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Ants on succulents are never a welcome sight and can be frustrating at the same time, as they tend to come back to your plant even after you get rid of them!
Good thing there are some ways you can try to remove and keep them out of your succulents. Read on to learn more!
Seeing a few ants here and there on your succulent isn't really harmful to succulents. However, if you see a trail of ants starting to busily work their way to the plant may mean trouble, so quickly do a thorough inspection to your succulent to check any signs of pests infestation.
You see, ants are usually an indicator that your succulent is under attack by mealybugs or aphids, as tiny insects produce some sweet and nutritious honey-like substances called honeydew that ants love to farm to feed their colonies.
Step 1: Isolate the affected succulent to keep your other plants safe. After that, do a thorough check on your succulent to determine whether the ants are harvesting food from other pests (aphids or mealybugs). Keep in mind that they tend to hide in crevices of leaves or inside the rosettes of the succulent, so you need to inspect closely.
Step 2: Place a small, shallow dish of borax-based ant baits (or any food that contains sugar and oil) near the base of the succulent to draw most of the ants away from the succulent, and at the same time, kill them.
Step 3: Once the majority of the ants are gone, wash off the remaining on your succulents using a steady stream of water from a garden hose or by submerging the plant (until the soil's surface) in a solution of 1 to 2 tablespoons insecticidal soap to 1-quart water to kill those that are living in the soil, then eliminate all the ants you can find on each plant's leaves and stems by gently brushing them off.
If ant infestation has become too serious, it’s best to just discard the old, infested soil through repotting. This way, you'll not only be eliminating all the ants from your succulents but also allow you to give the plant fresh, new soil. Just make sure to wear a pair of gloves before unpotting your succulents, then wash off the ants from the roots with water until they are gone.
Step 4: Next is to remove the ants' food source from your succulent (aphids or mealybugs, and their honeydew). Start by wiping the plant using a soapy sponge to remove the honeydew, then spray the plant with 70% isopropyl alcohol to kill the aphids or mealybugs.
You can check out our COMMON PESTS & DISEASES TREATMENT article to get more information about treating pests from succulents.
1. If you choose to repot your succulent, you can
place a square of the fine-mesh screen in the pot
before planting your succulent with fresh, new soil. This should help prevent the ants from entering the drainage hole.
2. Aside from putting fine-mesh, you may also create a barrier around the pot of your succulent using ant powder or diatomaceous earth to keep the ants away from your succulents.
3. Move your succulent in a different location or simply surround it with a moat to prevent the ants from coming to your plant again. To do this, simply add water to a bowl or other shallow container and set the pot on stones, bricks, or any short platform to keep the roots of your succulents dry while you fill the container/bowl with water.
4. Since ants don’t like strong acidic substances, you can also spray some lemon juice on the pot to keep them at a distance from your plants. Do this by simply squeezing a lemon in a small spray bottle and just spray it on the pot.
5. Ants don't like the strong smell of mint as well. With that in mind, you can also put a few drops of mint essential oil in the saucer or on the pot to keep the ants away while you enjoy its reinvigorating smell.
For Types of Succulents Careguide. Read more information here.
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