‘Attracts ants!’ Gardening expert explains why you should control ‘sap-sucking’ pests

Gardeners World: Expert shares tips for tackling ants

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A gardening expert has said “sap-sucking” pests attract ants which could lead to them nesting in your plant pots. Ants can be a big problem if they start nesting in your pots and containers. They can also farm aphids on your plants and protect them from being harmed by predators like ladybirds.

Aphids can devastate plants and spread disease, so ants and aphids working in unison can lead to a plethora of plant problems.

Kevin Smith of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, has provided a simple solution to keep ants out of your plant pots and containers.

He said: “It is possible to keep ants out of pots.

“The ants are most likely to be attracted to plants infested with green fly and other sap-sucking pests.

“Ants feed on the sticky honeydew pests secrete.

“So controlling them will help the problem a lot.

“If you want to stop ants nesting in pots cover the holes in the base with a layer of fleece when planting.

“If you want to get rid of an established nest then use nematodes available as a biological control.”

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Nematodes are microscopic crates that act as parasites to kill other insects.

They release bacteria in the host’s body which then kills them.

The nematode will then eat the host e.g the ant or pest.

Unlike buying a chemical pesticide, this is a biological control which will deal with the problem.

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Using a chemical can damage the surrounding environment and can sometimes target the wrong wildlife.

Nematodes can be bought online from a plethora of stores including Amazon.

They range from around £8 to £20 in price, depending what you choose.

It’s important that you follow the instructions carefully when using nematodes.

Ants love the sweet sap that is excreted from some plants, so a group of smart ants could easily chomp through a stem and kill a plant.

There are other methods for deterring ants from gathering around your plants.

Some gardening experts suggest sprinkling cinnamon or cayenne pepper around them.

However, this is more of a repellent rather than a solution that kills ants.

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