Ants On Citrus Tree - Knowledgebase Question

San Francisco, CA
Question by mwhitman99
July 6, 2002
I have a struggling citrus tree in my garden that is finally making a magnificent comeback. However, ants are invading this tree daily. What can I do? Are they harmful?


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Answer from NGA
July 6, 2002

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The ants are probably feeding in the tree - perhaps they like the sap your tree is manufacturing. Ants are known to herd aphids, and will sometimes visit scale insects or mealybug colonies to collect honeydew, a sweet substance these insects excrete. Inspect the trunk and branches for splits, cracks or other injuries where sap may be escaping. While you're there, look for colonies of aphids, scales or mealybugs. Once you've determined the source of the food for the ants, you'll be able to treat the injury or pest population to eliminate the food source. Once this is accomplished, the ants will no longer be interested in your tree.

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