You often notice ants inside the houseplants, as they are attracted to these plants due to various reasons and can infest this place.
Can Ants Live in Houseplants? Ants can live in houseplants because they are attracted to plant sap, live inside the soil, enchanted by the aroma, eat their leaves to get nectar, get food from other insects on plants, and find a food source nearby. You can use lemon and citric juice, white vinegar, homemade ant killer, essential oils, and repotting the soil to get rid of these ants.
Ants are the most common specie that can enter any place in the house and make their colonies and nests if they find a suitable condition in this place.
Indoor plants are their favorite, as they get the necessary food products and other essential things to survive inside the house.
Why do ants live in houseplants?
They live in the houseplants for many reasons and lay eggs there to build the colonies. Some of the reasons for ants inside indoor plants are listed here.
Attracted to plant sap
Plants contain sap inside the roots and the leaves, and there are two kinds of saps inside the leaves, such as Phloem and Xylem.
Most insects are attracted to the Phloem sap, which contains different food nutrients, inorganic salts, waste materials, and nitrogenous compounds.
Ants are attracted to this plant sap because it contains more sugar, and the insects releasing the sugar or honeydew reside inside these plants, which causes the ants to live inside them.
Live inside the plant soil
Plants’ soil contains different organic matter, which attracts ants to the potted soil, and they live inside the pots.
The soil provides them shelter, and they build their nest and colonies inside the soil. Moreover, you water the flowers daily to keep them alive and fresh.
The moisture inside the soil also causes the insects to come and live there, which leads to infestation if you do not get rid of them soon.
They can lay their eggs inside the soil and protect the larvae until they become adults and start working to get food and reproduce more eggs.
They can decay the soil and flowers if the infestation is severe and you notice it too late, as moisture and dark places are their favorite to live and thrive for a long time.
Enchanted by their aroma
They are attracted to certain plants, as they release scents that captivate the insects towards the flowers and leaves.
Many plants attract ants, such as Peony, Small stonecrop, Roses, Hostas, Yellow Lady slippers, Penstemon, Marigold, and Pumpkin.
They release the aromas which cause the insects to live around them or inside potted soil. They grow slowly, and the flowers grow near the stem.
They lick the plant sap from the flowers and leaves without causing structural damage. Organic mulch attracts them because it provides a humid, warm, and suitable environment for these insects to live and reproduce.
Eat the plant leaves
Ants are the insects that love nectar, and they eat the leaves, flowers nectar, and fungus on the leaves. They bite the leaves, take the leaves into their nest, and allow the fungus to grow on them.
The fungus causes the leaves to root and break down the cell wall, which makes it easy for ants to eat them. Different plants produce sugar nectar, which attracts them to live in the houseplants and get their food from the nutrients and nectar.
They can tunnel deep down the soil and eat the seeds. Therefore, they prefer to live in angiosperm plants, which produce flowers, seeds, nectar, and fruits to get their food easily without much hard work.
Get food from other insects
Ants are attracted to other insects residing on the houseplants, such as aphids, mealy bugs, whiteflies, and scales. For example, aphids release honeydew, which causes them to attract to the plants residing in aphids.
They protect the aphids from predators to keep getting the honeydew from these insects, as they share a good relationship. They help and protect each other from predators and work for mutual benefits.
The Insects like scales and mealy bugs release sugar secretions, which attract the ants, and make their nests inside the houseplants.
Indoor plants are safe to build a colony
They are safe for the ants to build their nests because of the warm, damp, and comfortable environment.
They prefer to live in warm, dark, and moist places because they can reproduce, lay eggs, and save their larvae from predators.
They can live there for months if you do not notice them, and they start increasing their numbers to form colonies or nests.
The warm and comfortable environment causes the larvae to grow faster and multiply into hundreds. Then, they hide deep inside the soil and move out to get food for their teammates.
They can travel to other places inside the house if they sense any danger in their old living place and infest different places.
Find a food source
There are chances that the ants live inside the indoor plants if they find another food source near this place, such as if you place the flower pots inside your kitchen for decoration.
They can easily travel to the food sources, take the desired food from this place and move back towards the potting soil to live there. Plants serve as shelter for them while they get food from a nearby source to survive.
What types of ants live in the houseplants?
Different ants are present inside the houseplants, such as carpenter ants, fire ants, sugar ants, crazy ants, pavement ants, and little black ants.
They find their food sources inside the soil, sweet flower nectar, moisture, and insects present on the pants. These insects tend to enter the house in different seasons and find a suitable place to survive and hide.
Some of these ants can damage the other property in the house, as they can chew the wooden furniture and enter the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom to find a food source.
Which houseplants repel the ants?
Many plants, such as lavender, peppermint, sage, rosemary, spearmint, catnip, thyme, and basil, repel them because they hate their aroma.
Lavender has a sharp smell that repels these insects, and they do not want to come near them to get food or nectar. Peppermint and spearmint also act as repellants for ants because they do not like the aroma of mint these plants produce.
You can place them inside the house where you observe the insect infestation, and it keeps them at bay from entering the house and plants.
Basil plant needs a lot of sunlight to grow and survive, and it is better to place it in your living room or kitchen where direct sunlight can enter.
In addition, it will deter the ants, especially in summer when sunlight causes these insects to keep at bay from these plants.
How to get rid of ants in the houseplants?
It is better to get rid of these insects from the houseplants because they can damage the soil, flowers, and leaves if the infestation becomes severe.
You can use lemon or citric juice to keep them away from the flower pots, such as fill a spray bottle with lemon juice and apply on the leaves.
People use citric acid and white vinegar to kill these insects inside the potted soil. You can pour ½-1 liter of white vinegar inside the pot, which destroys their nests and colonies and stops further infestation.
Use essential oils, like tea tree oil, which causes them to die due to the natural ingredients and the sharp odor.
You can make a natural ant killer at home by mixing equal parts of borax and sugar and adding half a cup of water.
Stir the thick solution well and leave it near the nest. Ants are attracted to sugar and take it to their nest. However, the borax can cause them to die when they eat the sugar mixed with the borax.
It is better to repot the plant if the infestation is severe and natural methods to kill these insects do not help. Remove the soil from the pots, and put fresh and new ones to avoid further insects inside the houseplants.