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Since spring started around 2 weeks ago, I noticed increasing amounts of ants around my pot plants. Sometimes they like to march over the pots themselves, not sure if they are actually digging into the ground or not at this stage.

So I have a vegetable garden as well, they tend to be around the wooden outlines, I never see them inside my garden (above the ground at least). So in the vegetable garden they appear harmless.

Note: I give my pot plants kelp fertilizer (organic) which smells a bit, so it might be an a(n)ttraction.

Pot plants consist of:

  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Bamboo
  • Bonsai
  • Coffee
  • Succulents
  • Flytraps
  • Nepenthes
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Since you mention Spring beginning, you must be in the southern hemisphere, which means I know less about the kinds of ants you get there. Ants in general though do not all eat plants, though its true to say ants eat almost anything - their preference is for sweet stuff, and where you are, you may have ants that do like certain plants. Usually, they are present on plants because of the presence of scale insect or aphid infestation on the plants (ants like the honeydew these insects produce) and sometimes they choose to create a nest inside the pot if the pot is in contact with the ground on, say, a patio. If they do nest inside, they can and will eat through roots when they need more space, but from your description, it seems the ants aren't lingering around your pot plants, but walking over/through them to get somewhere else, so working out where they're going and what for is probably the best thing to do. Sounds like they're creating a nest or have created one - watching them closely would be useful if you have the time, to see if they're carrying anything. That said, it might be wise to raise the pots off the ground, and to check they aren't going into them.

  • Very well explained. I forgot to mention - The reason for asking the question is because I went to the gardening store recently and saw a pesticide called "No ant" on the shelf. Hence I was a bit sceptic about the ants walking around my plants. I'll keep an eye on them, see what's happening and take it from there. – Rudolph Oct 10 '13 at 16:31
  • those products are quite useful for dusting the space beneath your pots with to discourage ants. Otherwise intended to treat nests and general invasions, often not very successfully. – Bamboo Oct 10 '13 at 16:58

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