Ants eating my grape vine!

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I bought a big, probably ex-vineyard grape vine last year. While covering it for frost this week I’ve noticed that ants are eating and/or trying to make a home in the top of the ‘trunk’. They have gone in through sectioned that are already recessed so it’s hard to see the damage.
Can I just cover it with ant powder? If not how do I get rid of them before they kill it?
Once they are gone will I have to treat the holes they have made to stop them getting full of water and rotting? I was thinking maybe that sealing wax stuff they use on cut branches?

Photos attached, thank you in advance for your help! :)
 

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NigelJ

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Ants are almost certainly not eating your grape vine. They may well be taking insects that are already living in the cracks and crevices.
Personally I'd leave them to do their thing, grape vines are tough. If you want to cover with ant powder then do so. I wouldn't cover or treat cracks and crevices as you risk trapping water in there and that will lead to problems.
The cracks and crevices have been there since before you got it. I would say for a good few years and the vine has obviously been fine with them.
 
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The photographs you posted appear to show the grape vine in a solitary location. If indeed it is a pest problem, then have you considered planting flowers near/around it that attract other animals which will eat the pests? e.g. attracting hover-fly and pirate bugs, which may help alleviate the situation. In particular, hover-fly are pollinators, and their larvae will also eat other insects, especially aphids.


Secondly, l appear to have had a similar experience last year on the pygmy sunflowers in the garden here: there were lots of ants on them. It turned out, the ants were "harvesting" another insect which was feeding on the sunflower stems/leaves.

In summary, because there is no fruit yet on the grape vine, I cannot see any reason why the ants would pay any interest in the grape plant, except for the fact that there are other insects on it. I am sure the high sugar content of a grape fruit itself would attract all kinds of animals, so I would for sure put netting over the grape if I was expecting fruit from it. I'd be more concerned with birds feasting the grapes themselves.
 
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Unlikely to be aphids on the trunk and in bark crevices, could be scale insect, but none in the photos really.
I hope was not implying it was for sure aphids. I was only wanting to say it could be beneficial to have plants that attract different sorts of insects around the grape plant. Many pollinating insects will eat common pests. Hoverflies and wasps seem to be underappreciated pollinators, as the focus is often only on bees.
 

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