This is my first year growing figs, and I just noticed the first ripe one was covered with ants. I threw it away, and put ant poison around the base of the tree. Is there anything else I can do?
Try a product called Tanglefoot surrounding the trunk near the base. It’s sticky and the ants won’t even try to walk on it.
Ok. I guess you could also wash the ants off if there’s no real damage? I just threw it away as it looked so unappealing, although it looked fine when opened.
Sometimes ants get inside, especially figs with an open eye. Diatomaceous earth will kill ants (in a day or two) and is safe, that’s what I do. Borax has also been recommended by some.
I second the tanglefoot recommendation. I tried it for the first time this spring and it’s rock solid. Just don’t apply it directly to the tree bark. I like to wrap some flagging tape around the trunk and then apply the tanglefoot to the flagging tape.
All Hunter around see if there’s a local version of tanglefoot available, thanks guys.
Well I asked the manager at the local hardware store about tanglefoot, and he’s never heard of anything like it. So I improvised some backwards electrical tape and fly paper wrapped around the trunk. The ants wouldn’t cross it, so it appears to be working so far. Not sure how long it will last.
While I was at it, I also wrapped all of my fruiting citrus trees, as I noticed a lot of ants on them.
The coating on the fly paper is essentially Tanglefoot.
So if I’m reading this correctly I can go and buy some fly paper and wrap this exposed side out around the bottom of a tree trunk and that stops ants? If so wonderful, I have a citrus tree in a container that routinely gets its new leaves extremely warped from aphids placed there by ants, and I’ve been having trouble managing it. A few other tropical with ants and aphid trouble too. Is there anything else I need to do other than the fly paper?
Wash off the aphids first. Also, don’t get the fly paper stuck on anything you don’t want it stuck to. Specifically, yourself.
Can I just spray with an insecticide to kill the aphids first and then apply the paper so the ants cant bring up anymore? That would be a lot of leaves to spray and my hose doesn’t have a spray head. Also the trees are not in flower so no pollinating insects around.
Fine. Use one that kills aphids. Every insecticide isn’t effective on every insect.
Something I did which worked for all bugs so far for me was dish detergent/water sprayed on, then immediately rinsed off. I’m sure there’s more elegant solutions, but it’s worked and I haven’t damaged plants yet. I did a few test runs, and it will kill leaves etc if you don’t rinse.
I have a fig tree more than 20 years old and ants have never been a big problem on it, although there are plenty of them around. Usually it is birds that peck open a fig and give the ants access. I have so many figs I don’t worry about the birds too much, just keep the ripe ones picked off the tree before the birds get them.
If you use tanglefoot, wrap the trunk with masking tape first as it can damage the bark. On rough barked trees, I fill in with PlayDo or some such before wrapping with tape.
If your tree is a whip, I suggest topping it about knee high to encourage side branching. As it grows it will make a great shade tree and Jungle Gym for kids.
Figs are damn near indestructible in my experience. Branches on my tree got so tall that much fruit was out of reach, even with a ladder. Birds got most of the fruit. I took a chain saw to it and was afraid I killed it as I had removed all new growth and limbs were 3" diameter stubs. Not to worry; by early summer I had 4’ of new growth and more figs than ever.
I initially put mine in a very poor spot (limited water + bamboo) and it was stunted all year. I temporarily put it and a similarly stunted mulberry next to each other near my water tank for lack of anywhere else, a few weeks ago. Both have tripled in size, and the fig is exploding with fruit, currently maybe 20 figs. They’ve grown together, and I’m waiting until spring to move the Mulberry somewhere. I think it was rich soil and steady water from the leaky tank.
The ants hit the figs when ripe, as I’ve noticed a hole naturally opens on the end the riper it gets.
Thanks MuddyMess_8a and everyone. I went up tonight, and it looks like it’s working. I was able to harvest a fig with no ants on it.
This guy has some good ideas:
Apparently you can eat ‘anty’ fruit, only damaged areas tend to rot.