FOLLOW ANT TRAILS TO UNCOVER PESTS
Ants can be a real nuisance in the garden, but be sure to carry out a little detective work before you deal to them. If you notice an ant trail climbing a stem or scouting ants exploring a leaf, check to see where they’re going. Ants feed on the sweet honeydew excreted by sap-sucking insects, so following these trails will often lead you to well-hidden pests – like the aphids hiding under an eggplant leaf (pictured).
Soapy water, a squirt with the hose or squashing with your fingers will control the aphids, which reproduce parthenogenetically and viviparously, meaning that a single female can produce offspring without a male and the babies are born live, rather than hatching from eggs. Keep checking to see if the infestation has returned, as aphid populations can build up rapidly.
Track the ant trail back in the other direction to ground zero, the nest, as well.
Commercial products for ant control include Kiwicare’s NO Ants Gel Bait or NO Ants Liquid Bait, Yates’ Neverong or diatomaceous earth from www.DENZ.co.nz.