I have been veggie gardening for about 4 years now and I have never in my life encountered so many ants in my life but the majority of them seem to just LOVE my garden. I have the regular black ants that I have known as a child and I know they are good for aerating the soil so I have left them alone. They made a mound big enough to rid a small portion of my spinach last spring but they weren't that much of a nucience (sp?).
My problem is with all these tiny black and red ants. They are fast and they are PLENTIFUL and they BITE if you aren't paying attention. I'm honestly afraid to go out and weed half the time because I don't want these little suckers on me. I have this section of my garden where I'm growing black eyed peas, cucumbers and hyacinth beans. They are, for the most part, shaded because the sun will burn them to a crisp otherwise. Anyway, the ants crawl all over the plants. The peas are the only plants I'm getting a harvest from. The others will flower but never develop so I wonder if this just because of the hot weather in Phoenix or a result of the ants. The cucumber plants are starting to look yellow and I see holes in a few leaves. Also, it just seems there are parts of the plant that is bunched up that don't want to grow out and I see tons of ants on them in those parts.
I found a couple preying mantis and put them in the garden but I don't think even they could have a big enough appetite for all these ants! LOL
I'm sure these tiny ants help with the soil too and perhaps the plants but they almost seem a hindrance when they bite and crawl over all the plants I have.
Perhaps there are some other plants to put there that attract the ants so they aren't on my veggies so much? I have some nasturtium in that area but they haven't flowered, they probably have too much shade.
Any experience or advice would be appreciated. :) Sorry for the long post.
-- Lisa Phoenix, AZ firstname.lastname@example.org MSN - email@example.com Yahoo - lisajgehl