General Question

keobooks's avatar

I have a question about the flower Queen Anne's Lace and it's bug attracting qualities?

Asked by keobooks (14322points) July 25th, 2011

We’ve had a really bad ant infestation in our new home. We keep putting down “friendly” pesticides but they just come into the house in a different direction a few weeks. Right now it’s not so bad, but I think we’re up for another invasion pretty soon.

Anyway, Some queen Anne’s lace just started blooming in the back yard. The blossoms are almost completely covered with ants, even though the flowers next to it have no ants at all on them.
So it seems that Queen Anne’s is attracting ants to its blossoms.

I was just wondering if the flowers were attracting the ants to the house? Is their presence a good or a bad thing? I looked up on Google and saw that the flowers attract ant predators like the lacewing wasp and the ant lion. But I don’t know if those insects live in my area at all. So are they doing more harm than good in the garden?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

josie's avatar

What is a friendly pesticide anyway?
The only reason pesticides would be regarded as “friendly” is because they do not kill anything.
The flowers clearly attract ants.
The pesticide does not kill them.
Therefore, you should not be surprised at the outcome.
Cut down the plant or spray with something lethal.
Or get to love your infestation.

intrepidium's avatar

I heard that Queen Anne’s Lace is toxic to animals and wildlife – but clearly not to ants! Your last sentence suggested they might do some good – I’m curious as to what good that might be? If they serve no purpose beyond being pretty to look at, it seems you’re better off getting them out of your garden…

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’m at work reading this, and I’m now going to check all the blossoms around for ants.

As far as I know, there should be no reason for them to attract ants, since there’s no easy food on it for them. Maybe they like the flowers more than I though. Chances are that they’re just swarming it because they’re everywhere already.

@intrepidium That misconception probably comes from people confusing it with poison hemlock. Queen Anne’s lace is edible; it’s wild carrot. EDIT: Apparently there’s no sign of toxicity in the US, but in Europe some varieties adversely effect cattle and horses.

snowberry's avatar

Have you tried borax? It’s about as friendly as you can get. Terro is borax with a sweetener to attract them, therefore it works all by itself on sweet eating ants. To get the grease eating ants put a dissolved borax solution on something greasy. Or try soaking a greasy doughnut in terro.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Oh yea, Diatomaceous earth might be a good idea.

snowberry's avatar

Diatomaceous earth will work, but it can’t get wet or it will lose its effectiveness, and you might want to use a mask to spread it, and DON’T let the kids play with it. The dust is very fine, and will cause lung damage if inhaled. It’s made up of the shells of microscopic marine animals. They are sharp enough they cut through the exoskeleton of invertebrates.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think the Queen Anne’s Lace is having any effect on ant infestations in your house. I would leave it alone.

creative1's avatar

What do the ants you are having a problem look like??? If they are big and black then you want to call an exterminator because those are carpenter ants and have nothing to do with the queen annes lace

MissAusten's avatar

Your queen anne’s lace probably has aphids, which is what the ants are really attracted to. They basically “farm” the aphids so they can drink the aphids’ honeydew, a sweet liquid they produce from their bodies. If the flowers are outside your house, they wouldn’t be attracting ants into your house.

Besides that, queen anne’s lace is an important wildflower for beneficial insects likes bees and wasps. It’s also one of the host plants of the black swallowtail butterfly’s caterpillar. So, I’d at least leave some of it in the yard, but it can be invasive so you don’t want it to totally take over.

As for the ants, we’ve periodically had invasions. Raid Ant Bait has always taken care of the problem for us.

If the ants are large (½ inch or so) and black, they could be carpenter ants. Carpenter ants build their nests in old wood, but don’t eat the wood. It’s really hard to tell if the ants you see are coming from a colony in your house or outside of your house, but finding the nest will make it easier to eliminate it. You can get rid of them by using an ant bait specifically designed for carpenter ants and leaving it in areas where you typically see the ants foraging.

snowberry's avatar

Bugs (spiders, ants, creepy-crawlies in general) only go where there is a food source. Eliminate the source, and they’ll go away. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to eliminate the food if it’s in your kitchen. (Eat out every day, and don’t bring home food?) In that case the best option is eliminate your critters.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther