Hello, and welcome back for another episode of Ben’s Pest Control podcast. My name is Ben Sell and I am the owner of Ben’s pest control here on the Treasure Coast of Florida. And today, I want to do a podcast about an episode I’m sorry, I went to an episode about ants and their relationship to plants. For years and years, I’ve had a saying and that is there is a reason they put the word ant in the word plant. To me, handsome plants go together like peanut butter and jelly, chocolate and peanut butter. Just some of the classic things over time that that people love. I mean, people with hot dogs and ketchup or hot dogs and mustard, whatever ketchup and mustard maybe, but and some plants. So let’s dive into that. As you’ve probably heard me say in other episodes, there are three things that all living creatures need to survive food, water, and shelter. So plants are absolutely wonderful when it comes to providing all three of those situations, especially France. So let’s talk about shelter. In my experience, you can take a tree, a tree, something as big as a tree will have bark, and the bark has cracks in it. It has spaces. Sometimes branches break off and they hollow out. The roots can become hollow, where Earth has kind of washed out from underneath the trees. Palm trees have frogs and the top of palm trees where all the frogs are it is just a massive area that can harbor ants and a lot of ants at that. So trees have areas. Let’s go down to things like shrubs. Here in Florida we have a lot of like hibiscus exhorts us, sometimes oleanders crape myrtles actual strawberries. And those plants, you can also again have broken branches. A lot of times those plants have pretty expansive root systems where all the different branches grow out of. And then the root itself creates it an environment where they can get underneath the roots and, and make ness inside of the root systems of these plants. And then flowers, which I know hibiscus and exhausts are flowers. But let’s take flowers like what you you’d get from a local hardware store. A lot of flowers that you get from a local hardware store come in pots, and those plants are already sitting in dirt, and they’re in a pot. And we have seen multiple cases where people will bring home one of those plants, and there’s a whole mess of ants just in the bottom of the pot. The pot itself makes for an absolute great Harbour Bridge, and the ants love it. Now, you might be saying to yourself, like with the pot well what makes it such a great Harbour Bridge? Well when you think about the three things, so you’ve got the shelter, but you need food and water while those plants are watered on a regular basis. So the plants are cared for at the nursery they’re cared for at your house they’re cared for in your yard. And water is one of the things that’s almost always a constant with plants. So at the nursery, they water them in the water saturates down to the bottom of the pot where their nest is. And they know hey, we’ve got a constant source of water. So now you’ve got shelter and water. Outside here in Florida, a lot of communities a lot of people who have especially beautiful landscapes and high end plants, they’re heavier gation system systems that water those plants on a regular basis. I’ve seen some people even go as far as to put in drip irrigation systems and in water individual plants and plants that are attached to trees or fences. So those plants almost always have a constant constant source of moisture, which is another situation that just makes it as I said, ideal for the ants to thrive. So the only thing left to really discuss is food. And people will be like well, you know, where does the food come from? With the plants. Now with trees. It’s it’s a little different. I mean trees
don’t necessarily get the same Things that other plants get. But when you have trees, you almost always have some kind of vegetation that is used that the tree is absorbing as its food. So as the tree is absorbing that vegetation, the ants can thrive off of that. And those nutrients and they can actually, in some cases, eat those nutrients. And they can absorb certain things like fertilizers that are put out to for the trees. One of my favorites is actually to discuss the flowering plants we have in Florida. Now the flowering plants we have in Florida, you’re exhausted as your hibiscus, your oleanders. Again, your crape myrtles. Some of your shrubs. These plants, actually are some of the most ideal situations for food France, these plants are prone to get things called aphids. And in some cases scale, and aphids and scale are our insects that actually attack the plant. And they attack the planet when they attack that plant, the plant secretes, what we call honeydew. Now, to me, I always explain it like if something if somebody were to get bit by a dog, you’d bleed? Well, I always picture kind of like that. So the plant secretes honeydew. And honeydew is an awesome food source for almost every species of ant. I don’t believe I have found one that doesn’t like honeydew. And so the ants will protect actually those aphids in the scale and, and take care of them. So that way they continue to provide honeydew some species of ants will actually almost farm aphids and move them from plant to plant to continue to provide a constant source of food. So the aphids, the scale. And as a homeowner, you probably aren’t trained to know what it looks like unless you’re a Master Gardener very much into gardening. But what I tell people is when you look at your plants and you’re looking at the the leaves, the leaves are supposed to be green. And one of the most common things that people will will realize when you look at your plants is you have a fence, you have scale, when you see black on the leaves. So if the leaves are supposed to be green, and you see black on it, there has been or there is probably a presence of aphids or scale on that plant. Now, when I say has been, in some cases, if you have a service and that service has treated your plants, it is possible that the aphids are already on their way out. And normally in that case, the black that you’re seeing, oh yes, by the way, sorry, the black that you’re seeing is called Black sooty mold. So the honeydew is there can be too much of it for the aunt Steven harvest, and it starts to mold and the humidity and the heat. And so that’s called Black sooty mold. So if the insects have been treated, a lot of times that black sooty mold, you’ll see will actually start to turn flaky and be peeling off. Because it’s it’s actually dying out, because there’s no longer new honeydew to support the growth of the mold. So if you look and you see that the black is there, but it’s kind of getting older, it’s flaking, there’s a chance that the insects are gone. But if it’s in some cases, I’ve seen shrubs where it’s like almost all of the leaves are just look pitch black. And naturally, if it’s not addressed with the aphids, or the scale in the plant, it is it is pretty common that the plants themself will will start to suffer from the exposure to that. But that’s where for the shrubs at least the the food comes in for the ants. So you’ve got everything an aunt could want with most plants that we have here in Florida, you have food, water and shelter. And it’s it’s not impossible for them to actually be in the plants at the at the store be brought home. And I refer to that as home delivery of insect insect home delivery. To the point where I’ll use as an example.
One of my customers just recently had a house built and they moved in and the sod was put in and the sod itself which is another plant is loaded with spiders and ants. And so we refer to that as your at home delivery of bugs the the sod company was nice enough to lay their grass on and deliver it with all these little creatures inside that have now in this case freaked out the missus because she’s seeing spiders and some awfully big spiders and the fire ants are popping up. So I always tell people, and I’m a firm believer that there is a reason that we put the word ant in the word plant, they are just together. They they are, they support each other, and they take care of each other. Now, if you have any need or interest, or you would like a free inspection, please feel free to give us a call. Our number is 772-878-1972. Or you can check out our website at Benzpest.biz. And we’ll be happy to come out and we’ll do a free 58 point pest survey and analysis of your home. We can tell you what we see we’ll even be happy to look at the plants for you and tell you what we see going on with the plants and we can make recommendations about the best way to proceed with those. Because if you’re if you’re getting the plants addressed, you’re helping immensely. take away some of the three things that the ants are thriving off of. So thank you for joining me today and I hope you have a great day.