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My garden is full of ants, but I thought they are harmless and so I have been putting up with them till now. However, yesterday I noticed that a pot plant has some aphids in it, and a lot of ants were running up and down the plant and there was a distinct ant-full path to the plant.

I found some similar questions here, but I want to ask the following: Should I fight the aphids or the ants first, and how?

I would like to use bio/organic/safe ways of getting rid of the pests.

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When you can, could you post pictures? –  Om Patange May 14 '12 at 10:29
    
(Un)Fortunately, the pests were gone when I checked again on them. The plant was sprayed with Calendula infusion and moved away from other plants. I think this also confused the ants and they left it alone. –  nettle May 22 '12 at 7:44
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You might have a case of ants farming the aphids. If this is the case, tackling the aphids will not likely be productive as the ants will just replace the aphids. I suspect you will need to attack the ant nest directly. The suggestion I thought would work best from the above link was pouring boiling chili water down the nest.

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Yes, I think the ants were farming the aphids - they were of the green winged type. I was thinking of using natural repellents for the ants. Actually, I have put some cinnamon sticks and citrus peels around the flower pots, as they are supposed to repel ants. –  nettle May 14 '12 at 12:33
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Use neem oil or soapy water/insecticidal soap for the aphids. Most species of ants are slightly beneficial, except when they are running a protection racket on some aphids.

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I have never before heard of neem oil, but after visiting this page discoverneem.com I think I'll give it a try. Not sure if it is sold here in Bulgaria, I may have to order it online. Do you know of some reputable sellers of neem oil? –  nettle May 15 '12 at 7:35
    
In the US, it typically is sold as a treatment for roses, etc. there is usually a dusty shelf at the home improvement store that has "organic" pest and weed control stuff. –  Grady Player May 15 '12 at 12:33
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A teaspoon of dish soap mixed with a quart of water and sprayed on will knock down the population of aphids and kill some ants. Leave it on a minute or two and give the plant a good wash down afterwards with water. (This is in case it is a plant with delicate leaves like lettuce or the mixture has too much soap and the fatty acids burn the leaves.)

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The infested flower is Petunia, as far as I know Petunias have a weakness for aphids. –  nettle May 14 '12 at 12:35
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