You probably have heard of ant farms. Maybe, you even had one when you were growing up, but did you know that ants were actual farmers? That’s right. Just like Old MacDonald! Ants farm aphids on camellias and other plants.
Ants use aphids as a food source by milking them to get the sugary rich honeydew that the aphids secret. This sweet treat is one of the ants favorite food sources. The aphids get protection from the ants from predators such as lady Bugs that would eat the aphids, so you could say that the ants and the aphids have a symbiotic relationship that works well for them both.
I never love to see aphids or any pest on my camellias, but it is a pretty cool interaction to watch!
Gene Phillips is one of the owners of Gene’s Nursery in Savannah, Ga. He is a 2nd generation grower and attributes his love of Camellias to his father, who inspired him to breath in the beauty that they bring to him but more importantly to others. In his ‘free’ time, you’ll find him wandering through old gardens, trying to identify flowers or taking countless number of photos to share with others! He also enjoys meeting people and comparing ‘garden’ stories.