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Controlling Fireants in the Vegetable Garden

Making It Grow! Minute logo

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Ants are often on okra plants – perhaps getting sugar from extrafloral nectaries or “milking” aphids for honeydew. Whatever, the reason, most of them are benign and don’t require any control. But fire ants are a different story they reduce okra production and can be harmful to the gardener. Fire ants feed on the base of the developing flower buds, causing the flowers to abort and there’s one less nice, tender pod of okra to have for supper. Fortunately, Clemson Extension Agent Joey Williamson of the Home and Garden Information Center has put together a thorough fact sheet on how to safely and effectively control these damaging insects. Simply search “Clemson Controlling fire ants in the vegetable garden," and you’ll get to the right place. When it’s a hundred degrees and bone dry, gardening is tough enough without getting bitten by those exotic invasive pests.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.