Pest Resources

How to keep ants from eating my corn


In our article, we will discuss how to deal with an ant invasion on corn and how to use home remedies to get rid of them on your corn plants. We will also discuss why they are there in the first place.

Let’s get started!

Why are ants on my corn plants?

Ants like Black ants, Carpenter ants, and Cornfield ants love sweet foods and will feed on sweet corn ears and stalks and get under the silk, and thief ants will eat the seeds of plants, especially if there is a shortage of food. They will feed on the kernels and silks of the sweet corn.

It is not just ants that will feed on corn; other insects like grasshoppers and corn earworms will eat the plant.

Cornfield ants (Lasius americanus)

Cornfield ants are also known as Corn root ants. Cornfield ants can be spotted flying in late summer; they do not cause much damage to a cornfield, nothing like the destruction a Carpenter ant can cause. Carpenter ants are pests and can cause severe damage to properties.

Cornfield ants get their name from taking the corn root aphid and placing them from grasses to corn.

A Cornfield ants habitat

The Cornfield ant can be found nesting on lawns, under bricks, under stones, on sidewalks, and under rotting wood.

When Cornfield ants nest, they can cause small craters on the lawn in the garden. They may cause patios and driveways to sag when they build a colony.

They will come into the house to forage for food sources taking it back to the nest. Keep food items in sealable containers and clean up crumbs and food debris.

What do cornfield ants look like?

Identification will help you decide how best to treat and develop a relevant process to eliminate your ant problem.

Cornfield ants look like many species of ants; as a guide, they are 1/10 to 1/8 inch long and are reddish or brown in color. Cornfield ants like moisture, damp, and decaying wood, which is why they are often confused with Carpenter ants that also like the same.

Are Aphids attracting ants?

There is a strong possibility that Aphids producing honeydew are attracting ants to your growing corn. Ants love feeding on honeydew.

What is honeydew?

Aphids have mouthparts that work like a needle and straw. Aphids use these mouthparts to pierce the plant and suck up all the plant juices. The waste from this process is a sticky substance called ‘honeydew.’

Cornfield ants are like farmers

If you see ants on your corn, they are probably farming whiteflies, mealy bugs, or aphids. Aphids can be blue, purple, orange, green, or yellow. Aphids are much like rabbits in that they reproduce so quickly.

Ants are very protective of the honeydew, like farmers; they keep their herd of aphids and aphid eggs safe from predators like ladybugs and other insects to harvest the honeydew.

Unfortunately for gardening lovers, this is a nightmare, as the garden can become overrun with aphids.

How can I kill ants on my sweet corn?

The best way to kill and get rid of ants on your plants is to use an insecticidal soap spray. You should only spray insecticidal soap when outside temperatures are below 90 degrees. Insecticidal soap will kill ants, insects, and other bugs on contact.

The soap does not leave a residue, so you must reapply it regularly. Read the instructions before use.

Safers soap and Neem oil

A mix of Safers soap and Neem oil makes an excellent organic pesticide. Safers soap can be bought at nurseries. It will not harm animals, but it will remove ants and aphids.

For more options, please read on:

Apply cornmeal to get rid of ants

Apply cornmeal, dry molasses, or sugar to the ground below the corn. It will attract the ants away from the corn. This method also helps with improving the soil, making it biologically active. Ants prefer poor-quality soil; improving the soil quality in the garden will deter future ant problems.

Boric acid

Before using this naturally occurring pest control method, consider keeping it away from children, cats, and dogs. A dog, in particular, can be attracted to the sweet bait. It can also cause eye and skin irritations and could irritate the respiratory system. It will also kill beneficial pollinators like bees.

The object of placing the bait in a location the ants have been visiting is to attract more workers who will take the bait back to the colony and give it to the other ants, poisoning them.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is naturally occurring and formed from fossilized aquatic organisms. The crystals have sharp edges which can pierce the ants’ exoskeleton causing dehydration and death.

It is used in gardening for pest control. Diatomaceous Earth must be food grade for gardens and not the Diatomaceous Earth used for swimming pools. Always wear a mask when applying.

DE can get rid of the following and more:

  • Ants
  • Mites

  • Thrips

  • Bedbugs

  • Snails

  • Slugs

  • Earwigs

  • Cockroaches

How to apply Diatomaceous Earth

  • Keep young children and pets away until the dust has settled in the garden. Cover both sides of the plant; if it rains, you will need to reapply. Sprinkle in areas of the garden where you have spotted the pests.

  • A dewy morning is an excellent time to apply the Diatomaceous Earth. It will stick to the plant better than if it was dry.

  • Diatomaceous Earth can also be used inside the house for pest control.

  • Diatomaceous Earth is also used to remove unwanted materials from drinking water. It is used as a filler to prevent lumps in food, paints, plastics, pet litter, and medicine.

  • In industry, it is used to clean things, insulation, and soak up spills.

How to use Diatomaceous Earth in the house

The best way to use Diatomaceous Earth in the house is to sprinkle it onto an area where you have seen the ants invading. Follow their ant trail and apply the Diatomaceous Earth along it. You can use it along baseboards, floors, windowsills, wall cracks, and other entry points.

And finally,

We have presented the article ‘How to keep ants from eating my corn.’ We discussed Cornfield ants and ways to get rid of them. We hope you have found it helpful. If you find your home remedies are not working and the ant problem is getting out of control, consider calling a pest control services company.

Good luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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