Ants & Pea plants


Last spring, I planted peas outdoors and the plants got destroyed by ants. Do you have any tips on how I can prevent the same thing from happening this year? Thank you!


It is very unlikely that the ants themselves damaged  your pea plants. However, it IS very likely that you had an aphid problem. Ants will form a symbiotic relationship with aphids and protect them from predatory insects in exchange for their sugary honeydew (waste).

In fact, sometimes ants will even move the aphids to another plant when the initial one has been seriously damaged, since they want the aphids to flourish!

Thus, your plant may be covered in ants, but they are there to eat the honeydew, not the leaves or other plant material. Aphids will eat the leaves, stems and even roots of the pea plants.

As for controlling the aphids, we recommend being ultra-vigilant about checking your plants for them and blasting them away with a strong stream of water from your hose. If the infestation has become very serious before you notice the aphids, you could also use insecticidal soap. Make sure that the brand you chose is one that is safe for use on edibles. But if you catch the infestation early enough, the water treatment will be sufficient.

For more information, you can see the detailed response we provided to another inquirer: Aphids on a honeysuckle

Good luck with your pea crop this summer!