Trees are one of the most durable and resistant plants found in most landscapes, but even they can be susceptible to pests scurrying up and down their limbs and trunk. With many people wanting to protect their assets and beloved trees, most have concerns about the insects that are often found traveling through the trees, particularly ants. It can be a challenge to note whether or not the ants are causing damage to trees or if their presence is harmless. Well, we at Stewart Termite and Pest Control would like to expound on the ants primarily found on your backyard trees.
Why Are Ants Attracted to Trees?
The ants found in trees are generally there for one of two reasons. The first reason is they are constructing a new home for the colony inside the tree’s cavities of rotten wood areas and the second reasons is in an effort to forage the sweet honeydew left behind by other insects. Ants are not necessarily the primary cause to any damage found on your trees, but more of an indication that tree has died or your tree’s health is already failing. If the ants get your attention soon enough, you may have time to provide treatment to your tree after removing the ants and restore it to good health.
Carpenter Ant & Red Imported Fire Ant Infestations
Two kinds of ants are generally contributing to negatively impacting ailing trees; the Carpenter Ants and the Red Imported Fire Ants.
1) Carpenter Ants: Spying black ants actively intruding in your tree along with sawdust piling up at the base of your tree raises concern. Favoring soft, damp, or otherwise decaying wood, carpenter ants are typically in rotten trees. It is fair to assume the tree is sick, dying, or even dead and could be risk of falling if carpenter ants are moving into your tree. Confirming that the carpenter ants are squatting in your trees set into motion their eradication and most likely removing the tree’s remains before it causes injury or damage; both services should be executed by a professional to ensure efficiency and safety.
2) Red Imported Fire Ants: Red imported ants are notorious for delivering painful retaliation to people and pets when they believe their home is being threatened, often leaving behind awful blisters as a reminder to not mess with their elite. But these ants are also especially harsh on young trees. Finding a dome-shaped mound at the base of your tree is a sign of their presence. Always exercise caution when inspecting the tree’s base for signs of their nesting habits and do not touch or disturb those ant hills or their aggressive behavior will be demonstrated on you. If you believe they are there, it is in your better interests to contact a professional.
How to Save a Tree from Ants
If you believe you have either of these ants, or any ant species for that matter, infesting your trees, it is prudent you ensure they are evicted from the premises to avoid any painful stings to people and pets or cause potential damage if they are presented with an opportunity to invade your home or business. We have compiled a few steps you can do to remove the ants from your trees below.
1) Ants detest the fragrance of peppermint and once they smell the offending scent, they will typically leave on their own accord. In a bug sprayer container, mix approximately 30 drops of peppermint essential oil and one gallon of water. Liberally spray the infested tree as well as neighboring trees with the solution.
2) To ensure the raveling ants are contained, line the bottom of the tree with ant baits.
3) In an effort to cut off the honeydew supply, use a horticultural soap or insecticide to rid the tree of sap-feeding insects.
To ensure your home, landscape, family, and pets are safe from these overbearing ants, contact Stewart Termite and Pest Control and let our specialists treat your trees to ensure the ants are thoroughly exterminated.