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Plants that cutter ants do NOT like?


Ferret
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I'm in a bit of a funk right now. All my bugambilia blew down in a windstorm (43 km gusts) at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday April 16th. Pretty bare out there now.

To add insult to injury, the cutter ants have stripped my Jasmine bush AGAIN. That's twice in the last two months... the Queen must have a serious craving. I don't mind once every six months but this is outta control.

So,(finally) my question is "what plants in YOUR garden do the cutter ants ignore?"

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Your bugambillias will resurface-it is the time of year for them to blow down! Soon the rains will come and they will bloom again.

As for the leaf cutters, you can control them (I have a lot of Jasmine but keep it in large pots) by waiting until dark, use a flashlight to spot their trail and spray the parade of leaf carriers with any household fumigante. I then spray the edges of doors and gates into my property and around the bottom of the jasmine pots and so far, this has worked. And if you go to any large nursery (the ones by Alseseca or La Cristina are very helpful) they will help you choose plants that the ants don't eat.

Best of luck.

 

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In our yard they go for the tender leafs and ignore the tougher ones. So they leave alone the cypress, magnolia, croton, guayaba, some spiny hedge with thick leaves, and ice plants. Also have never eaten the banana trees or birds of paradise. In my herb garden they occasionally attack the basil, but haven't gone for the others (lemon grass, rosemary, oregano, chives).
The list of plants they have gone for is much longer, unfortunately.

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Thanks for all the suggestions... keep 'em coming! I have a garden formulating in my imagination.

There is an Hibiscus on the boulevard in front of my house that has never been touched either. I was kind of shy on those 'cuz I remember some massive infestation of something that originated with Hibiscus. It was so bad statewide that there were environmental people at the bridge between Jalisco and Nayarit checking every car to keep the infestation out of Nayarit. Viveros doing work in Nayarit had to have a special letter allowing plant shipments to pass. Anyone else remember? I have always loved Hibiscus... their leaves and their blossom colour choices.

 

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O.K. - I asked Jabonera, she is really up on all this stuff. Hopefully she will correct me if I am wrong, but she just went through an exhausting move. She already told me how to make tobacco spray for Whitefly. Tobacco is extremely popular here among Mexican gardeners/farmers. The nicotine sulphate is toxic to ants, if they walk through it, they will die. It is important to get the right tobacco though. Many people recommend cheap cigarettes, but the right one is like a brick, it is sold in Soriana garden section for example. I think she said it was "Ace" brand, it is like a tobacco dust. This tobacco is 9 times stronger than cigarette tobacco - it is unsmokable. The other solution, which might shock some of our more gentle forum members :rolleyes:, but she swears it works, is to put a cloth soaked in urine around the base of ant targetted plants. The urine disrupts their scent trails.

Also - if you have porous terracotta pots, you can spray/soak the outside of the pots with tobacco spray

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I would think the tobacco dust would have an extremely unpleasant taste. You will have to do some research on toxicity for pets. I was thinking for outdoor use. If you find a leaf cutter nest, our gardener says you have to use a hand bellow duster to get the dust deep into the nest.

Here is one

https://www.amazon.com/Anteater-PC-68918-Bellows-Duster-BHD001/dp/B004FBKLZE

here is a youtube of it in use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sFceg0oARM

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They eat my hibiscus and most of my other plants. In addition to the above they don't touch my Baby sun rose, Queen's wreath, Spathe, Flame vine, Aloe, Heliconia, Dwarf Poinciana, Bottle brush, bamboo, Ficus, Crown of thorns, palms, Society garlic, Lily of the valley Desert rose, Natal plum, Aguave, Clivia, Begonia, banana, Caladium, wandering jew, Tradescantia pallida, Chalice vine, Morning glory Black eyed Susan vine, Lantana, Gazania. And more.

For plants with single or a few stems I use Tree Tanglefoot. to stop the ants.

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Quote

To protect larger favorite larger plants, you can wrap a couple or few widths of duct tape sticky side out around the stem (any height below first main branch).  This will prevent ascent of the plant until they figure out how to make a bridge of themselves or grass across the tape. They might figure this out in a matter of days or never.   So far after a couple of years of sticky tape treatment, my oleander has been allowed to flourish after several years of being utterly devastated once a year.

 

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The most effective way we found is lavender. Cutter ants love roses. Since planting lavender ...all roses ok.   Our orange tree is another matter. We wrapped the lower part of the tree tightly in foil and put motor oil . Sometimes the oil dries out so I am going to plant lavender there as well.  We tried powders, and pellets and sprays. This was the only thing that worked.  The nests are so far down in the ground that preventing them to attack seemed better for us then trying to kill them later.

 

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16 hours ago, Newjersey expat said:

The most effective way we found is lavender. Cutter ants love roses. Since planting lavender ...all roses ok.   Our orange tree is another matter. We wrapped the lower part of the tree tightly in foil and put motor oil . Sometimes the oil dries out so I am going to plant lavender there as well.  We tried powders, and pellets and sprays. This was the only thing that worked.  The nests are so far down in the ground that preventing them to attack seemed better for us then trying to kill them later.

 

Did you try sticky-side-out duct or sealing tape?  Works great.

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1 hour ago, Sea said:

Most succulents seem to be ignored by cutters. Jasmine are extraordinarily susceptible. I've pulled it out and put in Thunbergia, hardy vine with blue flowers.

The ants like my two different species of Thunbergia. Thunbergia often has disease problems-leaves die and go brown, little white "things" cover the stems and the plant exudes a sticky substance. And the root often gets a huge fungus/worm infection so that the plant has to be cut right back and sprayed.

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Mine just tries to take over the world. It can look bad, mainly when passing cows graze on it. My main problem with it is gardeners trim it as if it were a hedge and it grows thick and wonky, has to be cut back. It gets brown, dead leaves on the inside when sun can't reach. Then it has to be cleaned out aggressively. I must be lucky with mine. Never had fungus or white gooky stuff on it.

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Chillin!

You left out the part that you steep a handful in a gallon of water for a day under the sun, filter it, then SPRAY IT on the plants themselves!  And not at mid-day, either... 

I can't imagine that putting tobacco powder on anything would last more than 5 minutes or the next breeze, dude.  :D

And, um...  I dunno about any "cloth," either...  :unsure:  We used to just send the boys out to annoint the stuff or apply to the ants' TRAILS.  They are not eating the plants - they grow fungus to feed the larvae.  But - they're not so smart.  They dunno where to go without following the pheromone scent trails laid down by the ants before them.  Disrupt that and you get Black Friday in ant land.  So, you put YOUR pheromones (your urine) on THEIR trails...  Confuses them & takes time to send for new troops.  Meanwhile, they begin to attack the ants that got hit directly with your essence - and kill them.  Works a treat on fire ants.  The trick being to spread it OUT, not dump all in one place.  I use a quart sprayer with adjustable nozzle.

The duct tape idea is golden!  I didn't have Tanglefoot or duct tape available in Uruguay where I lived.  It was an adventure, and we were in the middle of the eucalyptus forest. 

Another helper is to put small "feeding stations" like seashells inverted & filled with cornmeal.  They carry this off and, when it eventually gets wet, it produces a gas which is lethal.  You can really set a nest back with this stuff. 

If you have a day off, follow the trail to the nest itself (easy).  Then, begin to bait the trail about 3" to 6" off it, in small amounts throughout the day.  ("Yeah, carry it off, you _______.")

You will need to reapply if it rains.  If you grow in raised beds, also serves as worm food. 

Best vibes.

 

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49 minutes ago, dave0415 said:

Funny. I have 3 and the cutter ants don't go near them

Maybe you have tastier plants nearby.

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