Ants can increase problems with honeydew producers such as soft scales, mealybugs,
whiteflies, and aphids. They can protect these pests from natural enemies and move them around the plants,
enhancing an infestation. A long line of ants going up a tree trunk is a clue that there may be a problem.
Ants also can disrupt the biological control of some non-honeydew producing pests, such as mites and armored
Deny ants access to plant canopies by pruning branches that provide a bridge between buildings,
other plants, or the ground, and applying sticky material to trunks. Do not apply material directly to the
bark of young
or thin-barked plants or plants that have been pruned, as the material may have phytotoxic effects. Wrap
the trunk with a strip of fabric tree wrapper duct tape and apply the sticky material to it. Remove the old
or tape and apply new material as needed to prevent girdling injury to the trunk.
One way to control ants is to use sweet but toxic baits. Baits in the form of ant stakes
or traps can be an effective way to get poison into the nest. Ants are attracted to the bait and carry portions
of it back
the nest where it is given to other ants. Place traps where ants can easily find them but away from small
children. Control with baits may take several weeks or more to be complete. Effectiveness varies with
ant species, bait material, and availability of alternative food. Argentine ants are the easiest to control
with baits. Granular bait products containing hydramethylnon as the active ingredient and ant stakes with
bait have been effective at controlling some ant species.
For more information on managing ants, see the
Ants Pest Note.
Ants tending woolly aphids