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Watch out for Ants!

DID YOU KNOW?

Look out for ants on your plants. Though not a direct threat to your plants they are easily seen and could indicate an Aphid infestation.

Ants and aphids share a well-documented relationship that benefits both insects. Aphids produce a sugary honeydew that is deposited on plant leaves. Ants feed of this sugary substance and in exchange, they protect the aphids from predators and parasites.

Aphids suck large quantities of sugar-rich fluids from their host plants in order to gain adequate nutrition. The aphids then excrete equally large quantities of waste, called honeydew, which is high in sugar content.

Where there’s sugar, there’s bound to be ants!

Some ants are so hungry for the honeydew; they’ll actually “milk” the aphids to make them excrete it. The ants use their antennae to stroke the aphids, stimulating them to release the honeydew. Some Ants are known to treat Aphids like cattle; herding them, protecting them from predators and even carry their aphids to a new food source.

Some species of ants continue to care for their aphids during winter. The ants carry the aphid eggs home, and tuck them away in their nests for the winter months. They store the precious aphids where temperatures and humidity are optimal, and move them as needed when conditions in the nest change. In spring, when the aphids hatch, the ants carry them to a host plant to feed.

Aphids are hard to identify at a quick glance but ants are very clear. If you find aphids be sure to treat your plants with SB Plant Invigorator on a regular basis.

 

Plant invigorator small2Using SB Plant Invigorator to control aphids:

Independent research studies have shown that SBPI can be highly effective at controlling aphids if used correctly.

SBPI will produce a significant reduction in aphid numbers if applied thoroughly (to upper and lower leaf surfaces) and to the point, it runs off the leaves. However, certain aphid species are more easily controlled than others are.

Studies have shown that almost total control of many important aphid species can be achieved with just one or two thorough application of SBPI, depending on the severity of the infestation. This includes Pea aphids [Acyrthosiphon pisum], Bean aphid [Aphis fabae], Apple Grain aphid [Rhopalosiphum padi] and Woolly Apple aphid [Erisoma lanigerum]. However, the extremely fast reproduction rate of any surviving aphids could rapidly restore the infestation to original levels if further applications of SBPI are not made at regular intervals. Weekly applications to susceptible plants are recommended.