How to Kill Ants on Okra Plants

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Start ant control in the late spring.
Start ant control in the late spring. (Image: ants fighting image by Anton Chernenko from Fotolia.com)

Killing ants on okra plants will prevent them from sucking the nutrients from the plant's leaves, thus causing holes. As a staple for many Southern dishes, okra is an integral warm season vegetable crop for the yard. In fact, okra can produce vegetables from midspring till late fall or first frost of the year. Preventing ants from ruining your okra crop will ensure a bountiful growing season of a versatile vegetable known for its delicious flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Dish soap
  • Malathion
  • Ant traps
  • Bypass shears

Examine your okra crops for ants. Look for aphids, because aphids produce honeydew which attracts ants. Check the plant for holes in leaves or a line of ants trailing to the plant.

Dilute 1 tbsp. of dish soap, 1 tbsp. of Malathion per 1 gallon of water. Pour mixture in a spray bottle. The dish soap will allow for the insecticide to stick on leaves.

Spray from 1 inch of the bottom of the plant to the top, but avoid spraying pods. To prevent spraying pods, wrap the pods with small sandwich bags. Secure with a small rubber band.

Set out ant traps around the okra. Ant traps provide either protein or sugar mixed with poison. Ants enter these traps and pick up a piece of poison to take to the rest of the colony. Once the poison is in the colony the ants consume the food and slowly die. Place the ant traps where you see trails of ants invading the bed or around the okra plant.

Prune off damaged portions of the plant by making 45-degree, downward-angled cuts to healthy, outward-growing buds. Repeat the application of insecticide in two weeks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Kill ants as soon as you see them on your okra plants. Summer ant populations are extremely high; early control will raise your success rate.
  • Choose a dry day for spraying okra plants to avoid the pesticide from traveling to other plants.

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