I discovered the nectarine below with some small black ants eating the raw flesh. I'm trying to work out if the ants ate through the skin and are the sole cause or if this was started by a bird or a different insect. I guess that my question is: Can this type of ant eat through the skin of a nectarine and are they the pest that needs to be controlled or is it something else?

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Date: 3-May-2015
Fruit/tree: Arctic Star Nectarine

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  • 3
    Looks to me like bird-beak damage being scavenged by ants, but observation beats speculation. Got a camera you can point at the tree?
    – Ecnerwal
    May 3, 2015 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


The fruit will have been damaged by something else - the ants are simply attracted by the sweetness inside the fruit, so they're just being opportunistic. Ants may have been present on the tree already for another reason though - aphid infestation attracts them because they like the honeydew aphids produce, but they only go for the fruits when they're already 'open' because they're damaged.

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