There are thousands of ant species in our country, but the most common one that people encounter worldwide in the home and garden is the black house ant. Of course, spotting some ants floating around the garden is next to a certainty – they love the nectar of both broad bean and zucchini flowers – but encountering a problem that is caused by these ants is very rare.

Rather than thinking of the ant as a pest itself, think of it as an indicator of the existence of others. More often than not an ant is cleaning up the mess left by another. Sucking insects, such as whitefly, aphids and thrip, leave behind a black, sugary residue – honeydew – that the ants feed on and clean up. Of course, it’s not all good news. Ants are smart and organised and acutely aware of their sugar mummies and daddies, and how to protect them from natural predators.

When you notice an outbreak of ants, don’t panic (like my mum always does), but rather inspect for more information. The first part of the eradication process is cleaning the plant of its food – a soapy spray or sponge usually suffices – and then dealing with those who are actually responsible.

Optimal Conditions

Warm, dry conditions after rainfall. That is when sucking pests are active, and the ant will usually follow to feast on the honeydew that they leave behind.


Black powdery substance – honeydew – on the plant.


Keep your garden hygienic, properly watered and properly spaced. Preventing sucking pests by followed these practices, will prevent ants from coming for the food that they leave behind


Sucking pests are seasonal and so are ants. Direct damage by ants is rare, so again don’t panic, but keep the sucking pests in check to prevent it snowballing


Clean the affected plants of the honeydew using a soapy spray or soapy sponge for tougher staining. Then apply an organic white oil – two applications a few days apart in dry/mild conditions – to curb the sucking pests

Related Products

Eco-Neem 100ml
Regular price $26.00
Eco-Oil 750ml Ready to Use Spray
Regular price $17.00
Special instructions for seller
Add A Coupon

What are you looking for?

Join Our Community

For seasonal tips, planting advice, special offers...and to get your fingernails dirty