Aphids and Dormant Oil

I religiously spray my apple trees with dormant oil every March, thinking it kills aphid eggs. But every summer am swamped with aphids on young tip growth. I can’t see where the dormant oil helps with aphids so plan to forget it this year and use Tanglefoot AFTER wrapping an area of trunk in cardboard.

The Tanglefoot band really helped w/aphids. I think I didn’t use a thick enough wrap because when I removed the flagging tape in the fall the bark looked discolored. Two things not mentioned in most instructions (1) warm the tanglefoot 1st to make it easier to spread, (2) use the tanglefoot to secure the end of the wrap instead of a knot as it makes it easier to remove.
This year I’m going to try using the outdoor Terra ant traps at the base of the tree to take out the ants and see if that works as well. Certainly easier, and you can refill them if you like and move them around. Just a few days ago I saw ants on the blossoms of my Nadia and put one at the base of the tree. Today, no ants found in the tree.

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Thanks Anne. I like your Terra idea- I already use them in my kitchen. I think they sell a much larger outdoor dealy. Think I’m done with dormant oil unless I get scale at some point. I think it has zero effect on my aphids here.

With my past history (disaster) with Tanglefoot, Terra could be a perfect solution. You always have great ideas!! Thanks.

Yes it is their outdoor version that has a stake to go in the ground and is protected from the rain. My 1st try was with figs last year. I went to harvest a fig and ants ran out of it and all over my hand. I freaked. I put one of these at the base of that plant and no more problems. I refill them (indoor and outdoor) when empty. To 1 c water add 1T sugar and 1 t Borax. Nice that it is not toxic to the ground. :blush:


Thanks for the recipe. Long ago I remember my mother using borax to kill kitchen ants.

Oil sprays do work on aphids, but oil is a contact poison for aphids and can only kill the ones present when you spray. New ones that crawl or fly or are carried in are not affected unless you spray again.

Dormant oil may be killing of some aphids and other bug eggs or not; guess you’ll find out if you see more of them when you stop it.

But no matter, oil sprays are not going to eliminate aphids or white flies or any other insect that can come on over after you’ve sprayed.