Ants’ problem can be annoying because once ants enter anywhere in your apple tree, they leave a trail of pheromones which make other ants follow.
Do Ants Attack Apple Trees? Ants can damage apple trees because they come in search of rotten apples and honeydew produced by aphids. They do not directly attack the apple tree, but they can destroy it while protecting the aphids.
It is better to protect your tree from aphids by removing them with the help of insecticidal. Regularly inspect your tree for any signs of ants and aphids.
Throw away any damaged apple which is still on the tree or dropped anywhere near the tree because the rotten apples attract more ants.
Why do ants attack apple trees?
Once the ants make a nest in your tree, it can be challenging for you and the survival of your apple tree.
They are opportunistic feeders which eat every kind of food because their feeding criteria are vast. They eat anything, including the parts of dead animals, dead insects, grains, and sweet fruits.
They prefer protein-rich foods for their nourishment. Therefore, they need a diet containing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in different quantities.
Honeydew is another reason behind the attack of ants on trees because this sweet sticky liquid attracts ants. It is produced by aphids, which are sap-sucking insects and attack trees, including apple trees.
Aphids attack the phloem sap of the tree, which contains sugars like raffinose, disaccharides, and oligosaccharides. They intake these sugars and excrete them out through the anus resulting in honeydew production.
Honeydew is an obvious sign that ensures their presence on the tree. In addition, aphids can cause damage to trees because it penetrates the poisonous saliva in foliage.
To protect aphids
They not only eat the sugary liquid waste produced by aphids but also protect the aphids from predators, which prey on them. Aphids secrete this liquid to attract, and ants give protection to them in return.
They not only protect the aphids but also help in increasing their production, like farming.
They take good care of aphids by carrying them on the place of new food sources when they are hungry. In protecting them, ants can kill and destroy the eggs of ladybugs which preys on aphids.
They come after the sweet smell of open, damaged, and rotten fruits. They have 4-5 times more odor receptors on their antennae, which makes it easier for them to find food faster.
They instantly spot rotten fruit because the smell of the juice of apples is attractive to ants. Sometimes other insects and birds pick on fresh apples on the trees, which becomes a big reason for ants to attack a tree.
What type of ants damages the apple tree?
Different types of ants live in specific habitats. Few ant species like to live in the gardens and move across apple trees.
Red fire ants
These insects build a dome-shaped nest around the base of the tree and are a danger to young trees and plants. In addition, red fire ants interfere with the cultivation and production of fruits and vegetables.
They are the source of damage to the newly planted trees because they attack and eat the germ of the plant.
They don’t damage the full-grown tree but are harmful to young trees and buddings because the roots are not much deep.
They feed on honeydew, fruit juices, and nectar and prefer trees and stumps.
They make a nest in trees because they reside in those trees which have water infiltration. The damp tree wood attracts the carpenter ants, and they make it hollow in this process.
They are the primary supporter of aphids because they eat honeydew, and Argentine ants reside and make a nest in trees if aphids are there.
In addition, the aphids produce honeydew which also attracts the sooty mold colonies, which do not damage the trees. Still, their rapid growth can interfere with the process of photosynthesis.
How to get rid of ants from apple tree?
Here are easy methods to remove and get rid of ants from apple trees.
Insecticidal soaps are used to kill insects like aphids which causes the ants to infest the apple trees.
It is made by reacting potassium hydroxide with fatty acids, which helps kill insects and cause less damage to the tree.
This soap works like a poison to insects once it meets them. Use freshly made solutions because they can be more effective than the old solution.
Spray it only when you see insects, and avoid spraying on new buds and leaves. Wet all the surfaces where the foliage of the tree is damaged.
Boiling water is an easy and helpful method of removing ants. Boil water and throw it over the group of ants and inside their nest, which they have made in the apple trees. This can kill the insects instantly.
The sticky material works as ant bait because they will stick to this material whenever they pass by it.
Mix borax with any sweet liquid or syrup and apply it on the base of the trunk, which attracts the ants to get them trapped on this material.
Regular trimming can save you from the trouble of insects on plants.
Inspect your tree thoroughly for the presence of aphids if you see too many ants on the tree. Then, trim those branches to avoid their contact with other branches.
It is a white or off-white powder that is the remains of some marine algae. Diatomaceous earth works like a sharp blade on an ant’s body as it gets into the joints of ants.
This powder should be used only when the area is dry, and there is no water to make it wet. Cover your face while sprinkling this powder over the insects because this powder can be harmful to your lungs.
Peppermint oil is an excellent way of getting rid of ants from apple trees because they cannot withstand the smell of this essential oil.
You can make the solution of this and water by adding 30 drops of peppermint oil to a gallon of water.
Spray this solution for their infestation and wherever you see insects on trees. This solution will inhibit the ants from coming to the trees anymore.