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Will red ant colony damage my potato crop?

I was over at the allotment today, and whilst covering the first leaves of the potato crop (Maris Bard) I came across a large red ant colony.

It's our first year on the allotment and we're trying to learn fast! Will these ants damage the crop? If so,what can we do?!

Thanks in advance of any advice!



  • nightgardennightgarden Posts: 112

    Ants don't eat plants so they won't damage your potatoes, they eat aphids so can be a good thing to have around.

  • My garden is full of red ants i wish i could get rid of them, ive bought ant traps but they dont even go in them, anybody got any suggestions, i got bitten last year it stung for 3 days nasty.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,088

    Ants like to be left alone, so as you keep earthing your potatoes up you'll disturb them and they'll move elsewhere - they also prefer dry soil so a little judicious watering will make them think about moving on.

    Enjoy your allotment image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 460

    I always get ants in my dalek composters, I guess the heat helps them raise their brood, they improve the air circulation so aid the composting, I always feel a little guilty when I water or turn the compost!.

  • Pepe2509Pepe2509 Posts: 2

    Thanks everybody for your help and advice! I'm sure I'll need more in the future as we get to know the allotment, but for now I'll just keep earthing the potatoes and hope the ants move on!

  • Many of my potatoes are full of great brown caverns with a smaller entry hole from the outside. I thought it was slug damage, but the caverns are full of ants - very small and slower moving than normal ants

  • Our entire potato harvest on our allotment was ruined last year by ants.  At first we thought it was slugs but as we lifted the crop, we found them full of ants and the tiniest holes on seemingly perfect spuds meant when you cut them open they were full of holes and live ants chomping away.   It was awful.  These were larger ants than usual, with bigger abdomens and a dark brown red colour. 

    Any ideas how we can avoid the same situation this year - ant traps are not really viable in the ground.  Help, please!

    Liz the allotmenteer

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    Added to which the ants' tunnels expose the potato roots to air instead of soil and water so they can't get the water and nutrients they need to thrive and make healthy tubers.    Water generously to move them on and keep hoeing.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    Liz I have no idea if this works but it's something I saw on the net image

    Do you have an ant problem, inside or out... This will get rid of them... Save on your time line by hitting share and you will always have for future reference..
    Ant Killer
    What's so cool about this is, it took them 2 minutes to find it and 5 minutes to fill up ! Wow
    1 empty water bottle
    (Cut it down to about 2" tall)
    5 Tbsp of baking soda
    5 Tbsp of powdered sugar
    3 Tbsp of water.
    The very best way of eliminating ants is truly simple:
    Take a small amount of powdered sugar (also called icing sugar) and mix it with an equal amount of baking soda (formally called sodium bicarbonate) and water.
    Powdered sugar is essential. You cannot use the larger grains of sugar for this..
    Mix the two powders together and then place small amounts against the walls or other areas where you would not normally walk but where you would normally see the ants.
    The ants will be attracted to the sugar and will eat some of it and collect more to take home to feed others, so all of them will get their share.
    The sugar and baking soda powders are similar in size and, once mixed together, the ants cannot separate the two items, so, as they eat the sugar, they will also ingest the baking soda, which they would otherwise never touch. This is the reason for using powdered sugar.
    Once the ants eat the baking soda it will react with the formic acid in their stomachs and cause gas. The bodies of ants are unlike humans and they cannot eliminate gas so it will build up inside and eliminate them

  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    Dunno Edd just something I read and remembered about image

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