Argentine Ants in your Roses

Argentine ants are an absolute menace.

They are farmers, spreading weeds. Ranchers, tending to and hearing aphids, scale, and subterranean scale. They also spread disease from one plant to another. In other words, they are a gardener's enemy.

Something I have noticed in my garden and in the gardens of others, Argentine ants like white, cream, and pale color roses. I don’t know why but none of my other roses have such a recurring problem with them. This is part of why I have so few pale roses.

So what can you do to get rid of them? Slow acting ant bait. As quick kill baits only kill the workers, not the queens. And yes I said, queens. Argentine ant colonies normally have three or more queens.

Why not sprays or dust? The use of residual sprays or dust stresses ant colonies, causing them to split into sub-colonies and scatter. This scattering multiplies the number of ant colonies and thereby multiplies your ant problem.

Ants not taking the bait? Switch it up. There are three types of bait and you need to cater to what the ants are looking for. One is protein, another is fat/grease-based and the last is sweet/carbohydrate-based.

Not sure what they want? Put out a sampling of all three and see what they take. When you know, focus on that. If they stop taking the bait but aren’t gone, put out the samples again. Keep doing this, eventually, you’ll get them.

Taking too long? Well, the best thing to do is remove other food sources but you can’t just dig up your rose or other plants. So try this; find the ant trails leading to the plant, put the bait that they currently like next to the trail, sprinkle a barrier of diatomaceous earth around your plant, sit and wait.

I hope this helps. Any questions or comments let me know in the comment section and I will get back to you.

By Jessica Lyle