Do Ants Eat Blackfly?

If you have spotted Blackfly on your broad beans then you might also have seen some ants hanging about nearby and wondered if this is a good thing, are the ants eating the blackfly?

Do Ants Eat Blackfly
Do Ants Eat Blackfly

Do Ants Eat Blackfly?

No, they don’t! Ants actually farm blackfly and “milk” the honeydew they produce. They will actually guard them against predators and move young blackflies onto new plants!

So the ants are not a good thing at all but it is no surprise you have found them near the blackly. This is very common and there is a good chance that it was the ants that actually brought the blackfly to your broad beans.

So, What Do You Do?

I think the easiest solution is to go after the blackfly which will in turn hurt the ants and theoretically reduce their numbers too.

Ants are really tricky to get rid of and to be honest whenever I have found them I have never been able to completely get rid of them. That is why I just go after the blackfly now.

You can try to disturb the ants and keep them on their toes. They don’t like being disturbed and also don’t like being wet so pouring water on them and trying to disturb them as much as possible can help to hinder them but it isn’t really going to get rid of them unless you can find and kill the queen.

Pouring boiling water on their nest, if you can find it, is the old school way of dealing with ants but most times it does little apart from killing a small number of ants. The nests are just too complex and the boiling water doesn’t find its way to the queen.

Reducing Blackfly Numbers

One of the easiest things you can do to start getting rid of black flies is to remove the growing tips of your broad beans. It is this area of the plant that the blackfly loves and by removing them you can take away the prime blackfly real estate.

Next, you will want to start killing the little bugs. How you do this depends on whether you are growing organically or not. If you are not organic then there are sprays you can use which are still suitable for food crops.

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06/26/2022 02:21 am GMT

If you are trying to be organic then worry not, there are still plenty of options open to you. The first one that you will see all over the Internet is to use diluted washing up liquid spray on the blackfly.

This is meant to kill the black fly but every time I have used this method it has seemed really ineffective, but why not give it a go there isn’t much to lose, to be honest.

What you should also be doing though, and this is the one thing I have found to be most effective is to simply squash the little aphids.

Blackfly and ants
Blackfly and ants

You can do this with your fingers and I often do if I spot some while checking my plants, but this can get messy and also you can sometimes inadvertently hurt your beans.

What I have found to work really well is using a paintbrush to brush the black aphids off your plants. Blackflies are really soft skinned so even a paintbrush is often enough to kill them while also being really gentle on your plants. And as an added benefit you don’t get bug juice all over your fingers.

Spraying the plants with a jet of water from a hose can also help to wash the black fly off.

You can also try to introduce more natural aphid predators to your garden like ladybirds. This is why I really don’t like using pesticides as they often kill just as many of the good predators in your gardens as they do the bugs. If you want to try and add more ladybirds you can buy them in larvae form and release them into your garden.

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06/26/2022 01:51 am GMT

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Daniel

Daniel

Hey, I'm Daniel. Having worked as a professional gardener for years as well as keeping a private allotment I decided to create this website to help spread my knowledge. I love gardening and hope to show you just how rewarding it can be!

1 Comment
  1. brilliant advice on the blackfly/ants situation Daniel

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