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Ants eating eggplant leaves

Hello there! I am growing a wide range of edibles, including all types of hot pepper, tomatoes, spinach, melons, pumpkins and spinach. I'm also growing eggplant. 

On my one and only eggplant, small black ants seem to be eating up the leaves. I can't see any other creature so I presume it's the ants. How to get rid of them for good? 


  • i'm assuming you're not in the UK (where this forum is based) as we're suffering snow problems at the moment and aubergine growing (what we called egg plant) is a impossibility at the moment

  • pbffpbff Posts: 433

    Hi James,

    Here in the UK, we don't get any ants that eat leaves, although we do get ants that 'farm' aphids on plants. 

    The aphids suck the sap from the plants and excrete the waste as sugar-rich honeydew, which the ants feed on. 

    The ants move the aphids around to new feeding sites and protect them in return.

    I know that Leaf-Cutter Ants, that cut leaves to feed the fungi that they have in their nests, are found in some parts of the world, although I'm not sure whether they're present in Indonesia?

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    Hi James.  Without seeing a bug photo, I would agree with pbff.

    Ants on your plants would indicate an aphid infestation, which the ants are farming. To get rid of the aphids I would either squish them off by hand, or you can blast them off with a strong jet of water.  

    Steer clear of using pesticides on your edibles.

  • Thanks for the replies. Correct I'm not living in the UK, though I am British. I'm living in tropical Indonesia. I've carefully checked the leaves and I couldn't see any other creatures. Are there any microscopic pests? 

    The bottom two leaves were almost completely eaten away and turned yellow. I had topped/pruned the top of the plant just below the V/Y point to encourage more growth below, which is working! Could this stress be the cause? Could it be some sort of deficiency? 

    Have attached some pics. Thanks! imageimageimageimage

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    James, I can see some tiny bugs in the second photo, not aphids though (I think?), more like some kind of whitefly type bug.  I'm no bug expert, hope someone else can ID it.

    Where the stems have been completely chomped, I'd suspect slugs as the culprit in the UK.  Have had similar problems with my cucumbers in the past.  Do you have slugs/snails in your plot in Indonesia?

  • Thanks for the reply Kitty 2. Not seen any slugs at all, though we do have them here. Do you mean the bottom two stems? If yes, I pruned them myself. 

    Actually I did notice a load of mealy bugs on my chili plants the day after, though couldn't see any on the aubergine. It was probably some small critters the eye can't see. 

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