What problem do ants cause on sunflowers, what did I do and how did the ants deal with it in a way I had never seen before.
Almost a month and a half ago, I sowed sunflower seeds in the seedbed. They went very well and almost all the seeds germinated.
When the seedlings grew enough I transplanted them into the garden.
Everything was going well. The suns were growing fast. We will eat sunflower seeds from the garden I thought. And by then we will have some very pretty and large flowers to beautify the garden… I thought.
The problem with ants and plants
But I was calculating without the innkeeper or the ants.
Small black, fast ants that had an anthill about 5 feet away from where I had planted the sunflowers.
Until the plants reached a height of about a foot tall, they didn’t bother them. The ants didn’t bother with them.
But about a week ago, the attack began.
Hundreds of small black ants were concentrated in one spot on the stem a few centimeters above the ground.
They were biting and cutting off small pieces of the outer bark of the stem and carrying them to their ant nest. They created a wound that kept getting bigger and bigger.
When they were able to make a wound so large on the plant that it literally cut itself and fell down, they focused on the next one.
I could no longer sit as a mere observer and watch the ants destroy the suns. I had to confront them.
How do you deal with ants in the garden?
I didn’t want to use chemicals and insecticides to deal with ants.
I preferred to use natural, organic if you will, materials.
You will easily find that the suggested ways to deal with ants in the garden with simple, natural, eco-friendly means are as follows:
Chalk is utilized only when the problem exists in pots. Use real chalk (not synthetic). Make a chalk outline around the rim of the pot with the chalk. Ants do not cross this border.
In theory, black pepper repels ants.
Red pepper (chilly)
It was the first one I tried. I sprinkled red hot pepper around the sunflowers. Result? The ants weren’t even bothered. I, for one, am burning up with this pepper.
I’m not going to throw salt around plants and destroy them. I didn’t use that way.
Baking soda and powdered sugar
Mix them in a 1:1 ratio and put the mixture near the ant nest. I didn’t try it.
Water + vinegar
Mix water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. Pour it in and around the ant nest. I didn’t try it.
Squeeze lemons and pour the juice in and around the anthill. I didn’t try it.
Orange peel decoction
Boil orange peels with water and pour the decoction in and around the ant nest. I have not tried it.
Pour cinnamon around the plants. I tried this and had some success. It reduced the number of ants approaching the plants. But it didn’t deter them 100%. Downside, as with other methods, is that you have to repeat the cinnamon application after each watering.
Pour boiling water in and around the anthill. Immediate effect, but brutal.
Do not pour boiling water on or around the plants!
Borax (Borax, Borax, Sodium Difluoride)
Pour borax powder around plants. It works! Check this article.
We place duct tape around the area we want to protect. There is special insect tape with strong adhesive. The ants stick to it and can’t get past the barrier.
I put duct tape to protect the plant
I wrapped duct tape around the stem of the sunflowers. I put it where the ants were attacking and creating a wound on the sunflower shoot.
But instead of duct tape for insects, which I didn’t have, I used paper masking tape. This tape has a much weaker adhesive.
The ants were able to get past the duct tape, but with difficulty.
However, the intervention seemed to discourage them and their numbers on the plants decreased dramatically.
The score is Elias – Ants: 1 – 0.
The ants were smarter than I thought!
12 hours later, I was in for a big surprise!
The ants had managed to get past the obstacle!
What did they do? How did they do it?
They went and stuck small pieces of dirt and rocks onto the duct tape so they could walk on materials that don’t stick!!!
I had never seen that before!
I couldn’t imagine that ants would do something like that! They would act like mechanics. Like soldiers dodging an obstacle.
The photo below, shows the achievement of the ants!
The score is Elias – Ants: 1 – 1.
What are the ants doing now?
The ants have stopped eating the stalk.
They are now concentrating on the leaves. They open a wound in the leaves and expand it.
What is it that makes sunflowers so appealing to ants?