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How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants


Applying tanglefoot to trees

Managing ants on trees and shrubs

When you find numerous ants on plants, they are probably attracted to ripening fruit or the sweet honeydew deposited on the plants by certain sucking insects such as aphids or soft scales.

What to do

  • Manage honeydew-producing insects such as aphids and soft scales on trees and shrubs near the house. Once in trees, ants protect these pests from natural enemies, making many pest problems worse.
  • Remove trees and shrubs that consistently host ants and are adjacent to houses. Honeydew producers provide a great source of food for ants, and ant colonies may enlarge as a result and frequently invade nearby structures.
  • Band tree trunks with sticky substances such as Tanglefoot.
  • Trim branches to keep them from touching structures or plants so that ants are forced to climb up the trunk through the Tanglefoot.
  • Protect young or sensitive trees from possible injury by wrapping the trunk with a collar of heavy paper, duct tape, or fabric tree wrap and coating this with the sticky material.
  • Check the sticky material every 1 to 2 weeks and stir with a stick to prevent it from getting clogged with debris that allows ants to cross.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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