Ants on Citrus Trees – Organic Ant Control with Tanglefoot Sticky Barriers

– [Narrator] In this video, I will demonstrate organic ant control for citrus trees using sticky barriers. The Argentine ant is one of
the worst invasive species. It has spread to six continents, displacing native ant species
and disrupting ecosystems. California has a super
colony of Argentine ants that covers most urban areas. Not only do Argentine ants invade homes, but they are also a major pest of citrus trees and can indirectly kill citrus trees in combination with the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing, a fatal and incurable disease of citrus spread by citrus psyllids. Parasitic wasps exist in California that are very effective in killing Asian citrus psyllids and
reducing their numbers. However, ants protect citrus psyllids from parasitic wasps so that they can harvest the sugary honeydew
produced by the psyllids. If ants are present on a citrus tree, the parasitic wasps
are much less effective and the population of the disease spreading citrus psyllids will increase. Even if citrus psyllids are not present, ants protect many kinds of insect pests of citrus from natural predators. Basic organic pest control of citrus trees is to keep ants off of the trees so that predators can
kill the harmful pests. It is important not to apply the sticky barrier directly to
the bark of a citrus tree. If applied directly, it
would damage the tree. To keep the sticky
barrier off of the trunk, I first wrap it with vinyl tape. The wrapping must be tight enough that ants cannot crawl under the barrier. The sticky barrier is hard to remove from hands and utensils
so I use disposable gloves and a disposable knife. I applied the barrier directly
to the wrapping material. It is important to periodically
check the sticky barrier to make sure that no bridges allowing ants across have
been formed by debris. If such a bridge forms, it can be removed with
another disposable knife. The biggest problem with sticky barriers is that ants can find ways around them. If there is any other path
between the tree and the ground other than the trunk, ants will find it. For sticky barriers to be effective, trees must be pruned to keep branches from touching fences, the ground, or any other path to the ground. I remove and replace the sticky barrier every year to avoid damage to the tree. An alternative to sticky
barriers is ant baits. Please see here for my video on ant baits. To learn where to buy sticky barriers, click here or visit Please help to save citrus trees from the deadly Huanglongbing disease by keeping ants off of your citrus trees. Also, please be sure to share this video. Thank you.

19 thoughts on “Ants on Citrus Trees – Organic Ant Control with Tanglefoot Sticky Barriers

  1. Thanks for yet another very informative video.

    Nice to see New Zealand on this map – even though it's probably there because we've had Argentine ants established here since 1990. :-/

  2. Excellent video! Please make more! I appreciate all the info you share regarding citrus and have mentioned your videos and website to many other citrus fans in my local chapter of crfg as well as to my neighbors. I love, love, love citrus, and have 8 trees, but am sadden by an increase in recent discoveries of local HLB cases in Southern Ca, including one only 3 miles away. I am not sure if I will be planting or grafting anymore citrus trees, but your videos on ant control and disposal of citrus prunings are all the more important for folks like me around SoCal now. I had been drying them, then running them over with my lawn mover, and then composting them. I am happy to know composting is okay. Thank you so much for your videos! I hope you do some videoes on treatments for killing or repelling psyllids, or barriers to keep them out. For the last two years I have kept my 4 smallest trees protected with homemade fine nets year round, but the other 4 trees are huge, and are in less ideal places to keep covered. I have been spraying neem oil on all the citrus and grapes about once a month hoping to discourage the psyllids from coming around. But as an organic gardener with chickens that often hang out under my citrus trees, my options are limited.

  3. I've used Tanglefoot for years. It keeps the ants off, but watch out!. If you accidentally brush your arm against it, or your clothes touch it, it's a huge mess!

  4. I find the sticky barrier too sticky, it's fairly windy here sometimes, and my barriers end up with too many ant bridges. I have gone for axle grease, less sticky, but as impassable.

  5. I've found white duct tape preferable to that vinyl tape. The duct tape is airy-er and doesn't make the bark underneath 'discolor' so much. Re positioning about every 3 to 4 months is preferable.

  6. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I watched a video where they applied the grease or the grease band directly on the trunk of the tree and them covered it, and I thought it'd be counterproductive. Do you know if this works against codling moth and Mediterranean fruit fly? Thanks in advance.

  7. If the ants are already in the tree, will it still help? Do the ants live in the tree or do they need to come down? If they come down will they get stuck in the tanglefoot, or just not try to come down? Thanks.

  8. Thanks for the informative instructional video. It's a bit ironic though, that an "organic" ant control method uses disposable knives that appear to be plastic. Cheap wooden tongue depressors or sticks would work fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *