Ants On Artichoke - Knowledgebase Question

Denver, CO
Avatar for MOLECULAR
Question by MOLECULAR
January 22, 1998
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 from NGA
January 22, 1998
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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