ants - Knowledgebase Question

Washington C.H., Oh
Question by jesmith6
June 9, 2008
I find many small red ants in my garden. Most of them build their nest under rocks, stepping stones, etc. They are a nuisence. Are they beneficial?
Thank you.

Answer from NGA
June 9, 2008


Ants are considered the great recyclers of the insect world. Without them we'd be knee deep in decomposing organic matter. However, they may cause some problems in the garden. They feed on nectar and sap (sugary substances) and they may attack and kill beneficial insects such as ladybugs. Ladybugs are the number one enemy of aphids; aphids excrete a sugary substance called honeydew when they feed on plants. Ants "herd" or "nurse" aphids, protecting them because they feed on the honeydew left by the aphids. When ladybugs come to feed on the aphids, ants will attack and kill the ladybugs. In my garden, I prefer to have ladybugs rather than ants. So, ultimately, the decision whether or not to control the ants is yours.

Best wishes with your garden!

You must be signed in before you can post questions or answers. Click here to join!

« Return to the Garden Knowledgebase Homepage

Member Login:



[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Baja_Costero and is called "Aloe with six-legged friends"