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  • Writer's pictureAri Tenenbaum

San Diego Landscape Pest Alert!!!

Ants can be a major pest even in the landscape! This year has been a particularly bad year for Argentine ants which are the predominant variety encountered here in San Diego homes and landscapes. Most people know that ants are pests in the house but they can also be a major problem for plants and trees. Argentine ants have a mutualistic relationship with many sucking insects (think aphids, white flies, scale bugs, etc.). When you find aphids or whiteflies more often than not, you will also find a trail of busy ants shuttling around the pests and harvesting their sugary poop (also called ‘honeydew’).

Ants, aphids, and white flies on a newly planted Mandevilla vine. Photo: Revolution Landscape

For situations where ants are “farming” aphids or other sucking pests on your plants, it’s not enough to treat for only the pest. Controlling the ants is critical to ensure your plants stay healthy. Ants and their corresponding pests can be especially harmful for new plantings so it’s important to keep a close watch out immediately after planting. We recommend using borax based bait stations to control ants in your yard. Borax based traps can be purchased at Home Depot or other garden and hardware stores that sell pest control items. Since bait stations take time to be effective, it’s also good to use a hose to spray down heavily infested plants a few times a week. This helps knock off pests and ants to give the plant some immediate relief.

The best way to keep ants and their associated pests in check, is to try to catch infestations early. For new plantings, you should put bait stations out at the first signs of ant activity. Don’t wait until you find pests covering your plants!

California Lilac (Ceanothus spp.) with a severe ant infestation with browning leaves is sadly beyond saving. Photo: Revolution Landscape

If you have a landscape project you’ve been wanting to tackle and what to know how Revolution can help, respond to this email!


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