Ants In My Plants (Do I Gotta Dance?)

Tom Stone tstone at
Fri Feb 18 09:27:59 EST 2000

I am conducting plant nutritional trials utilizing drip irrigation ( see
related abstract and progress report) utilizing various nutritional
packages delivered through the drip irrigation.  We are endeavoring to
mimic a hot, arid environment where the only water is provided through
the drip tubing.

Over the past several days, I have been observing ants utilizing the
drip tubes as an expressway through the greenhouse.  This morning, I
observed where they have decided to take up residence in the test
plots.  They are building their mounds in the moist areas created by the
drip tape.  They are ignoring the plants above the surface.  I am
certain that they are there because the drip tubing is the only source
of moisture in the greenhouse.

Not devoting my life to studying ants, I am unsure whether they are
pharaoh ants or sugar ants.  My question is will their presence in and
through the root systems of the plants effect and or damage the plants
and their yields or will they live in perfect harmony?

If they are detrimental to the plants, how should I remove them without
the use of pesticides?
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