Thursday, April 30, 2009

Preventive measure: Tanglefoot for ants and aphids

Every year, I discover ants in the figs. It's not too bad - slice open and wash them out. If you miss a few, the ants have a nice crunchy texture and nutty flavor. However, the ants carry fungal spores, and it seems that the ant-infested figs also spoil before they reach their ultimate sweetness. Every year, I tell myself that "next year" I'll prevent the ant infestation.

Same with the cherries. Every summer, the leaves develop massive black cherry aphid infestations. I suspect that the ants cultivate the aphids. AFTER I see them, I get out the tanglefoot, but by then a lot of damage is done.

So this year WILL BE DIFFERENT! I actually did remember. What's up with that! Tanglefoot is great at stopping the ants from climbing the trees, and no toxic chemicals.

The instructions state to wrap the tree tightly with plastic, before applying the tanglefoot. I cut wide strips from plastic grocery store bags. These have enough stretch to make snug, bark-tight bands. They also tear quite easily, so there is no risk of girdling the tree with them. They start to deteriorate in about a year, which is time for the new coating.

I use a disposable plastic knife to apply the Tanglefoot. It's very gooey. Next to impossible to wash out of clothing.

I applied the same treatment to the pears, apples, cherries, and figs. The reason for also applying to the apples and pears is to reduce spread of disease by aphids.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:54 AM

    I've been trying to figure out how to apply the tanglefoot. Thank you for the idea of tying the bag.


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    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you


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    ReplyDelete
  3. You're welcome, and thank you for commenting. This works very well for me, so I do it every year.

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  4. patrixk7:12 PM

    Hi been using Tanglefoot for years on sweet cherries against the ants; I use a large nylon stocking with a safety pin holding it together....been on the trees ten years! Every spring I recoat with Tanglefoot.

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  5. Patrick, that sounds like a smart method. You reminded me - I need to get busy applying tanglefoot, for this year.

    ReplyDelete