Ants don’t tend to cause harm to humans’ health apart from causing a little bit of tingling feelings. Yet, what about house plants such as bonsai? Are ants harmful to bonsai? Can they kill the bonsai?
Those are the questions in which the answers we’d like to explore further. Other than exploring the possibilities of ants killing bonsai plants, we’ll also give you solutions so you can protect your bonsai trees against ants and get rid of their populations without losing your bonsai plants.
First thing first, let us delve deeper into whether ants are terrible for bonsai trees or not.
Are ants bad for bonsai trees
In other words, are ants harmful to bonsai that they are so antagonistic to bonsai trees? Generally, the harmless natures ant do to humans also apply to bonsai trees. In such cases, they won’t inflict any damages to the bonsai’s tree branches.
Even though ants themselves are no problem for bonsai trees, ants can carry aphid eggs and fungus that can harm the lives of your bonsai trees. The aphid eggs usually hatch from the nests. Those eggs are frequently located around the bonsai trees’ roots or the rock bases if the bonsai trees are on underwater surfaces.
If there are large amounts of ants around your bonsai trees, you need to check on the eggs and the nests. In particular, keep an eye on the most common places for them to build a nest. Do preventive actions that we’ll uncover on this article’s final point to make the ants less harmful for your bonsai trees.
We also recommend you to learn how to identify aphids on bonsai tree.
Can ants kill my bonsai
Ants are small-sized harmless pests around your houses. You don’t have to worry if they’ll cause any harm to other living beings around you, in particular, if there are only smaller colonies of ants. These insects are also among the insect types that are the easiest to kill.
Unfortunately, their low individual powers are balanced with their abilities to group in hunting their supplies. Even though ants can’t directly kill your bonsai, and they also can’t kill the roots, they can “call” their friends and families to work together in getting through your bonsai.
Sweet things are the main supplies for ants. Another thing that you should pay attention to is that ants have sharp-smelling senses. So, any bonsai plants with saplings or trees that taste sweet, smell sweet, or smell strong, are the easiest for ants to kill.
Do ants eat bonsai trees
Everything has to be either sweet-tasting or strong-smelling so they can be the foods for ants. Bonsai trees are no exception. Some sweet saplings, such as maple saplings, can be ants’ favorite foods. Be extremely careful to saplings with strong smells, such as lemon tree saplings, as ants can build nests around the roots or the bases.
At the same time, there are conditions where bonsai trees that are neither sweet nor having pungent smells can be ants’ favorite foods. For example, after a few days of nesting periods, the aphid eggs will hatch.
There are some honey-like flavors in the aphid eggs that ants produce, while at the same time, ants won’t eat fellow ants. Instead of getting rid of the aphid eggs, the ants prey on the bonsai trees. Such actions aim both to survive for themselves and to help to sustain the lives of baby ants.
Do bonsai trees attract ants
Some bonsai tree types did attract ants. Ants will build nests and the nests can produce aphid eggs and fungus. When combined, both aphid eggs and fungus form black sticky substances called sooty molds. Sooty molds can damage the lives of your bonsai trees.
These entire things may make you wonder, “If I owned bonsai trees, does it mean that I attract ants (as well as other unwanted pests)? Is it my fault to be so interested in planting and caring for bonsai trees?”
“No” is the simple answer to those questions. It is never your fault to plant and care for the things you care about, including caring for your bonsai trees. If you somehow commit any errors or forget some steps for planting and caring for your bonsai trees, such conditions are not always your fault.
Bonsai trees aren’t the only plants that ants feed. Remember that ants will feed on any sweet things. Even then, ants won’t directly eat or even kill your bonsai trees. Even so, you’ll need to do the steps in getting rid of ants in your bonsai plants to ensure they will live healthily no matter where you plant them.
How to get rid of ants in bonsai
Aphid eggs are the predecessors of ants. The aphids don’t remain as the followers to ants’ leaders. Instead, the ants prepare them to be the next generations of ant leaders and team players.
While they’re still aphids, they can cause the infestation to your bonsai trees. Unless you get rid of the aphid infestation problems in your bonsai plants, it will be less likely to get rid of the ants.
Spraying your bonsai with a jet of water is the easiest and most economical way to eliminate the aphids on your bonsai plants. When you decide to do this step, make sure the aphids don’t fall to the soil or the bases to prevent them from coming back.
After you solve the aphid infestation problem, it’s time for you to do the follow-up steps. Submerging the entire bonsai plants inside a large bucket of water helps execute the follow-up steps to shoo the ants. Set a timer to around 20 minutes and put the timing device close to your submerged bonsai plants, or else they will experience root rot.
After that, allow the water to drain while drying them under strong-filtered sunlight. In more severe cases, you can use insecticidal soaps, malathion, or sprays according to the instructions to get rid of both the ants and the aphid infestations.
How do I kill ants without killing my bonsai
While spraying the bonsai with a jet of water can be the easiest and the cheapest way to stop aphid infestations, over-spraying the bonsai can make the bonsai fall. Eventually, such things can backfire on you that you’ll accidentally kill your bonsai.
Fortunately, there are ways to kill ants and prevent aphid infestations without killing your bonsai. The simplest natural way is to move around and shake your bonsai regularly so the ants and the aphid eggs will fall to the places you want.
An equal portion of vinegar and water can be an effective remedy for killing ants without damaging your bonsai. Other natural ingredients, such as citrus oil and lavender, are toxic to ants but don’t harm your bonsai’s life. Additionally, ants and their aphids die faster with insecticides. We’ll discuss some of the best bonsai insecticides on the next point.
Best bonsai insecticide
Many types of oil are the best ant killers for your bonsai plants. You can either purchase the oil online or DIY the oil. Bug sprays are the most common form of bonsai insecticide that you can buy in online stores.
Summit 121-12 Year-Round Spray Oil for Garden Insects is one of the bug spray examples that you can buy online and use to kill the ants and their aphids. Other than being non-toxic, this spraying oil adds a shiny luster to the leaves of your bonsai trees. In other words, you can beautify your bonsai with this ready-to-spray oil.
Alternatively, you can DIY the insecticide oil by combining 3/4 cups of orange essential oils, one tablespoon of molasses and dish soaps, and some bottles of water. Spray the mixture around the ants and the aphids to prevent infestation on your bonsai plants.
How do I protect my bonsai tree from ants
Some bonsai tree saplings are “born” sweet. Yet, there are situations where you can’t avoid purchasing these saplings. Consequently, you may wonder, “How do I protect my bonsai tree from ants?”
Other than feeding on sweet foods, ants are sensitive to wet areas. So, make sure your bonsai plants are not too wet. You can water the soils regularly to stop ants and aphids’ growth, but remember not to overwater. Using some light sources will work, including LED lights and sunlight.
Instead of using the DIY oil you should prepare right after you see the infestations, prepare a DIY insecticide soap. In doing so, you’ll need to add one teaspoon of dish soap to a pint of warm water.
If you’d ever want to use essential oils for your DIY insecticide soap, you have to opt for peppermint oils because these are the oils that ants hate. Mix the oils and soapy water. Then, spray them on the ants and the aphids.
In conclusion, given the natural remedies and the ones you can purchase online, “yes” is an answer to the “Are ants harmful to bonsai?” question. As long as you have the appropriate “weapons” in your hands, ants shouldn’t be big deals to your bonsai plants. So, are you ready to protect, love, and nurture your bonsai?