I have several fruit trees which I love very dearly: two old, old cherries; two apples; two walnuts; hundreds of plum trees; a crab-apple; a fig; four peach trees; a pear tree, and a quince. And probably some more I’ve forgotten.
However, with this year’s bumper blossom and potential fruit, the ants are out in force and it’s been driving me wild watching their little ant armies race up and down the tree trunks. I mean, what are they even doing??! Apparently, they’re potentially bringing all kinds of nasty infestations to my dear trees.
So, I decided it had to stop.
I’m not a fan of killing things with pesticides and I didn’t really fancy giving the tree a hose down with something to stop all the anty festivities, so I thought I would buy some sticky tape. Apparently, this works in a similar fashion to flypaper, that odious but useful stuff that enables me to live in a buzz-free zone without zapping the bastards with Raid every so often.
Anyway, I bought myself an organic, environmentally-friendly tree tape to stop the ant processions. I should have known it would be a disaster. Anything involving me and glue is a disaster. It was inevitable.
Imagine, if you will, a cross Mancunian with strips of tree tape hanging from each of her limbs. It got stuck to my hands, stuck to my hair, stuck to my face.
It gets worse.
The glue is kind of waterproof, so I was left, once I’d pulled off the sticky tape, with a clingy, gluey residue that soap and water and even white spirit find nigh-on impossible to remove.
Not only that, I soon worked out the problem with the tape. The bark isn’t flat, so there are bumps and channels underneath it, which any crafty ant will be able to figure out. You kind of secure it with elastic, but it loosens as you are tying the knot in it and so you are left with something that may or may not make the blindest bit of difference.
I’d be interested to hear from anyone who uses this and whether or not you think it makes a difference.
Of course, a part of me thinks ants are clever and will crawl underneath it in tunnels. Or eat into the bark or something. Another part of me watched them avoid running on to it this evening and come to a dead-end. They run on to the paper a little and then decide not to bother and run off.
So far, though, the only thing to get stuck to the paper is me.
Hopefully, it won’t stop all the other healthy things that come and feast on the bugs that the ants are herding. I just saw a photograph of an ant biting a ladybird’s legs and it was nasty. Those ants are not nice creatures. They remind me of the Morlocks in The Time Machine.
I do wish I’d watched this guy first.
I’m going to be fascinated to see if the ants make little bridges. If my tape doesn’t work, I’ll be trying this guy’s method with the elastic tape and the paste. Tomorrow, I’ll be looking for little anty bridges. Those little beggars better have found something else to feast on, and it better not be my seeds or seedling.
Gardening is a constant battle against creatures. But trying to pick something that encourages the good beasts and discourages the bad beasts is hard work. Mostly, I don’t mind a bit of damage, and companion planting and rotation seems to be working so far, but there’s little I can plant to stop the ant march.
All I need to do now is wait for all this glue to come off me. Maybe I should just go and roll about in the garden and see what I can attract?