Tuesday, June 30, 2009

farmer ants

The plant is a croton gold dust (codiaeum). Lives in plant room 2 of the greenhouse. It's been looking a little piqued lately, so I was looking it over closely. At first I didn't notice anything, but then I saw some ants running up and down the stem. I remembered reading something about ants farming scale insect for the 'honeydew' they produce, so I scrutinized even closer, and sure enough, I found numerous green translucent scale insects that were almost undetectable down in the nook between the leaf stem and the trunk of the plant. Click on the picture and you'll see the ants and maybe even one or two of the scale bumps.

Horticultural oil smothers these non-ambulatory bugs, so I let 'em have it.

2 comments:

Gretchen Joanna said...

Is "horticultural oil" Neem Oil by any chance? I bought some Neem but haven't got to the next step of putting it to use.

Mark said...

No, what I'm calling horticultural oil is parafinic oil, also called 'ultra-fine' oil, diluted about 1 or 2 to 100. Neem oil would also work I guess. It's a great product that has multiple uses, and is very safe. I think I'll try using that as well, since I have some, and it may work even better.