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Do ants eat roots of plants?



 
 
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  #1  
Old 30-05-2006, 01:05 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Do ants eat roots of plants?

A few weeks ago I planted some cabbages, brussels sprouts and brocoli.
All seemed well until I noticed half the brocoli were wilting very
badly. I had put Chlorophos around the stems which I hate using but I
found all organic methods don't work against cabbage root fly. I dug up
some of the wilting plants and there was no sign of cabbage root fly
grubs or any other for that matter but the roots were teeming with
ants. I had always thought ants were harmless but the evidence looks
convincing. Has anyone else had this problem?
Malcolm

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  #2  
Old 30-05-2006, 07:44 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Do ants eat roots of plants?


In article ,
"Des Higgins" writes:
| "Malcolm" wrote in message
| ups.com...
|
| A few weeks ago I planted some cabbages, brussels sprouts and brocoli.
| All seemed well until I noticed half the brocoli were wilting very
| badly. I had put Chlorophos around the stems which I hate using but I
| found all organic methods don't work against cabbage root fly. I dug up
| some of the wilting plants and there was no sign of cabbage root fly
| grubs or any other for that matter but the roots were teeming with
| ants. I had always thought ants were harmless but the evidence looks
| convincing. Has anyone else had this problem?
| Malcolm
|
| At a guess, the ants do not eat the roots as such but are trying to make a
| nest underneath them and that will make it hard on the cabbages??

It is more likely that the roots are being attacked by something else,
and the ants are either preying on the parasites or milking them for
honeydew. They are more-or-less irrelevant either way.

In my experience, the only approach is to replant.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
  #3  
Old 30-05-2006, 08:20 PM
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Posts: 2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm
A few weeks ago I planted some cabbages, brussels sprouts and brocoli.
All seemed well until I noticed half the brocoli were wilting very
badly. ... no sign of cabbage root fly
grubs or any other for that matter but the roots were teeming with
ants. I had always thought ants were harmless but the evidence looks
convincing. Has anyone else had this problem?
Malcolm
I had the same problem and symptons, and I'll share my case in case it helps to answer Malcolm's question.

- Planted cabbages and brussels sprouts a few weeks ago just like Malcolm
- First noted some plants wilting, and ants around the stalk/roots
- on digging up also found what appears to be a "chafer grub" (http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0402/chafer.asp) which does feed off roots and so would explain the problem Malcom and I have had
- BUT - everyone i asked at garden centre (and this is backed up by internet evidence ) says that chafer grub should not be present until "late June to July". In face those companies selling biological controls for chafer grub will only sell it in July!
- So it could be a vine weevil larvae, which is similar. However the vine weevil larvae is shorter (c. 1 cm) and has no legs - what i have in my garden is around 2cm long and has legs , so def. a chafer grub.

So either (a) ants are destroying the roots -mi've never heard of this before, or (b) i have a very very early chafer grub

Malcolm - are you sure there is no sign of chafer grubs in your plot?

Can anyone shed any light on what to do to control this? Thanks in advance
-
  #4  
Old 30-05-2006, 10:19 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Do ants eat roots of plants?


In article ,
KittenHouse writes:
|
| So either (a) ants are destroying the roots -mi've never heard of this
| before, or (b) i have a very very early chafer grub

Or (c) you have something else. There are lots of other things that
eat brassica roots.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
  #5  
Old 31-05-2006, 12:26 AM
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KittenHouse
- on digging up also found what appears to be a "chafer grub"
I found one of these in the roots of a poorly acer (in a pot) a couple ofweeks ago. Maybe the chafer grubs didn't read that chapter which said they aren't supposed to be out yet.
  #6  
Old 31-05-2006, 11:21 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Do ants eat roots of plants?

Let me clarify a couple of points. I planted cabbages, brussel sprouts
and broccoli all in the same bed a few feet apart. ONLY the broccoli
has been attacked. Secondly it is not a case of ants burrowing under
the plants and leaving roots high and dry, the roots have been removed
from the stem so if I pull gently on the plants the stem easily snaps
off a few mm below ground level leaving the root ball in the ground
(just like cabbage root fly).
I have pulled up several plants and examined them fairly carefully
(with the root ball) and I can see no sign of grubs at all. I have had
experience of chaefer grubs before particularly where I have emptied
spent hanging basket compost on the vegetable plot but I have always
found them easy to see.
The only things I can see are ants!

  #7  
Old 31-05-2006, 03:56 PM
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Posts: 15
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang
I found one of these in the roots of a poorly acer (in a pot) a couple ofweeks ago. Maybe the chafer grubs didn't read that chapter which said they aren't supposed to be out yet.
I have been digging up chaffer grubs in my veg patch since the ground became diggable in march. To be honest, I thought that the grubs overwintered in the soil and came out as beetles in the summer.

Maybe the ants have disturbed the soil round the roots so much that not enough water is getting to the plant?

Darren
  #8  
Old 01-06-2006, 03:19 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Do ants eat roots of plants?

Malcolm,

how dry was it around the broccoli? I sowed some swede seed a couple of
weeks ago in a raised bed and popped a cover over the top as it was tipping
it down at the time and it stayed there for a week.

removed it and thinned the swede and there was a lot of ant activity as the
soil had been kept quite dry. A good drenching and they seem to have
buggered off. Same would happen if other beasties had been around as well,

Jim

"Malcolm" wrote in message
ups.com...
A few weeks ago I planted some cabbages, brussels sprouts and brocoli.
All seemed well until I noticed half the brocoli were wilting very
badly. I had put Chlorophos around the stems which I hate using but I
found all organic methods don't work against cabbage root fly. I dug up
some of the wilting plants and there was no sign of cabbage root fly
grubs or any other for that matter but the roots were teeming with
ants. I had always thought ants were harmless but the evidence looks
convincing. Has anyone else had this problem?
Malcolm



  #9  
Old 02-06-2006, 12:12 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Do ants eat roots of plants?


Jim wrote:
Malcolm,

how dry was it around the broccoli? I sowed some swede seed a couple of
weeks ago in a raised bed and popped a cover over the top as it was tipping
it down at the time and it stayed there for a week.

removed it and thinned the swede and there was a lot of ant activity as the
soil had been kept quite dry. A good drenching and they seem to have
buggered off. Same would happen if other beasties had been around as well,

Jim

It was very moist at the time. I decided to water some Pyrethrum around
the roots which seems to chased them away. I must confess I am
wondering if it is worth growing brassicas. I have to put nets over
them to keep the pigeons off, Chlorophos for cabbage root fly, now
ants?? and in mid summer the cabbage white butterflies!!

Malcolm

  #10  
Old 02-06-2006, 01:02 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Do ants eat roots of plants?

On Fri, 2 Jun 2006 11:12:29 +0100, Malcolm wrote
(in article . com):

snip I must confess I am
wondering if it is worth growing brassicas. I have to put nets over
them to keep the pigeons off, Chlorophos for cabbage root fly, now
ants?? and in mid summer the cabbage white butterflies!!


We grow very little veg but when I did have a veg garden some years ago, I
took the view that I wouldn't grow things that are comparatively cheap to
buy. Instead, we stuck to things that were either more expensive or really
did need home-grown flavour e.g. tomatoes and asparagus, new potatoes, that
sort of thing.

--
Sacha
www.hillhousenursery.co.uk
South Devon
email address on web site

  #11  
Old 28-06-2010, 03:23 AM
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Jun 2010
Location: Inland California, USA
Posts: 1
Default

I HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT THE ANTS DO DESTROY THE ROOTS. MAYBE THEIR NOT EATING THEM BUT THEY ARE TUNNELING THROUGH THEM AND KILLING THEM. I JUST PULLED UP TWO OF MY POTATO PLANTS THAT WERE DOING SO GREAT AND THE ANTS HAVE TUNNELED THROUGH THEM AND KILLED THEM IN TWO DAYS.
  #12  
Old 27-05-2012, 03:30 PM
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: May 2012
Posts: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloBaroness View Post
I HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT THE ANTS DO DESTROY THE ROOTS. MAYBE THEIR NOT EATING THEM BUT THEY ARE TUNNELING THROUGH THEM AND KILLING THEM. I JUST PULLED UP TWO OF MY POTATO PLANTS THAT WERE DOING SO GREAT AND THE ANTS HAVE TUNNELED THROUGH THEM AND KILLED THEM IN TWO DAYS.
Dont know if im doing this right,and I know its an old post,but I have exactly the same problem.Ants are definatly eating the stems of both cabbage and broccolie in my garden.Thers no other pests in evidence and they are attacking the stems at ground level,no evidence of root or any other areas just the stems
 




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