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How to keep ants from crawling up my fruit tree trunks

Updated February 21, 2017

Ants typically do not harm the leaves or fruit in fruit trees. Some species of ants are even beneficial, attacking fruit tree pests and using them for food. Other species, however, have a symbiotic relationship with aphids and other insects that feed on fruit trees and produce honeydew, which the ants feed on. This can encourage increased populations of these insects, which can then affect the growth and development of fruit trees. A sticky adhesive insect barrier may prevent ants from crawling up fruit tree trunks.

Clear grass, weeds or other matter from around the trunk and prune any branches that are touching the ground to prevent ants from going around the adhesive trap.

Scrape the boot of the tree carefully to smooth the bark. Do not scrape too deeply; doing so might result in injury to the tree.

Wrap a band of the polyester fibre material snugly around the trunk about 12 to 18 inches above the ground. Tape the smooth plastic sheet around the trunk over the polyester material band.

Apply an even coat of the adhesive insect barrier about 1/8-inch thick to the plastic sheet using the putty knife. Apply the barrier completely around the trunk, leaving no open space that ants can navigate.

Reapply more adhesive insect barrier to the plastic strip in the spring after the ground thaws and ants become active again.

Things You'll Need

  • Polyester fibre material, 4 inches wide
  • Strip of plastic sheet, 4 inches wide
  • Duct tape
  • Adhesive insect barrier
  • Putty knife
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