Ants in Lemon Tree

General    None Given

My lemon tree is being attacked by little black ants. They seem endless and I'm worried they may spread through my garden.

I read about a few methods of getting rid of them: boiling water , vinegar, cornmeal, and baking soda. Which one is most effective and least harmful to my tree? It is producing fruit now.

I have attached some pictures of the leaves. The ants have burrows in the soil. It is a single lemon tree in a pot and I can't see any other insects. I tried mixing sugar and baking soda but it didn't help.

Posted by: reem (9 points) reem
Posted: April 13, 2014

David Hughes commented,
can you provide a picture. Are the ants interacting with other insects (like aphids). Is it a single lemon tree? Also, please provide pictures of the leaves (so I can check if you have fungus growing, often associated with ants)

almost 7 years ago.


If these are monomorium minimum (little black ants) you'll find two raised bumps on the connector piece between the abdomen and the thorax. They love rotted wood and sugar, often produced by aphids on nearby plants. Clean out any wood,unneeded rocks that they can bury under ad remove any easy food sources such as compost, bottles and cans or garbage. Killing a colony can be challenging because there can multiple queens, denying them sources of food and water coupled with repeated disruption of the nest will encourage them to find a more hospitable place to live.

Posted by: J.D. Archer (31 points) J.D. Archer
Posted: April 14, 2014

The damage on the leaves is not caused by the ants. They do not eat the tree or chew the leaves. Ants can tend insects that do damage the tree, especially by injecting virus.

Your tree can cope with the damage to some of its leaves. That damage could be virus or nutrient deficiency, hard to tell

Ants can be beneficial by removing herbivores from your tree. Try and take a photo please so we can decide. Also, look for little patches of plant feeding insects together with the ants (on the underside of leaves like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vea-l...)

*****************UPDATE April 15th 2014*******************

Now that we have an update from the poster that the problem is ants attending aphids we have some solutions

1) If there are just a few leaves with aphid colonies then cut off the leaf with the aphids and drop it into a bowl of water with soap.

2) If there are lots of leaves you can use a high pressure hose to spray then off. The aphids will not be able to make it back to the leaf.
here is a video to show you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6EId...

3) You can use soapy water too. This kills them directly. Use a high pressure spare with one liter of water and a little bit of soap
container like this http://www.amazon.com/Pressurized-Pla...

One the aphids are gone, the ants will not go to the tree.

Posted by: David Hughes (55 points) David Hughes
Posted: April 15, 2014

reem commented,
David you were great ! Thank you

It's exactly as you discribed and exactly as the YouTube video u sent demonstrated ...

APHIDS !!!!!

See the picture I attached plz . What's the solution of getting rid of them now !!!


almost 7 years ago.

A similar question was asked previously. Here is the link, perhaps some of the info there will be useful https://www.plantvillage.com/posts/90...

Like David said, it would be good to have more information.

Posted by: Lindsay McMenemy (2 points) Lindsay McMenemy
Posted: April 14, 2014

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