Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

Information and discussion regarding garden diseases, insects and other unwelcome critters.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old June 16, 2017   #1
Bipetual
Tomatovillian™
 
Bipetual's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Illinois, zone 5a
Posts: 586
Default Ants in My Plants!

Hello, everyone. I haven't been around for a while, so I apologize for being like the relative who never calls unless they need something. But here goes...I have a Neves Azorean Red planted in a regular pot that has had some wicked leaf roll down toward the bottom almost since I planted it. I couldn't figure out why until I noticed a hill of potting mix under the pot today. I also saw some medium large ants.

Has anyone else had this problem, and how would you recommend dealing with it? I was thinking about sweeping up the little hill of potting mix and replacing it with a little mound of diatomaceous earth powder.

Suggestions, please!
Bipetual is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16, 2017   #2
Rockporter
Tomatovillian™
 
Rockporter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Texas Coastal Bend
Posts: 2,903
Default

Amdro will take care of it.

https://www.amdro.com/
__________________
In the spring
at the end of the day
you should smell like dirt

~Margaret Atwood~


Rockporter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16, 2017   #3
Bipetual
Tomatovillian™
 
Bipetual's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Illinois, zone 5a
Posts: 586
Default

Rockporter, thank you. I should probably add that the pot is on a dolly and the ants are crawling up into the pot and tunnelling around in the soil. I take it the Amdro would be sprayed on the little hill they're making under the pot?

Edited to add: The outdoor stakes/bait stations actually look like a pretty good option since they're enclosed and my dog goes out there a lot.

Last edited by Bipetual; June 16, 2017 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Additional thought..
Bipetual is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16, 2017   #4
Rockporter
Tomatovillian™
 
Rockporter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Texas Coastal Bend
Posts: 2,903
Default

Just put them under the pot on the stand they are on. They'll take them back to their nest and kill them all. Use the granules, they are cornmeal based.
__________________
In the spring
at the end of the day
you should smell like dirt

~Margaret Atwood~


Rockporter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16, 2017   #5
greenthumbomaha
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Omaha Zone 5
Posts: 1,476
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockporter View Post
Just put them under the pot on the stand they are on. They'll take them back to their nest and kill them all. Use the granules, they are cornmeal based.
This post is a great help.I've tried borax on ants with limited success but not cornmeal. One more option (and a very good one) in the arsenal against pests indoors. I have several pots (peppers) that I want to overwinter in the house; many others here overwinter peppers too. I feel much better when it comes time to bring them in with this info.

Amdro worked great when ants visited my kitchen one year. Thanks for the posting this, Rockporter! Maybe I'll find a sale pepper and start another pot.


- Lisa
greenthumbomaha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 17, 2017   #6
Bipetual
Tomatovillian™
 
Bipetual's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Illinois, zone 5a
Posts: 586
Default

Thanks very much for the suggestion. I appreciate it!
Bipetual is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 18, 2017   #7
gorbelly
Tomatovillian™
 
gorbelly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,008
Default

Would ants actually cause leaf roll, though?
gorbelly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 18, 2017   #8
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 9,782
Default

I have missed seeing Bipetual here.

I wanted to reply earlier, but was also keying on the leaf roll part. Don't quote me on this because it is just my opinion - Ants for tomato plants/tomatoes are just irritating for us . They might actually be beneficial because they aerate the soil sort of like worms do. But that is just my thoughts.

Leaf roll on other hand is a problem.
One Site: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edi...es-curling.htm
Another Site: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgi...leaf_roll.html
__________________
Salt, AlittleSalt, Robert
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 18, 2017   #9
Bipetual
Tomatovillian™
 
Bipetual's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Illinois, zone 5a
Posts: 586
Default

Robert, Gorbelly, you may be right.

Looking at the articles, I can say it's definitely physiological leaf roll. It could be that I overdid it with the Tomato Tone, resulting in excess nitrogen, which it mentions.

I guess maybe I shouldn't worry so much about the ants tunnelling around in there, and lay off the fertilizer for a while!!

That actually makes me feel better. Thanks, guys. I've missed you guys, too!
Bipetual is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 18, 2017   #10
gorbelly
Tomatovillian™
 
gorbelly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,008
Default

It may not be a fertilizer issue, either. Sometimes, plants just get PLR due to environmental conditions, especially in containers, where their roots experience more extreme swings in temps and moisture levels. Some varieties are also much more prone to PLR.

Usually, PLR is just an aesthetic annoyance. But if the leaves are very tightly rolled, look for sap-sucking pests like aphids, mites, etc. The ants may also be a symptom of these, as they eat the honeydew left by sap-sucking pests and so are attracted to plants that have such pests on them.

FWIW, once the heat of summer really kicks in, almost all of my plants get some degree of PLR. They pump out flowers and fruit anyway. Not a big deal.

But, IMO, ants themselves are harmless unless they're fire ants or something. I guess farming aphids and protecting them against predators could be seen as harmful, but usually, if a garden is in balance, it's not that big a deal. I have a few plants right now that have a few aphids on them, a few live ants running around eating honeydew, and tons of beneficial predators. I see lots of ant carcasses, presumably from the various non-web-making spiders that I frequently see patrolling my plants, but tomato plant hairs can and do also kill ants.

They definitely don't require introducing pesticides to your garden unnecessarily, IMO.
gorbelly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19, 2017   #11
Bipetual
Tomatovillian™
 
Bipetual's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Illinois, zone 5a
Posts: 586
Default

Gorbelly, for what it's worth, I have seen a few spider mites in my potted basil and on the tomatoes some really tiny black things that look kind of like gnats. They're on all my tomato plants but there don't seem to be too many per plant. I've been squishing them. I hope they're nothing to be concerned about, as my other tomato plants all seem really healthy.

I also have plenty of spiders.

Carpenter ants did kill a tree about ten feet away last year, and I have to admit I'm not crazy about seeing them around so much just in general. But I haven't seen them on my actual plants, just having fun making a mess in my potting soil by crawling through the drainage holes.

The leaf roll is mostly limited to the bottom of the plant. The new growth is a little curly but it's green and healthy, which I suspect is a little more consistent with a excess nitrogen. Although the weather has been really hot, too. Hopefully the plant will be all right. Overall it doesn't look bad.
Bipetual is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19, 2017   #12
gorbelly
Tomatovillian™
 
gorbelly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,008
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bipetual View Post
on the tomatoes some really tiny black things that look kind of like gnats. They're on all my tomato plants but there don't seem to be too many per plant. I've been squishing them. I hope they're nothing to be concerned about, as my other tomato plants all seem really healthy.
Do they look like this?


Are they really slow, i.e. easy to catch and squish?

If so, they're the winged form of aphids. Yes, squishing them is good. The winged ones develop in the fall to mate sexually and lay eggs that overwinter. In spring, winged aphids hatch to find host plants. Sometimes, the winged forms develop when a food source is bad and it's time to move on to different plants. (Not all aphid species do it exactly this way). Once on the plant, aphids "clone" themselves asexually and reproduce very rapidly in wingless form.
gorbelly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19, 2017   #13
gorbelly
Tomatovillian™
 
gorbelly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,008
Default

Look carefully for aphids. The green ones are really hard to see.
gorbelly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19, 2017   #14
Bipetual
Tomatovillian™
 
Bipetual's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Illinois, zone 5a
Posts: 586
Default

The wings are smaller, but yes, they are very slow and easy to squish. A new form of aphid for me, then. Dang, you know your stuff!

No green ones, though.

Do you think I should break out the insecticidal soap? Later on there will be whiteflies, they are a problem every year, so it's not like I would otherwise be enjoying a pesticide-free year.
Bipetual is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19, 2017   #15
gorbelly
Tomatovillian™
 
gorbelly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,008
Default

I personally wouldn't spray soap until there are pests. It doesn't do a great job of preventing pest problems, in my experience, since it works when sprayed on the pest, not on the plant.

I would just monitor carefully if I were you. Because I have no issues with CMV in my garden, I pretty much leave aphids alone anyway unless they start getting a little too numerous. Then I squirt them off with regular water. My goal is to leave enough to attract and keep beneficial predators in my garden but not let them get so numerous that they damage the plants. If I see a few aphids here and there, I ignore them.

I usually only have problems with them getting too numerous very early in spring and very late in the fall, which are times when the predator population is less active because of temps and the lack of the flowers that support them.
gorbelly is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:32 AM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2017 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★