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Ants and Aphids

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Ants and Aphids

Post by Happy roses on 28th October 2011, 18:22

I know this isn't something new, but I am tired of squishing/spraying aphids only to find there must be a ants nest nearby as they are crawling all over the stems. What amuses me is that apparently ants take the aphids home (and read them a bed time story?) to keep them from predators only to bring them back to the plants the next day. Explains why I come back a couple of days later and start the squishing all over again. Rolling Eyes

What I would like to know before I go spend a fortune, is what has anyone used that might work to get rid of them?
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Re: Ants and Aphids

Post by Guest on 28th October 2011, 20:22

What are you using for mulch?

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Re: Ants and Aphids

Post by Admin on 28th October 2011, 20:41

A good strong spray of water! Aphids are not strong walkers or fliers. If you knock them to the ground it is unlikely they will find their way back to the rose safely. There is also a biological way of doing it that is better for everyone. There are tiny little parasitic wasps that parasitise aphids and consume them in their thousands.It takes some time to get their numbers up but it is worth doing to avoid using any chemicals in them at all. Have a look at a post I made about them some time ago including photos I took in my garden: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Re: Ants and Aphids

Post by Happy roses on 30th October 2011, 12:04

Thanks Simon,

I have used the hose trick and checked out your post on the wasps, interesting read, though I don't think I've seen any around so far....
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Re: Ants and Aphids

Post by neptune on 30th October 2011, 13:22

Ants I hate......and I use David Grays Termite killer...... 10 ml in a five litre spray bottle and add some liquid detergent to help penetrate the soil....instant kill....

now as for aphids.....usually I don't have much problem and in the past used confidor and only used about 1/4 bottle per year....but this year, I seemed to be blessed with everyone elses aphids...... 10mls of lime sulphur in 5 lts of water pump sprayer...no more aphids......

the parasitic wasp , I have never seen, and made a few phone call to other growers and they haven't seen either. Also, ladybugs, far and few between
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Re: Ants and Aphids

Post by LiliB on 10th December 2011, 10:31

The best way to rid yourself of ants on a rose which I have found is to simply sprinkle a circle of ant sand around the base of the plant. It's truly good stuff, and if there is an ant crossing the line, you will see it doing either the highland fling or a sailor's hornpipe. The little blighters can't stand the stuff and it holds up very well in the weather.

I had one rose which I have since replaced, Confetti, which attracted them like moths to the light. No amount of green technology had an effect, so I took out the heavy artillery, and bang, no more ants.
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Re: Ants and Aphids

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 10th December 2011, 11:39

Ok Lili, I will bite, what is 'ant sand' scratch
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Re: Ants and Aphids

Post by Admin on 10th December 2011, 12:13

On ants and aphids... they are linked. When an aphid inserts its 'sucking tube' into rose tissue the fluid on the inside is under pressure which forces it up and through the 'tube' into the aphid's digestive tract. The waste product, after the aphid digests whatever it needs from the plant's vascular fluid is a sugary substance called honey dew. It forms as a drop of liquid on the end of its abdomen and the aphid routinely flicks it off. This is why roses with aphids often have a black sooty fungus on them too as this honey dew builds up and begins to grow its own mould. Ants harvet this honey dew, which is why ants seem to tend the aphids like livestock. Get rid of the aphids and the ants will have no reason to visit your roses. Personally I encourage ants on the roses as they also remove other insect pests.

If you hit your roses with water jets to dislodge the aphids you'll need to do it every few days because any you miss can reproduce asexually and build up numbers quickly again.

Ant sand is just diatomaceous sand... ants don't like walking over it. I use it in chook cages too.

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Re: Ants and Aphids

Post by RitaG on 11th December 2011, 07:19

I have learned to be patient and let the birds play 'dive bomber' with them. They usually only survive for a few days.
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