Ants on Weed & How to Get Rid of Them
Sep 2, 2022 Animal and Insect Pests
A common issue cannabis growers might encounter is garden pests. Not all are harmful, but there’s one in particular you may have concerns about. As a cultivator, you probably wonder, “Are weed ants attacking my crop?”
These six-legged critters are essential for the environment but often become a nuisance to gardeners and weed farmers.
The little hive-minds can wreak havoc if left uncontrolled, but we’re here to help!
As we dive into the relationship between cannabis and ants, you’ll find all the answers. Below, we highlight the effects they have on marijuana plants. We show you how to identify an infestation and ways to deal with it by taking preventative measures.
Indication of ants in outdoor cannabis growing
A question many producers pose is, “Are ants attracted to weed?” The simple answer is no, but varying factors state otherwise.
Have you noticed ants on your cannabis recently?
Finding one or two on marijuana isn’t a cause for concern, especially outdoors. If you notice many ants on weed plants, that could indicate an infestation.
Farmers growing outdoor marijuana seeds will benefit the most from recognizing the characteristics of a bug attack.
There are several signs, but detecting an infestation early is key to minimizing damage to your weed caused by ants. The following are additional warnings:
- Noticing earthy mounds
- Pale and drooping plants
- You’re experiencing an aphid, mealybug, or whitefly infestation
To understand why the above signs are essential, we go into deeper detail below.
Many ants in one area are often the first sign that something is off-balance in an ecosystem. Another indication is seeing ants on weed plants—the easiest way to determine if you’re experiencing an infestation. Locating the nest, on the other hand, will require some skill.
Another indication that something is lurking below the surface is anthills. The number of earthy mounds will signal how many nests you’re dealing with, so plan accordingly.
So far, it’s clear these creepy crawlies are unwelcome visitors but do ants like weed? It’s not the marijuana plant or leaves they enjoy but their relationship with other insects like aphids.
Their partnership is the attraction to the honeydew excreted by the other sap-ingesting insects. This begins the process of a full-blown invasion.
If you find ants on your cannabis plant, don’t stress. We guide you through the process of evicting them; first, let’s determine how harmful they are.
Can ants be harmful to cannabis strains?
We’ve established the signs of an ant nest but what’s important is; are they detrimental to marijuana?
The answer is yes; they pose the risk of damaging crops in more ways than one. Here’s how these insects can ruin weed:
- They make nests underground near plants
- Ants damage root systems
- Bud production and quality are affected
The sand mounds these critters build disrupt the absorption of nutrients and water. This damages roots and compromises bud production.
As previously mentioned, ants attract other pests like whiteflies which are equally harmful to plants. The best way to protect weed from ants and other pesky creatures is to act swiftly before they take over.
Luckily, these insects won’t kill marijuana immediately. Although, if an infestation is left unchecked, it can leave minimal crops to harvest.
Ants in cannabis soil
Soil is home to ants; it’s here that they build their colonies deep underground. Unfortunately, the winding tunnels they create are a nemesis to cannabis plants.
Ants are bad for marijuana plants; that’s a fact. The good news is that they’re not entirely awful. These bugs have a lot of good to offer when they’re not destroying crops.
What they do is vital for the health of the soil and harvest. Like earthworms, these insects help to aerate the soil, providing more oxygen to roots. Additionally, they add more nutrients to the ground by decomposing dead insects.
So, even though they’re pests, their presence is sometimes necessary, in moderation.
Growers harvesting indoor marijuana seeds have less to worry about because their soil is mainly protected. Do keep an eye out for unwelcome bugs as there’s a chance an infestation could arise.
We’ve covered the basics, but how do you protect weed from ants? Below we give you the best options to rid your greenery of undesirable guests.
How to get rid of ants from weed plants
When removing ants from cannabis, stay clear of harsh chemicals and pesticides. These do more harm to plants than good. Luckily, there are safer, organic options to eradicate insects.
To follow, we discuss treatments and how to apply them for optimal results.
These methods repel critters from cannabis seeds and greenery.
Organic and natural treatments for removing ants
Use natural techniques to keep your weed safe from ants rather than harmful pesticides that damage soil and plants. Some common ones include:
- Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, or ground coffee: Ants don’t stand a chance against these common household ingredients. These work by sprinkling a tablespoon over an ant-prone area.
- Cornmeal: It’s a coarse material that’s harsh on their guts and kills them when ingested. Pour some into the opening of their anthills for the best results.
- Neem oil: The insecticide compounds found in this extract can be used as a preventative method and treatment for ants on weed plants. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil and five drops of surfactant per 33.8 fluid ounces of water. Pour around crops to repel ants and other pests.
- Garlic: Create a spray with garlic cloves, ½ cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of organic liquid soap, 67 fluid ounces of water, and cheesecloth. Spray directly onto ant-ridden areas.
What we know for sure is; that ants aren’t the kind of insect growers want in their garden. Even though they play an important role in nature, cultivators must take precautions to protect their plants.
If left unattended, weed can fall victim to ants, which is a nightmare for farmers. Especially for those who rely on their harvest as a source of income. Using the ant-repellent methods, it’s possible to keep them from ruining crops and preventing invasions.
Another sure-fire and natural way to remove ants on cannabis plants is to introduce other predatory insects, such as:
- Ladybugs: They feed on aphids, acting as a natural pesticide.
- Green lacewings: Another predatory critter that feeds on aphids and mealybugs.
- Whitefly predator: As its name suggests, these guys feed on whitefly eggs and adults if available.
- Praying mantis: These eat any pest found in your garden and are perfect for protecting your grow.
- Insidious flower bug: Apart from having a cool name, this creature snacks on thrips and burrows into flowers to find more.
- Earthworms: While these don’t control pests, they break down organic material, aerate the earth, and allow better water drainage.
Most of these will protect plants instead of aiding growth. The last bug, earthworms, is a better option because they won’t damage weed.
Remember, if there are ants present in cannabis soil, locate the nest and exterminate them immediately.
FAQ about ants for marijuana plants
We’ve answered all the common questions about ants and cannabis. There are still a few that may be unclear, so we’ll clear them up. The following FAQ should resolve any doubts you might have.
Do ants eat cannabis?
There are many species of ants. Not all of them directly threaten your greenery, but there’s one in particular that harms weed leaves.
Do ants eat cannabis? Technically, no, but the leafcutter species, as its name suggests, devastates leaves.
When the leaves of marijuana get attacked, it runs the risk of deterring its ability to absorb UV rays. This means the plant isn’t getting all it needs to thrive, slowing down bud production and weakening it.
This species is endemic to South and Central America, Mexico, and parts of the southern United States. They use the leaves to feed their fungus gardens. So, you should take extra precautions if you’re a cultivator from these regions.
Other species don’t directly harvest leaves but, as we’ve discussed, cause damage to crops in different ways.
Are ants attracted to weed?
At the beginning of this article, we asked, “Are ants attracted to weed?” The answer is no. The leaves are eaten as a result of the ants consuming the honeydew excreted by whiteflies and aphids.
Can ants help your cannabis grow?
Ants may cause a loss of cannabis nutrients, but they’re also able to help add goodness to the soil. Since they speed up the decay process, minerals are released faster while their burrowing adds oxygen. However, there are better bugs that benefit rather than harm plants.