What’s with snake beans and green ants?
As soon as the first flowers appeared on our snake bean plants the green ants were there clustered around the flowers and setting up home in the leaves. Until those flowers appeared ( in July, first bean harvest August for us) there had been no green ants at all in our veggie beds. Once the flowers dropped their petals and the beans started to form the green ants stuck around, they’re still there at the base of the fully formed, over a foot long, snake beans.
We got rid of the first green ant nest in the snake bean leaves by snipping it off into a bucket of water and racing round to the chicken enclosure with it. Chicken enclosure is rather grand, they’re actually still housed inside our pool fence, but they’re happy!
Green ant nest number 2 has now formed and will shortly meet the same fate.
But what are the green ants doing? Are they feeding on nectar from the flower? Are they farming aphids? Are they tapping into the bean plant’s sap? Could they be the pollinators of snake bean plants? Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to be harming the beans, but these feisty little invertebrates aren’t human-friendly, so for now, to the chickens they go.
I’ve had a really close look, with my glasses on, and can’t see any aphids. But as these ants are known to actually defend plants from some insect pests, they eat them, I’m leaving a few on the plants, just getting rid of the nests when numbers get out of control.
If you know what these little critters, also known as green tree ants, are up to on my snake beans, please let us know in the comments. Since wondering about these ants we also started growing dwarf red snake beans, and the exact same thing happened, they attracted green ants to the flowers and beans. We’ve never seen this on any other type of flower or fruit, so it’s pretty intriguing.