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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Problems With Ants in Our Fruit!


Q. Can you recommend a pesticide to protect backyard grown fruit trees from ants? They are crawling up the trunks and they get to the fruit before the birds even have a chance let alone us!
Aphids on the bottom of an apricot leaf. The honeydew
from these aphids is "milked" by ants for their sugary
energy. Control the aphids = control the ants.

A. The ants are usually going up the tree and into the leaves for honeydew from aphids at first. They seldom attack fruit that is firm but usually attack fruit that is already soft. Because they are after honeydew (the excrement from aphids which is really leaf sap full of sugars) the ripe fruits are a natural place for them to look for additional sugars.

            There are a couple of things you can do. First is to find and treat the ant nests in the ground. Follow these critters back to where they are coming from and pick up some Amdro from Lowes or Home Depot. Treat the ant nest in the ground. It is not a problem to use around fruit trees.
            Secondly, spray the fruit tree with insecticidal soap to reduce the aphid population. You will have to do this multiple times, perhaps once a week since soaps do not have any staying power and only kill insects it comes in contact with.
            Thirdly is to harvest the fruits (peaches, plums, apricots, pluots) early when they are still firm and not soft. Let them ripen at room temperature in the house and they will still be very high in sugars and taste great. This is usually about a week before they are fully ripe on the tree.
            If you do not know when this is then this year mark it on your calendar so next year you will know. Or you can simply taste a firm fruit after it has turned color. When it is sweet but still firm then pick the ones that are ready and stay ahead of the ants and birds.

10 comments:

  1. Also, here is an informational video about using Tanglefoot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dLyJJxbEV8

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  2. We have tried tanglefoot in the orchard and it does work but in our case if there are alternate ways to reach the fruit other than the protected spot from tanglefoot then the ants will discover a way around it. It works provided the only way to the fruit is blocked.

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    1. I agree and have also noticed that some trees, like my figs, have no ants this year with the only difference being a thick layer of the organic mulch, which came from the UNCE orchard. Seems like the mulch is deterring them, for some reason.

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  3. I bought Amdro and put it right on top of an ant trail. They just walk around it! Must not have anything in it that these ants are interested in...

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    1. Apply it to the any colony, not their trail. You must find the nest and apply it there for it to work.

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  4. Amdro is a delayed-toxicity food chain killer, in which soldier ants carry the bait into the mound and feed it to the queen, killing her and decimating the mound. Amdro uses a corn grit and soybean oil base, and must be used within three months after opening to be effective. Amdro has several drawbacks: (1) when it rains, or the bait is moisturized, Amdro loses its effectiveness entirely; (2) insecticide baits tend to be slow working, and take up to a month to be effective.

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    1. To add to Robert's comments, Amdro has shown a strong susceptibility to ultra-violet instability . . . Putting it out in the morning the sun will fairly quickly breakdown the active ingredient . . Put it out in the late afternoon if you try it again . .

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  5. Ants attack in the fruit tree is a common problem of farmers.It is hard to control.We can use natural techniques like neem oil spray on the track and nests.It is a herbal product so it has no side effects on human being and birds.

    natural pest control

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. Aphids attract ants very much. Ants track aphids for their honeydew. So, getting rid of ants we should work for getting rid of aphids at first. suspend pest control product can be a good solution of this problem.

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