Ants on Persimmon Tree
Hello, I have a young persimmon tree and noticed a lot of big black ants on the tips of the leaves. They are mostly hanging out on every last leaf of each branch (farthest from the trunk). I'm not sure why. There are only leaves and some flowers. Should I be concerned? Some are around the flowers. There isn't much damage to the leaves. Several have holes and some look like they are eaten but the tree looks healthy and has grown a lot just over the spring. There are also tiny bugs too (maybe aphids, though they are black and I thought aphids were green). Will these ants or other insects cause damage in the long run? Will the flowers be ok? I saw a video of someone soaking cotton balls with sugar and borax but I don't like chemicals and wanted an organic garden. Thanks!
There are aphids of many different colors (including black) and ants are attracted to the sugary honeydew they produce when they feed on plant sap. Here is some information about aphids: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/aphids-trees-and-shrubs. Ants are good predators and are not harmful to the plant. Often the early aphid populations will be taken care of by natural predators. The chewing of some of the leaves would have been caused by a different type of insect with chewing mouthparts (e.g., caterpillar), but overall, your tree looks very healthy. We do not recommend any type of treatment at this point. Continue to monitor for symptoms as the season progresses. Persimmons don't typically have many pests that affect the leaves, and your tree looks healthy overall.