Tanglefoot or other horticultural glue is one of my biggest garden friends. This is a glue that doesn’t dry right away – has the consistency of putty, is really, really sticky and is an amazing little bit of hort “stuff”. And these homemade sticky traps are simply the easiest way to control insects in your garden.
A sticky ball hung in an apple tree. You can see the insects stuck to it
I’ve used it:
- Wrapping tape around the bird feeder poles to stop ants from crawling up and drinking all the hummingbird food.
- Wrapping masking tape around the trunks of trees (above dog and kid height) and making sure there are no spaces under the tape – then coating the tape with glue so caterpillars (who come down during the day) can’t get back into the tree and their protective nests. You wind up with a mass of caterpillars on the ground and you can dispose of them (or stomp them or ??) in whichever way you like. But they can’t get into the tree.
- Coating red balls with the glue and when wasps and other insects decide to land on the “ripe” apple, they get caught and insect damage is really lowered without spraying. These get really gross by the end of the season.
- Coating yellow tags (the colour of anti-freeze jugs – a bright yellow) with the stuff and hanging it around home greenhouses, places where fruit flies get going, or out in the garden. Again, insects prefer the colour yellow (exception see below) and will fly to it and get stuck. These can reduce whitefly infestations by 90% with no spraying. Hang them or stake them every 4-6 feet throughout the garden if you have a problem.
- Coating sky-blue plastic with glue attracts thrips. So if you have a lot of gladiola damage (streaking flowers) or other plant damage due to thrips (they also carry some viral diseases that wipe out flowering daisies) then these blue cards are beloved by thrips.
The only problem with cards like this is that they are “sticky” – big time and kids or pets can get ‘too close accidentally” 🙂
A bit of rubbing alcohol or other friendly solvent takes it off but it does stain clothes.
A yellow sticky card. Look closely and see all the white spots (whiteflies) and black spots (aphids in flying stage) These are not going to bother my plants now. And yes, I wrote “sticky” on them to tell people not to touch but… 🙂
Do NOT put horticultural glue directly on the bark of trees.
I did this once with some chestnuts and it softened up the young bark. I always use a round or three of masking tape now and put the glue directly on the tape. This tape will last 1-2 years and is easily replaced (the glue hardens up over the winter and needs replacing yearly)