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I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have noticed today that a couple of our Lotus maculatus, aka "Gold Flash", are infested with bugs, as you can see in the picture below. They are in pots, hanging in front of our kitchen window.

Interestingly, there are tons of ants going to those pots. I'm not sure if they are farming those bugs (is that even possible?), somehow feed off the bugs, or if this is completely unrelated. But if they are not going there for the bugs, I'm not sure what else they would find there.

Picture of the plant with bugs

Does anyone know what those bugs are? How would you recommend I approach getting rid of those ants and bugs?

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    Major aphids...easy, easy to control...spray of water, spray of Safer's soap mixture, Neem...I see a few other possible problems that you need to consider. Could you send more pictures? Where are these plants? How much and often do you water? Answers to these questions are as important as the aphids. Or more...what are these plants, what soil are you using how big of a pot or what is the environment around these plants? – stormy Jun 28 '15 at 23:19
  • @stormy Yes! And now I see what is going on: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphid#Ant_mutualism. For sure, ants and aphids are working very well there to kill those plants :). To answer your questions, the plants are Lotus maculatus, and I've been told they need to be watered every day. They're in 2 pots, hanging off the roof, so that's just a couple of cups of water every day. This also means that the ants are doing quite a bit of distance to get there, climbing the side of the house, to come down from the string those pots are hanging by. – avernet Jun 29 '15 at 5:25
  • @stormy BTW, feel free to post this as an answer, and I'll make sure to accept it, thank you! – avernet Jun 29 '15 at 5:25
  • Shoot, avernet, don't know how to do that at this moment. Thanks, tho!! Hey, ants are trying to 'round up' those aphids. They are certainly NOT hurting anything. Ants are cool. These sucking aphids will reduce the vigor of plants. I'd spray at night with NEEM whilst ants (and bees) are in bed. – stormy Jun 29 '15 at 21:20
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Major aphids...easy, easy to control...spray of water, spray of Safer's soap mixture, Neem...I see a few other possible problems that you need to consider. Could you send more pictures? Where are these plants? How much and often do you water? Answers to these questions are as important as the aphids. Or more...what are these plants, what soil are you using how big of a pot or what is the environment around these plants? – stormy 22 hours ago

Avernet, hope this works. Please send a few more pictures. I'm not happy with any general advice saying to water every day. That certainly changes with type of pot, size of pot, environment, season...the aphids should be easy!

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