Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sticky fly strips to thwart ants and their aphids

Sticky fly strip on tree trunk

This may be the oddest post yet to the problem of ants farming aphids on fruit trees. Has anyone ever considered sticky fly strips? The idea randomly popped into my head when I was taking stock of our insect-control stash. One strippy thing left. Hmm... Google turned up zero results on anyone trying this method, but the logic is that nobody ever likes stepping on gum, or anything that'll stick to the soles of their feet, so why not apply that to ants?

So far what few that have tried to go up are stopped in their tracks, and those that wanted to come down are caught at a dead end. The one or two that managed to crawl under and escape (the tape is a dual-sided sticker) were either trapped in the middle or caught at the second road block. The good thing about this is that I'm not using chemical sprays, and the tape is pretty effective as long as it doesn't rain. I'm not an expert on insects but it also makes sense that I only have to use the strips during the period in which ants are most likely to farm the aphids (spring/summer). If I can thwart them, and give the tree and potential peaches a chance, that's a better outlook on harvesting fruit, right? We have one each of peach, plum, persimmon, pear and cherry, so it isn't impractical to tape them all.

The one downside is if ladybugs get stuck, but up here at this altitude we don't see much of them around. The bees I'm not worrying about because all they want to do is buzz about and get drunk on the flowers. This morning I checked the trees and the only ants visible are caught on tape.

Nastri adesivi per le mosche contro le formiche e i loro afidi
Questo potrebbe essere il post piu' strano nella guerra contro le formiche che allevano gli afidi sugli alberi da frutta. Nessuno ha mai pensato ai nastri adesivi per le mosche? L'idea mi e' saltata in testa quando stavo controllando la roba per il controllo degli insetti. La logica e' che a nessuno piace camminare sulla gomma da masticare, oppure sulle cose che si appiccicano alle piante dei piedi, quindi, perche' non applicare questo metodo alle formiche?

Average daytime temperature: 19°C / 66°F

10 comments:

  1. our temps went up to 24C today...gotta buss out the shorts soon! love it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ingenious, Rowena! We have Tanglefoot here, but I never heard of anyone using it for ants. Your orchard sounds like mine, but we have apples, too. No apples for you? And 66 degrees! Sigh. It's 32 here as I write. My poor figs are freezing out there!

    ReplyDelete
  3. A tape to catch ants. Interesting! I've heard of something similar but couldn't remember what. Maybe it's the same thing. Hmmm ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Blossom - it sounds too simple to be a feasible solution but there is nothing that I can think of to contradict its effectiveness. The problem is always centered around getting rid of the ant nest, but not keeping this little buggers at bay before they show up and settle in! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can't think of a reason it won't work! Keep us posted on the results of your little experiment. My son was reading that ground up chalk is also a great deterrent, they don't like to get their feet in it... who knows?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Clever Rowena. I will be very interested to see how that works out for you. I like that you put two strips on so that if they make it thru the first one the likelihood of them making it thru the second is minimal. I will be warring with ants soon. The rotten beasties.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amber, Gail - I've not only tried this new tape trick, but also planted garlic cloves and sprinkled ground cinnamon and black pepper around the base of the trees as a deterrent. It didn't seem to bother the ants and that's when the gears in my head started turning. I'm also using a sugar syrup mixed with boric acid to get rid of the queen. We've placed shallow dishes with syrup in areas inaccessible to the dogs. Will see if the ants around after a week.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rowena, my husband said to tell you that he loves your rooster in your banner. He has chickens and is a 4-H poultry leader. He just bought an incubator and hopes to have baby chicks soon. He has a blog that you might be interested in. It is http://greenhouseglimpses.blogspot.com He is building a pit greenhouse in hopes that we can grow food year round.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gail - would I be interested in??? You've got the right number! Raising chickens is the one thing that I wish we could do, but our yard space is just too small. I'll give him a visit.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think I may be living on top of the secret world headquarters of the ants. They seem to graciously let us live here in order to supply them a little more variety in their diet - I think it's the only way they get chocolate and now they have a taste for it.

    They also have an aphid farm on my lemon tree and in amongst my rosemary. I think your plan sounds ingenious and I shall go shopping for the sticky tape.

    ReplyDelete

Comments on posts (older than 7 days) will appear after authorization.