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Ants attacking my strawberries

Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 181
Hi all,

It seems I've got a load of ants attacking my strawberry plants - is there any way to stop them naturally without causing problems with the fruit?

Thanks in advance!
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  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,899
    Keep the soil well watered.  Give it a really good soaking flood a few times this week, and that should encourage them to move elsewhere.  

    Are they causing damage to the plants?  Are there aphids on the plants and they are collecting the honeydew?  Are they just collecting pollen?  Or have they built a nest in your strawberry patch?
    Utah, USA.
  • Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 181
    Good tip, thanks!
    I should have said that the patch is completely covered in hay which I'm told is something which puts slugs off - is that likely to cause a problem if I flood the patch?

    There's no damage to the plants from what I can see (I'll double-check in the morning). The plants are very healthy it seems - it's just that as soon as a strawberry ripens, the ants are in and chopping away at them. I can't see a nest anywhere or any aphids...
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,899
    Ahh.. I've never heard of ants eating strawberries... but makes sense.  You can flood with the hay there.. just take the hose end off and leave it to pour out on the bed.. move it around as needed.  Don't pour from a height, it will disturb your straw.  
    Utah, USA.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,243
    Slugs will have nibbled the strawbs, and the ants will have moved in.
    Straw/hay doesn't stop them completely from accessing the fruits.  :)
    If there is a nest though, then yes- just water thoroughly to move the ants on. Strawbs need to be kept well watered anyway.
    Keep picking them before they get totally ripe too, as that prevents further damage. The riper they are, the softer they are , and easier to nibble  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 181
    Ahh.. I've never heard of ants eating strawberries... but makes sense.  You can flood with the hay there.. just take the hose end off and leave it to pour out on the bed.. move it around as needed.  Don't pour from a height, it will disturb your straw.  
    Ok great, thanks for the tips! :smile:

    Fairygirl said:
    Slugs will have nibbled the strawbs, and the ants will have moved in.
    Straw/hay doesn't stop them completely from accessing the fruits.  :)
    If there is a nest though, then yes- just water thoroughly to move the ants on. Strawbs need to be kept well watered anyway.
    Keep picking them before they get totally ripe too, as that prevents further damage. The riper they are, the softer they are , and easier to nibble  ;)
    Ah that makes sense - there's a definite nibble on a couple of the strawberries and when I picked them to check I spotted an ant crawling out of it.

    Presumably no water is too much really at this point, just to get rid of the ants?
    I never really knew when to pick the strawberries - would a pinky/red and approximately 2cm wide be enough?  I take it I can then just pop them on the window sill and they will ripen up? :smile:
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,243
    I have lots of strawberries, even though I don't really like them that much!  :D
    I've picked earlier than that and let them ripen indoors, but yes - when they're pinky is fine. Just take a look at them and make a judgement. The size depends on the variety.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • mrtjformanmrtjforman Posts: 331
    edited June 2020
    definetely slugs, ants will lick up the wound created by the slugs. They won't be the perpetrators.

    This year should be intersting at mine, I've never been too successful with strawberries so couple years ago I planted them in all 4 corners of the garden and left them to produce runners. By now they are even trying to colonise my lawn :P Got well over 100 
  • Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 181
    Fairygirl said:
    I have lots of strawberries, even though I don't really like them that much!  :D
    I've picked earlier than that and let them ripen indoors, but yes - when they're pinky is fine. Just take a look at them and make a judgement. The size depends on the variety.  :)
    Haha! Yeah I don't tend to go out of my way to buy them in the shops but thought it would be something different to try to grow - onto my third year and haven't really had a successful crop of it yet! :neutral:
    definetely slugs, ants will lick up the wound created by the slugs. They won't be the perpetrators.

    This year should be intersting at mine, I've never been too successful with strawberries so couple years ago I planted them in all 4 corners of the garden and left them to produce runners. By now they are even trying to colonise my lawn :P Got well over 100 
    Wow that's incredible, great effort!! What's your secret? haha.
  • Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 181
    Ok so I've flooded the raised bed as best I could (most of it soaked in, even standing over it with the hose for 10 minutes!). While there I saw quite a few ants crawling around but no aphids on the plants, and a lot of strawberries that unfortunately were nowhere near maturity being eaten.

    Strangely even a few woodlice were getting interested as I found them inside some strawberries... :confused:
  • PlashingPlashing Posts: 293
    I have had woodlice eat mine,also been attacked by little thread type worms which makes a mess of them.I am keeping my fingers crossed this year because it looks like I will have a reasonable crop especially now we are having some rain,also I have been watering them twice a week and feeding with seaweed extract once a week.
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