Why do cherry trees attract ants?

  • 0 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 513
    • View Profile
Why do cherry trees attract ants?
« on: 22/01/2014 15:36:08 »
This concerns a fruiting Cherry tree that attracts ants.  It came from Tescos and is clearly a graft onto a root stock so unfortunately I don't have a species.  The behaviour I observe is as follows: ants climb the tree and head to a leaf stem, at the base of which is two red buds about 1mm across.  They pat the buds for a while with their antennae, from where they may move to another leaf and do the same before heading back down the plant.  The buds produce no fragrence or fliud that I can detect.  Their appearence is waxy.  They don't eat the buds at all.  I left the pictures full res. so you can zoom in.
My theory is that the Cherry produces these on purpose to attract the ants, who in turn defend the tree against insect attack.  I tried to clear my peach tree of aphids once using ladybird larvae, and the ants that farmed the aphids would attach to a leg, until there was one on 4  of the legs, at which point the ants   larvae would drop off the tree.  The ants would move aphids around the tree to uninfested sections.  Do ants pat aphids to stimulate sugars?
Mike Garrard
Asked by Mike Garrard

                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

[chapter podcast=3696 track=11.10.16/Naked_Scientists_Show_11.10.16_9181.mp3]  ...or Listen to the Answer[/chapter] or [download as MP3]

« Last Edit: 22/01/2014 15:36:08 by _system »