Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Tiny ants eating my Epiphyllum leaves

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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
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chris1948
Dec 28, 2016 3:37 PM CST
I noticed lately some holes in my Epiphyllum leaves and thought it may have been snails however I never could find any in the pots or on the leaves. I was out awhile ago in the greenhouse and noticed small ants crawling up and down the leaves. Question is, what should I use to get rid of the buggers? Will Neem oil work or do I need something stronger?
Chris
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Dec 28, 2016 4:17 PM CST
Do you have diatomaceous earth? That would work.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
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plantmanager
Dec 28, 2016 4:18 PM CST
My guess is that it isn't the ants eating your leaves. Where you have ants, you usually have aphids. Neem would take care of them.
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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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chris1948
Dec 28, 2016 4:26 PM CST
Thanks Karen, I'll get right out and spray them. Hopefully not everything in the greenhouse has them.
Chris
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
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plantmanager
Dec 28, 2016 4:36 PM CST
I sure have them a lot. I haven't drenched the soil with Neem because I have earthworms in my beds. I keep using it on the leaves, but it doesn't seem to last very long. I need to do it almost weekly. We are often gone from the GH for up to 2 weeks, so that's when they really take over.
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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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chris1948
Dec 28, 2016 4:41 PM CST
tarev said:Do you have diatomaceous earth? That would work.


Don't have any Tarev, I just doused them with Neem oil hopefully that will work.

Chris
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 28, 2016 7:21 PM CST

Moderator

The ants usually require a different solution from the aphids, in my experience, when they come together (which they often do here). You can get rid of the aphids with neem or soap water but they will almost certainly come back after it rains, if the ants are sufficiently motivated to try again. I find the ants here are versatile farmers of both aphids and mealy bugs. Fortunately they are somewhat seasonal in their behavior so it's not a constant battle out there.

To deal with the sucking insects, I blast the affected areas (usually at or near the growth point on succulents) with soapy water. You may find yourself doing this every week to keep the plants clean, and there's nothing wrong with a repeat application, but I have found it useful to control the ants (separately) where that is possible. The bait works pretty well if you can provide enough of a distraction to get them to switch over from the main target. They swarm the bait and then a couple of days later they're carrying off the last of the corpses. Just keep your pets away because ant bait will smell delicious to them.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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chris1948
Dec 28, 2016 8:15 PM CST
Hi Baja, I've got some Amdro that I can put in the pots the cuttings are in. Since they're sitting up on my shelves the dog can't get to them at all. Since I sprayed today with Neem oil should I wait a few days to spray with the soapy water? Since I have a ton of succulents on these shelves I made do they all need treated or just keep an eye on them?
Chris
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 29, 2016 12:37 AM CST

Moderator

I wouldn't do anything where the ants and their 6-legged friends are not visiting. The neem will solve the aphid problem for the time being. You can skip the soap if the plants are clean at this point. It would be serving the same purpose. And then keep your eyes out for traffic. If the ants return, you can try spraying again to zap the aphids. Amdro is the product that I use as ant bait. It's kind of hit or miss, but when it works, the problem is solved.

Your best move at this point is probably observation. Try to see where the ant trail is coming from. That may help you decide on the best placement for the bait. If you're lucky, they will just go away and you win this round.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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chris1948
Dec 29, 2016 8:40 AM CST
Thanks Baja, sounds like a plan. I'll see if I can find where they're coming from. They may have been in one of the other pots I brought in and just now decided to go foraging.
Chris
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Dec 29, 2016 10:30 AM CST
I get the ants here during summer when it goes so dry, so oftentimes when I see the conga line, I sprinkle around cinnamon to disrupt them. Being summer then nothing to really wash out the cinnamon. But I have used both diatomaceous earth and terro baits too.

You have mentioned holes in your Epis, some of my succulents get some holes too, and I thought it was snails. One night , I found out it must have been some earwigs, sneaky and nocturnal, so I hardly see them during daytime.
[Last edited by tarev - Dec 29, 2016 10:49 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1341611 (11)
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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chris1948
Dec 29, 2016 11:29 AM CST
I just came in from looking to see if I could see any ants anywhere in the one greenhouse. Didn't see a single one nor are there any on the Epis leaves this morning. I sprinkled some Amdro in the pots anyway. I guess tonight when I go out to start the heaters I'll do some more snooping and see what I can find. I just looked up earwigs so I know what to look for. I noticed in my reading that they also eat aphids but also eat plants. That sounds like a win/lose situation.
Chris
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Dec 29, 2016 11:33 AM CST
Yup earwigs are omnivores. nodding
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 29, 2016 12:10 PM CST

Moderator

I never thought earwigs would be a pest in the garden until we had a freak infestation and they were boring holes in the leaves of the succulent groundcover right and left. If holes are the only visible damage, the problem is probably not sucking insects but chewing or boring ones. Smiling
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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chris1948
Dec 29, 2016 4:50 PM CST
I guess a picture's worth a 1000 words so here's several of what I'm seeing. Also thought I'd throw in one from my 'Ming Thing' that I just noticed it looks like it's being munched on while I was out looking for the culprit(s).


Thumb of 2016-12-29/chris1948/ec5496


Thumb of 2016-12-29/chris1948/7b434a


Thumb of 2016-12-29/chris1948/4f0c2c


Thumb of 2016-12-29/chris1948/b575c2


Thumb of 2016-12-29/chris1948/4f2ecb


Thumb of 2016-12-29/chris1948/86a41b

Chris
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Dec 29, 2016 6:18 PM CST
It certainly looked like it got attacked by nasty earwigs.

Here is mine, Haworthia cuspidata the poor victim:photos taken 31Oct2016. I put some cinnamon on the fresh bite..don't know what to do when I saw it, so frustrating!
Thumb of 2016-12-30/tarev/f4538f Thumb of 2016-12-30/tarev/9b79e9

At first I thought it was the grasshoppers..but the grasshoppers prefer my plants with flat leaves.
[Last edited by tarev - Dec 29, 2016 6:19 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1341797 (16)
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
chris1948
Dec 29, 2016 7:24 PM CST
That does look nasty. I didn't notice the bites on the Ming Thing until I turned it around to see if I could see any critters. I just came in from lighting the heaters and looking to see if I could notice any critters but not a one to be seen. Maybe it was too early. I'll treat the bites with cinnamon tomorrow and see what happens.
Chris
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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chris1948
Dec 30, 2016 11:41 AM CST
Update, I noticed this morning on one of my Epis leaves what looked like bug 'poop' Grumbling and then while I was spraying the bottom of one of the leaves I broke it off, more Grumbling it's thin but I'll cut it into a couple of sections later today, let it callous and hope I can get it to root.
Chris
Name: Ruud
The Netherlands
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RuuddeBlock
Dec 30, 2016 12:45 PM CST
Looks to me it could also be a beetle, look for it in the dark,

Ruud
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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chris1948
Dec 30, 2016 2:45 PM CST
Thanks @RuuddeBlock, I guess I'll have to brave the cold tonight and go stand in the greenhouse with a flashlight for awhile. At least I'll have the heater running.
Chris

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