I have little black ants eating my sunflowers. What do I do?
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By Wayne from Greenville, SC
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Ants are eating all my sunflowers. I tried cinnamon, they seem to like that more. Dish soap and water squirted on them keeps them away, but only for a day or so. I'm about to go get some garlic from my vegetable garden and will be planting it under them. Any more ideas?
Try double sided tape around the base on the sunflower. The ants will stick. You may have ants because you have aphids, which if that is the case find some labybugs. (07/11/2005)
Try Immunox by Specticide. It is a great product that I use all the time. It kills the pests instantly and it also feeds the plant.
Place garlic powder around the base of the plant. They shouldn't cross the garlic powder at all. (07/12/2005)
Try sprinkling cayenne pepper on the ground and some on the plants leaves and the sunflower itself. Ants avoid cayenne pepper. (07/12/2005)
By St. Pete Ken
You didn't say what kind of ants. Sometimes it does make a difference as to what to use on them. We live in Arizona and have huge red ant hills and we pour plain cornmeal on the hills. It kills the suckers, but you'll have to do it more than once because the eggs will hatch out and start raising their young. So keep the cornmeal for them to eat. Also, if you don't mind a chemical, use Home Defense by Ortho. It works wonders on the small ants and also on crickets which we were overrun with. (07/13/2005)
I have the same problem. And these are great ideas.
I've read (but have not yet tried) that ants dislike mint. And many people plant mint around their houses to keep ants away. This is a nice enviro-friendly option for keeping your garden ant free.
For now I am trying ground black pepper around the plants, because they dislike that also. You actually see them run from it. (06/11/2007)
Are you people living in the dark ages? Ants are not eating your sunflowers. You have a fungus infection on the plant which is very common during the most warm and humid months. You need to remove the leaves which are dead for starters and then go to your local store and buy a fungicide to spray the sunflowers. Also, mildew or gray powder mold attacks this same time of year. Do not water the plant at night or dusk. Water only in the morning to give the moisture plenty of time to dry up.
For the most part, those large black ants are beneficial to the plants removing unwanted insects and possibly the fungus. I have degrees in botany and microbiology; ignore the rest unless you want some fun ways to kill ants. (07/11/2007)
You really do not want an "ant free" garden. The ants are killing many of the insects that damage your flowers. The ants are also cleaning up the dead material that could cause disease. Unless you have direct evidence that they are doing damage, respect their role in nature. The large black ants, generally Carpenter ants are more of a danger to house and property. If you are seeing these around the property I would be more concerned about an infestation in the house rather than the ants destroying the plants.
Ants do not like any plant (substance) that creates a strong chemical odor as they function entirely on smell more than sight or hearing. Strong smelling substances can cause them great stress. End of lecture.
Sunflowers can "rust", too. Do not overwater. (07/11/2007)
Don't kill the ants. They are eating away the bad and dead parts of the sunflowers. If you have tobacco streak virus infected plants they might help keep it from spreading by eating infected parts plants. Ants do not like plants unless they are leaf cutters which is unlikely unless you live in Africa. (05/15/2008)