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Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:13 pm
Location: Carrollton, Ky

sugar ants in my lime tree

Hi everyone, I'm Frinda writing from Kentucky. I'm a long time organic gardener. I have a potted lime tree overwintering in my greenhouse. For the past couple of years, I've had sugar ants in it; really, they're pretty good farmers. They bring scale (their "cows") into the tree, wait for the scale to suck juices from the tree and then they eat the honeydew. I admit I admire their industry, but I'm getting tired of it. Twice a week, I have to examine each leaf and branch and kill the "cows". But this year, the ants are super industrious. They are back at it in mass every day, and I'm ready to send them to organic heaven. I've tried sprinkling diatomaceous earth to no avail. I've powdered the earth with boracic acid but they aren't interested. Tried a Pyrethrum spray; nothing phases them. So now I'm thinking of trying a neem oil spray and see how that goes. Maybe a summer oil spray? But then I'd have to wait for reliably warm weather; it'd be too messy in the green house. Any suggestions?

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Green Thumb
Posts: 456
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:42 pm
Location: North Central Illinois

Re: sugar ants in my lime tree

buy a bag of lemons...squeeze the juice into the soil entrance for the little pests and slice the rinds around the area and leave them there.
Another fix pour lines of bone meal or powdered charcoal around you lime tree, ants back away from it.

Posts: 11357
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: sugar ants in my lime tree

Use outdoor terro bait and place them at the base of the tree. Usually one or two is enough. Make sure you read the directions on how to activate the trap. I gave one to someone for the rose garden and when I went to visit, I found he had not activated the trap.

Hose down the tree with a a jet of water to dislodge as many of the citrus aphids as you can.

The bait takes a while so you may have to wait at least a month to see results. Continue to hose down the aphids. The aphids are feeding on the new leaves and it usually stops when the leaves age. Predators will not go near them as long as the ants protect them.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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