Ant infestation of Gardenia - how to get rid of them

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All,
Just found this group - what a stroke of luck.
Have a nice sized gardenia in a pot - last week or so most all leaves yellowed and started falling off.
This after a light application of sulphur and fertilizer.
When collecting the fallen leaves for disposal - observed the soil was heavily infested with ants.
Called in to the local garden talk show and was advised to use Spinosad - had heard of this before however never used the product.
In researching the net - find this is an ingredient, rather than a named product one can purchase.
Recommended application method for ants is a drench - so need a water soluble form.
Has anyone used a Spinosad product on gardenias with success?
Any recommendations for a brand name product are greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Regards,
Doug
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On Sun, 05 Jul 2009 09:05:10 -0500, "Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr."
Do you have issues with personal pronouns and paragraphs?
I have used Monterey Garden Insect Spray with success against <spit!> thrips and tomato hornworms. It's a concentrate that is made to be diluted in water. http://www.montereylawngarden.com/pdf/monterey_garden_insect_spray_omri_04_bilingual.pdf
However, why do you think the ants are causing the problem with your gardenia? Unless they're herding aphids, I don't see how the ants would hurt the plant. Are the ants fire ants, is that why you want to get rid of them? Is there damage on the leaves that looks like insect damage?
And what kind of fertilizer did you use? If the leaf yellowing happened right after you fertilized, have you considered that the fertilizer is the issue? Have you checked your soil pH? How much water has the gardenia been getting?
Penelope
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Thanks for the reply.
Issues with 'personal pronouns and paragraphs' - what does that mean?
'Issues' is such an overused and non-specifc term to be essentially meaningless, IMO.
When I called the local gardening guru's radio program - he acknowledge that ants can devastate a plants root system. Figure he knows more than I about such things.
There is another gardenia in a pot not 5' away and has no problem at all - both are watered the same, and received the same fertilizer and sulphur treatment.
The one with the problem had evidence of a blackness on the leaves - black sooty mold - that was removed with strong water spray.
Is it your experience that ants cannot damage a plants root system?
Want to do what is necessary to ensure the plant does not die - the blooms have been large and very pleasantly fragrant.
Thanks again.
Regards,
Doug

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On Sun, 05 Jul 2009 11:16:32 -0500, "Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr."

It means you get an 'F' in English. We all make mistakes, I'm the Queen of the Run On sentence; but you make no effort to communicate pleasantly and effectively. Your writing makes you sound like a petulant 2 year old.

And if you claim that's true, you can avoid any and all of your issues. Got it. It would appear you approach problem solving in your garden the same way.

He acknowledged, as in, it wasn't his idea? As in, you had already decided that the ants were the problem, and pushed that idea? What else did he suggest might be the problem?

Were you planning on telling us what fertilizer you used or what form of sulphur?

And it never occurred to you that the mold was the key to what was wrong with your gardenia? Stop focusing on ants destroying the roots and consider the ant/aphid connection I suggested in my last post. If you have ants and sooty mold, you most likely have aphids. If there are no aphids, there is some kind of insect that produces honeydew feeding on your gardenia. I lean towards aphids being the problem, though, because I so often see ants herding and protecting aphids on plants around here.

It is my experience that ants do not damage roots. And lord knows I've had tons of ants through here. When I moved into this house fire ants were a terrible problem. Now there is a mega colony of Argentine ants in this area, so I've had to learn to live with ants. I try and be positive. The positive thing is that they wipe out fire ants and take out a lot of termites. See?

A simple soap spray will kill aphids, or you can try Neem. Neem should also make the ants very unhappy, although it probably would not kill the whole mound.
Penelope
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On Sun, 05 Jul 2009 14:18:11 -0400, against all advice, something

Ants, the Boarder Collie of the insect world.
--

Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will
have to ram it down their throats.
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wrote:

Ha! Yeah, that's about right.
Penelope
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Note to self: In the future, wear a cup-jock when posting questions ;O)
--

- Billy

There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who
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wrote:
This from a man who goes into an arm waving, spittle-flecked and pharisaic spasm every time someone doesn't meet his screwball gardening standards.
Honestly Dude, shiny side out!
Penelope
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So, since when has "do no harm" fall under the rubric of screwball? When has presenting a MSDS become spittle flecked? Why do you add vituperations and ad hominen attacks to a discussion? Could it be that you have no logical argument to make? It's your characterization. It's your straw man. If you didn't have your head buried in your back-side, I'd say bite me, bitch. Just remember, you set the precedent, Skank.

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- Billy

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Are you now or have you ever been an English teacher, or professional teacher of any subject?
That you claim my writing makes me 'sound like a petulant 2 year old.' from your first exposure to me in any way and are completely devoid of any knowledge of or about me would support the consideration that you are quick to make substantive and critical statements on topics of which you have no knowledge or awareness - of course that is not an admirable /desirable trait.
Did not intend to communicate unpleasantly or ineffectively - rather to provide the relevant information / observations in a concise and succinct manner.
Enough of the irrelevant and tangential sidebar - back to the gardening topics -

No - I advised the facts of my observation - and he commented that ants can devastate a root system.
Note he did not say they had - just that they can.

Fertilizer is a 12-10-4 composition for azaleas, gardenias, magnolias, and camellias.
Sulphur product is NitroPhos Soil Sulphur (90% sulphur)

No it did not.
The black areas on the leaves was a small percentage of the plant's total leaf area - although cannot quantify that numerically.
From the same garden radio program - black sooty mold was described as a nuisance and easily removed with strong water blasts - not something that would cause the leaves to yellow and fall off.

That is good news - that ants do not damage roots. Also good they eat termites.

Have Neem oil in my arsenal of garden products and will apply immediately.
One of my concerns is what to not apply to gardenias - I generally understand they are somewhat fragile and not that tolerant of 'abuse'.
Regards,
Doug
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You are not helpful to anyone. Go back to your planet you alien witch.
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Ants can carry thrips which will destroy a gardenias leaves and blooms.Ants like the honeydew that aphids and thrips produce when eating the leaves. C ontrol the ants and the plant can survive. We used a Bayer product that was worked into the soil around the gardenias. I revived a full bed of gardeni as in Florida that had been neglected for years. We had flowers almost year round. Keep soil moist and wash off leaves if any white or black powdery m ildew appears. Gardenias like an acidic soil too.
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On 5/8/2015 9:31 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Once used a systemic on mine to get rid of scale. Would probably kill any bug trying to eat it.
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     snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com writes:
Is there something in the water lately? This is about the 4th response I've seen this week to an article posted in 2009.
--
Drew Lawson | What you own is your own kingdom
| What you do is your own glory
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Drew Lawson wrote: ...

could just be spring has sprung...
songbird
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PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS This product is toxic to bees exposed to treatment for 3 hours following treatment. Do not apply this pesticide to blooming, pollen-shedding or nectar-producing parts of plants if bees may forage on the plants during this time period. This product is toxic to aquatic invertebrates

http://www.afpmb.org/pubs/standardlists/msds/6840-01-457-6583_msds.pdf ECOTOXICOLOGY: Based largely or completely on information for spinosad: Material is highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates on an acute basis (LC50 or EC50 is between 0.1 and 1 mg/L). Material is moderately toxic to fish on an acute basis (LC50 is between 1 and 10 mg/L). <snip>
Acute contact LD50 in honeybee (apis mellifera) is ----> 0.05 micrograms = 0.00005 g/bee.<---- Translation: incredibly toxic to bees
How about repotting after hosing-off the roots?
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- Billy

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wrote:
<spinosad>

Yes, what was I thinking! Best to use the malathion suggested by another poster.
Penelope
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"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a brain." As YOU pointed out, there is no proof that the ants are causing the problem. The damn plant is in a pot. Pull it out, hose off the dirt and ants, and repot. You will (1) get a look at the roots to see if they are damaged, (2) have gotten rid of the ants, and will be able to determine if they were the problem, (3) not have gratuitously dumped more poison into the biosphere, (4) not enriched an environmentally toxic company.
What part of "nerve gas" don't you understand? http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC32924#Toxicity

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wrote:

I'm cool with the Scarecrow, too.

The ants are only indirectly the problem, but nothing I'm getting from this guy says he's much interested in anything but killing the ants. Spinosad products used as a soil drench are not going to kill any bees, and are not going to linger in the environment. Instead of running in circles and shrieking "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" , why not encourage his fumbling efforts to use a less harmful product?

Sit down, wipe some of the spittle off the screen, and reset your sarcasm meter.
Penelope
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Please note my original question was: 'Has anyone used a Spinosad product on gardenias with success?'
Understood from the radio program's host that Spinosad is an organic product - a good thing.
Reading from the Dow AgroSciences site - 'Spinosad is derived through the fermentation of a naturally occurring organism. It uniquely combines the efficacy of synthetic products with the benefits of biological insect pest control products.'
Whether it kills ants or repels them was not the question.
Wanted to find out what experience others had to determine if the product can be used on gardenias without damaging / injuring the plant.
Regards,
Doug
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