Should we get rid of ants on dragon fruit flowers?

Dragon Fruit Plants 13 May 2020

It may be better just to leave them alone. Let the ants do their work. Some folks say the ants help carry something in & out of the flowers. We're not sure but it might be the sugar. Over time, some growers have found a direct link between ants & the fertilization rate of dragon fruit flowers.

Self Sufficient Me talks about it (anecdotally) here:

Especially if your dragon fruit flowers are blooming near the end of July (the rainy season), your plants will be visited by more ants. As you see more ants around, you know that it's beginning to rain soon. They need to move themselves & their eggs high up so they won't get flooded and drowned by the rain.

Mark, the guy in the video above, even generously lets the ants build their nest inside his yellow dragon fruit pot. These little creatures won't do you harm. So it's best just to let them enjoy the party.

As you grow more stuff in the garden, you'll see this pattern emerge again & again. Ants on bean flowers, ants on chili pepper flowers, ants everywhere. So we guess this might be the natural pattern. Instead of discouraging the ants, we can just go with the flow.

Ants on the fruits

But what if the ants are still there as the flowers turn into fruits? In some places, this might attract aphids, a type of insect that could damage the fruits. In this case, if you leave the flowers (which are now dried & crispy) on the fruits, you should remove them now. This will reduce the ant count & consequently invite fewer bugs to your fruits.

Some folks have found that ants, or specifically Argentine Ants, are quite troublesome for varieties like Condor, American Beauty & Nicaragua Red. So keep an eye out for those.

To keep ants away, you can try this inexpensive organic solution:

  • 3 tablespoon boric acid
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 gallon water

Make some feeding stations for the ants in between your dragon fruit plants. The boric acid gets back to the queen ant & the colony gets killed. The sugar goes bad in about a week so you can make a batch of this. Use some for the week & keep the rest in the fridge.

Refill it with new solution once a week & with that amount you can use 2-3 times per week. In 2 weeks, you'll see much fewer ants. Repeat every 6 weeks throughout the summer. We picked up this recipe from a dragon fruit grower, Gray Martin. Here is his YouTube channel.

Another thing you can try is using citrus peel. We think it may be the spicy/minty in the peel that keeps the ants away. A little application of tangerine peels to keep ants from damaging our little bananas.

citrus-peel-to-keep-ants-away.jpg

Hope this was helpful, thanks for visiting.

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