername
Jun 28, 2016 2:19 PM CST
It has been proven that ants farm aphids. They will move aphid eggs around, some to every plant. Cycle of life. Many joys to everyone!
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 28, 2016 3:44 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome iloveants, welcome to NGA.

Hmmm, ants. Grumbling
I just came in from the garden where I was moving some potted plants around...and because I was not paying attention my left hand is covered with Fire Ants. I am guessing that @iloveants does not live in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas...or anywhere else that Fire Ants call home.

That being said, there are many types of ants that are "good" for the garden and good for the circle of life.
Here is a link:
http://www.thriftyfun.com/Benefits-of-Ants-in-Your-Garden.ht...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 28, 2016 7:01 PM CST
Fire ants are the ultimate predators and control many other types of insects - probably not all bad guys - more likely to harm the gardener than the garden, I think. My complaint is with leaf cutter ants who can strip the leaves from a good sized rose over night.
Porkpal
Name: Julie
Eugene, Oregon (Zone 8a)
Container Gardener
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JulieInEugene
Jun 29, 2016 12:41 PM CST
Thank You! Group hug
THANK YOU EVERYONE!! I tip my hat to you.
You have given great insight and helpful information. Especially in explaining my aphid problem this year which has already caused one new plant to be disposed of, sadly.
Best wishes to all in your gardening endeavors

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