Are Ants in My Cucumber Flowers OK?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by via media, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    I have hundreds and hundreds of picnic ants on my cucumber vines. They seem especially attracted to the flowers and are leaving the fruit and leaves alone.

    I hesitate to ask because this is probably a stupid question with an obvious answer but the ants are growing in numbers and I don't want them to carry off the garden one night while I sleep. Do ants need/want pollen? This doesn't seem normal to me. What the heck are they doing if they are not eating my cucumbers???

    (By the way, they are the small black ants that you'll see running in a line across the pavement toward a dropped ice cream cone - not fire ants and not larger carpenter-type ants.)

    /VM
     
  2. BaronsMom

    BaronsMom Well-Known Member

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    Some ants are attracted to nectar. They also groom aphids for their sweet secretions (called "honeydew")

    Most likely these ants won't hurt anything, but they may tell you there are sap sucking bugs on the plant - be sure you look closely at the stems.

    Check out odorous house ants, small honey ants...here:

    http://lancaster.unl.edu/enviro/ants/OdorousAnt.htm

    If you are curious about any insects that may be on your plants, be sure to contact your University Extension office in your county.
     

  3. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    Aha...I didn't even think the ants might be after something other than the plant itself. I need to take a careful look at my plants.

    Thanks, BaronsMom!

    /VM
     
  4. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    if they are not hurting the blooms, and you are still getting a crop, i'd say the ants are doing you a favor by cleaning up the aphids that are on there. ants are attracted to food, (in this case maybe aphids) like so many other lliving things.