Preventing Ants from Killing a Lemon Tree

by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 14, 2019)


While it is true that ants will swarm over most flowering and fruit-bearing trees, it is a common misconception that ants will eat the substance of the tree. Instead, ants herd aphids and milk them for their sweet secretions. So, it is logical to assume that if you have any type of plant covered with ants, the ants are chasing aphids, and the aphids are the culprits that are killing your lemon tree.

So, what are some of the remedies for ridding your lemon tree of the ants? If you want to get rid of the ants, the obvious answer is to get rid of the aphids. In order to be able to get rid of both, use some of these methods:

  • Hose 'em. Use your garden hose to spray the insects off of the tree for several days in a row. Wait a day or two and check for ants. If there are none, that means that you got rid of what they were after, and they've gone elsewhere to seek food.
  • Mint. Sprinkle crushed mint around the base of the tree. Ants hate the sent of mint and will not cross a mint trail.
  • Vinegar. Spray vinegar all over the trunk of the tree to keep ants away.
  • Chalk. Draw a thick chalk line around the trunk of the tree. Ants will not cross a chalk line.
  • Talcum powder. Sprinkle talcum powder around the base of the tree. Ants don't like the feel of powder on their legs.
  • Cream of Wheat. Sprinkle Cream of Wheat cereal all around the base of your lemon tree. The ants will eat the cereal and then go in search of water. The water will make the cereal expand and it literally blows the ant apart.
  • Neem oil. Use neem oil to control the ant population around your lemon tree. Neem oil is an organic substance that can be used as an effective insect repellant, insecticide, and fungicide.

You can also apply a sticky barrier, such as Tree Tanglefoot Pest Barrier, directly to the trunk of your lemon tree. As the ants travel through the product, they become hopelessly trapped and then die. This eco-friendly barrier dissolves naturally over time and will not harm your tree.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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What is four less than 7?

2017-01-10 16:34:41


My question is the same as Linda's!!
If you get rid of the ants wat then will rid the plant of the aphids!?!?

2016-05-10 21:52:21


thanks the vineger, worked . its only a patio plant but something to start off with.

2014-10-20 09:53:58


I need to know how to do a factsheet and green yellow list on ants?

2014-03-31 11:23:31


Thanks for the tips on the ants. There are some tips I hadn't thought of before.

Question: What about the aphids? I don't know much about them except they are everywhere and love my nasturtiums. The ants are after the aphids and if you get rid of the ants, how does that affect the aphids?

Thanks much


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