Skip to Content

Ants on Potato Plants: How to Get Rid of Them?

Sharing is caring!

Potatoes are a way to remind people that money can’t buy happiness, as you can grow them on your own and turn them into delicious snacks such as French fries. Potatoes have a key to people’s hearts as they come as blessings in the form of delicious snacks on dull and tiring days. 

You can indulge more deeply in the taste when the potatoes are cultivated by you in your garden. It increases the satisfaction ten times because of the joy we get nurturing them. 

However, ants can take that essence away when they are found on our beloved potato plants. So, here rises a question. How can we get rid of ants which are found on our potato plants?

If you’re looking for the answer, you are at the right place. 

Are ants bad for potato plants?

Ants cause little damage directly to plants. However, when they are building their nest around the roots of the plants, they tend to disrupt the soil by depositing it on the surface. This way they cause disturbance to the growth of the potato plant to some extent. Black ants do not eat potatoes.

Black Ants do not eat potato plants and neither do they eat potatoes let alone any other vegetable. However, their nest-building activities can cause trouble to the soil around the potato plant’s roots and harm their growth to some extent. 

The red ant colony on the other hand operates differently. Red ants may consume the underground stems, tubers, and roots of many different types of plants, such as potatoes.

This way the red ant colony can cause direct damage to your potatoes and waste weeks of effort you put into growing them. Ants can be beneficial to your potato plants as well. As contradictory as it sounds there are merits to support this statement. 

Ants eat aphids. Aphids appear to invade every garden. They are tiny, smooth insects that eat by extracting liquids from plants that are rich in nutrients. 

Ants decompose, chew, and get rid of perished materials belonging to plants. Aphids tend to suck the nutrition out of potato plants and ants can be one easy way to stop them. 

Ants eat those aphids and save your potato plant from losing nutrition which is essential for them to grow potatoes. 

People often get the wrong idea whenever they see black ants surrounding their potato plants with holes in their potatoes. It is highly unlikely that ants are eating those potatoes. 

Chances are there something else is causing damage to the stems and ants are attracted to the juices being released. There are certain drawbacks of having ants in your potato plants but there are advantages as well as they get rid of nutrition-stealing pests named aphids. 

So, keeping in mind the advantages and drawbacks we can conclude that ants are rather beneficial than harmful for potato plants. 

Do ants eat potato plants and leaves?

Although it is highly unlikely for ants to eat plants and leaves it is slightly possible for the red ant colony to munch on potato plants and leaves. 

Generally, ants do not tend to eat plants and leaves however; some people are claiming their stems are being engulfed by the red ant colony. 

Ants eat aphids which absorb the nutrition from the plants. So, technically ants are known to be helping vegetable plants grow instead of eating them. 

It is very difficult to determine whether ants eat plants and leaves or not because according to research they do not. 

Why are there ants on my potato plants?

Ants are most likely to be attached to your potato plants because of the aphids living in them. Aphids are smooth insects that are almost invisible because of their tiny size. Aphids eat by absorbing nutrition from the stems of your potato plants. Ants eat the aphids. 

Ants are also decomposers so ants can be found on your plants because they were busy chewing and decomposing the perished remaining of your plants. 

Ants are not planted pests. However, sometimes ants can be found eating the stems but this can be because they are attracted to the juices being released by something else eating your plants. 

Some people claim to have seen red ant colonies eating and making holes in their potato plants and potatoes. Ants can be attracted to the potato plants for various reasons and it is hard to predict which one it is.

If there is a crisis for ants and they do not have access to random food then they can also break the rule and eat potato plants. 

How to get rid of ants from potato plants?

Potato plants, when grown in your garden, have sentimental values attached to them, for some people. Gardening is not only a hobby but it is an emotion for some people. 

Ants are attracted by potato plants for various reasons which include the presence of aphids but in this case, you should not get rid of the ants as they are being helpful by eating the aphids. 

In other cases, they indirectly harm the plants by messing with the soil around the roots and sometimes red ants are accused of munching on the stems.

If you see ants destroying your beloved potato plants, you must take action. If you are oblivious of how to do so, here are a few ways explained for you to save your plants from the ants. 

Ant deterring smell:

There are some smells that ants abhor. This includes the smell of cinnamon and mint. If plants smell the presence of cinnamon or mint they will stay away from your plants. 

You can use some cinnamon or mint-flavored gums and spread them around the base of your plant. If you do not have access to them you can spread some cinnamon on the base of the plant. Ants will then avoid entering the area where it smells like cinnamon. 

Ant deterring food: 

You can use a few recipes that are well practiced for getting rid of ants. You can try a mixture of sugar and borax. Place the mixture around the base of the plant and ants consuming it will be put down. 

If you do not have access to borax you can try cornmeal and sugar. This mixture can also be used for the same purpose. The cornmeal tends to spread after it is eaten as a result the ants will be put down. 

Ant trap:

You can use the classic way of establishing an ant trap. To catch the ants, you can make a collar out of paper. A circle of at least 8 inches in diameter is required to be cut down from the paper. 

After that, cut a small opening that is large enough for the plant’s base to be encircled in. Apply petroleum jelly to one side of the paper. 

Keep the petroleum jelly side up and wrap the plant’s base with the collar. The petroleum jelly will cause the ants to get trapped. 

Remove the scent trail of ants:

Ants tend to dispatch scouts in search of fresh food sources. Ants always move in a straight line because these scouts create a smell trail for other ants to follow to the meal. 

If this smell trail is eliminated by you then ants will have no lead to follow. For that, you have to look out for the trail of ants and immediately wipe their path with a towel that is soaked in ammonia or bleach.

The scent of ammonia or bleach will dissolve the scent trail of ants. Refrain from pouring bleach or ammonia directly on the base of your plants as it can be harmful to the soil. 

Ant repelling plants:

Certain plants repel ants such as geranium, garlic, aster, calendula, chrysanthemum, and mint. You can plant these plants around your potato plant and they will deter ants or any other pests from infecting your potato plant. 

The aromatic smells of these plants act as a barrier during the communication of ants as ants communicate through scent. 

Spray soapy mixture:

Create a mixture of oil, soap, and water and put it in a spray bottle, and directly spray it on the ants. Oil will attract the ants to some extent but the soap will put them down. The fragrance trail left behind by the ants will also be eliminated with the soap. 

You need to be persistent and replace the ingredients in your trap every week or so. 

Final thoughts 

To sum up, ants are attracted to potato plants for various reasons. Even though they possess little to no harm most of the time to your plant, sometimes they can end up destroying the plants. There are a few methods that can be used to get rid of the ants that are discussed in detail above.

Sharing is caring!