Are you seeing ants in your grow? No need to get antsy. OK, enough poorly worded puns.
While ants by themselves represent no real threat to your grow, what they bring to table can create serious problems for your grow, and if one plant has ants, and their guests, you stand a very good chance for your entire crop becoming infested with other guests you don’t want.
While you may not lose your entire crop, at a bare minimum, you will suffer decreased yields. You may have already figured out what I am talking about – APHIDS. You will see the ants long before you notice the aphids. Ants and aphids have a symbiotic relationship. Get rid of the ants and the aphids go away as well. By the time you see they aphids, you are facing a long uphill fight to get rid of them.
While an aphid here and there would not kill or really hurt your grow, infestations will. From personal experience, you can go from a healthy plant at dusk to one that is shriveled up and at death’s door by morning. That is how rapidly it becomes a problem. As with any pest or disease, prevention is always best, and yet sometimes life happens.
The best way I have found to get rid of the ants, and their little buddies the aphids, is water.
Look at the underside of the leaves of your ladies, and if you see tiny white shapes, you have aphids. Using a water hose with a sprayer attachment, spray the underside of the leaves and gently rub any white spots away. Then soak the soil of the plant, and I mean water it deep. Ants do not like a flood. You will need to do this for 3 to 4 days. The ants move or drown and the aphids die from too much water and they have no host to take care of them.
The other choice is diatomaceous earth (DE). You need to use food grade – ants and other crawling insects/bugs crawl over it and the effect on them is like crawling through ground glass – it simply shreds them. Do not water in in.
Other benefits of DE: when you do water your ladies, the silica in the DE gets absorbed by the plant making the cell walls stronger which helps prevent disease and pest problems. An added benefit is stronger branches which support larger flowers. I add DE to my girls every three weeks or as needed.
While there are several good pesticides that kill aphids, remember you smoke what you sow. I only use natural methods or an OMRI Certified product. Sevindust and Sevin products are not your friends.