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I've had a panda plant indoors in my office, by a west-facing window for about 6 months or so. Yesterday I found that there are red/brown ants around my plant and it is obvious that their target is actually my plant.

The only possible reason I can think of, is that the ants are attracted by the organic fertilizer I added to the surface of the soil a few weeks ago. The fertilizer is black, and has a cylinder shape, about 1cm long each. The instruction from the fertilizer bottom said that they can be added to the surface or mixed into the soil. So, to keep it simple, I just added it to the surface. Yesterday I saw that there's white mold on the top of the fertilizer granules, so I removed them, hoping that they will disappear the next day.

However,some of the ants still remained in the dish used to hold the excess water, and I had to kill them manually. I would like to take it back home and spray some pesticide on it. I hope they are not building a nest inside (the pot is small though, about 10 cm long).

What could be the reason for the appearance of ants?

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The ants were gone after I had sent it back to home. I don't know why. –  lamwaiman1988 Oct 23 '11 at 17:01
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What could be the reason for the appearance of ants?

As far as I'm aware (which means very little) most species of ants don't feed on living plants... Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this.

Ants coming indoors is "generally" a sign their food sources are in short supply outside, thus they move inside looking for food, or they have been attracted by a smell they associate with food...

Therefore I'm thinking possible reasons for seeing ants around your indoor Panda plant:

Biology and habits via Ants article on University of Missouri Extension website:

Ants are omnivores and search for a variety of foods. The search for food is the primary reason ants enter buildings and become pests. The search for food typically involves individual ants meandering away from the nest. When an ant discovers food, she takes a straight route back to the nest and lays a scent trail as she returns. Other workers follow her scent trail to the discovered food and recruit large numbers of their nestmates to quickly exploit it. When the food source is liquid, workers consume it and store excess in their bodies to regurgitate and share with the rest of the colony. When the food is solid, the ants transport it back to the nest, where larvae convert it to liquid and then feed it back to workers. The most common natural food source for ants is honeydew. Honeydew is a liquid excretion made by insects such as aphids, mealybugs and scales. Often ants guard these insects as they feed on plant leaves, stems or roots in order to have unlimited access to the honeydew they produce.

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Inspect the plant for other critters that ants like. They're small - easy to overlook. Aphids and mealybugs are pretty obvious once you look closely. If you don't see them, google-image for pictures of plant scale, then check for that. If you didn't know it's a bug, you'd think it's just some kind of minor plant defect.

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