Of all the insects that you see at home and in the garden, ants are perhaps the peskiest, most ubiquitous, and most persistent. Whether they attack a kitchen or a peach tree, they’re quite destructive and hard to get rid of.
For ants, a peach tree is a safe haven where food and shelter are abundant, and they can even build a nest under the tree and ensure an almost limitless source of nourishment in the leaves, sap, flowers, and fruits of the peach tree.
So how to get rid of them and save your peaches?
Ants are not the only concern you might one day face with your peach tree. Learn about the most common issues and how to deal with them in my comprehensive guide, Peach Tree Diseases, Pests and Problems. Don’t miss it!
Why Are Ants Attracted to Peach Trees?
As with other foraging insects, no living plant is off-limits to the ants, and peach trees are a precious prize for ants in the garden.
They can find nutritious larvae and insect eggs on the leaves, and if the bark of the peach tree is cracked and sap is oozing out, ants will lap it up and fatten on it.
However, the fruits are the biggest attraction for ants in peach trees. Admittedly, the healthy skin of the ripe peaches is too tough for the ants to break, but any peach that’s been damaged by birds or other insects is fair game to the ants.
The same goes for overripe or rotten peaches where the soft flesh breaks out of the skin and offers a juicy meal for the ants.
Are Ants Bad for Trees?
Technically speaking, ants don’t pose a direct risk to trees. This holds true for peach trees. They act as a cleaning crew that gets rid of small and helpless grubs, damaged or rotten fruits, flowers, or branches, and they might even chase other bugs and pests off the tree.
But there’s a serious side effect to having that army of six-legged insects swarming a tree. Ants might transmit diseases and pathogens from a sick tree to a healthy one.
Also, the presence of ants on the peach tree is usually a sign that something is literally rotten on the tree. That could be the branches, bark, or fruits. So you should always keep ants from the peach tree to keep the tree healthy.
Products for Getting Rid of Ants on Peach Trees
One of the reasons ants are hard to get rid of on peach trees is the sheer number of pests. However, since this is a fruit tree, you won’t want to use chemical pesticides that cover the fruits with toxins.
You’ll want a natural pesticide or one that can be applied on the ground to remove the army of ants without harming the tree, impacting the fruits, or damaging living plants in the vicinity.
The following products are quite effective when trying to get rid of ants on peach trees.
Approved for organic gardening, horticultural oil can be used to repel ants on a wide variety of plants and trees including peach trees, citrus trees, pecans, potatoes, and avocados among others.
The pesticide is safe to apply at any time whether the tree is dormant or actively growing. Additionally, the pesticide is effective against other pests such as aphids, thrips, and scales and damages their eggs.
Spinosad is the name of the bacteria that produces this pesticide. The odorless liquid can be sprayed on peach trees to get rid of ants as well as a wide variety of other insects including caterpillars, leafminers, and borers.
It’s approved for organic gardening and is safe to apply to trees, vegetables, and broadleaf weeds.
Neem oil is a natural pesticide that is safe to use around many plants. It breaks down in the soil leaving no toxic residue behind.
Moreover, it’s safe to apply on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The package contains 80% concentrated neem oil that you need to mix with water before spraying the peach tree to kill the ants.
The aptly named insect barrier keeps ants and other insects at bay. It’s a sticky substance that you apply to the branches and trunk of the peach tree. When ants try to climb the tree, they get stuck and can’t progress any further.
The product is weatherproof and stays viable on the tree whether exposed to sunlight, winds, or rain.
Specifically designed for ants, Liquid Ant Bait kills all types of garden-variety ants including crazy, ghost, acrobat, black, and all other sweet-eating ants.
The pesticide disguises itself as ant food, which encourages ants to carry it back to their nest and share it with the other ants in the colony. After a few applications, you’ll get rid of your ant infestation.
Another pesticide that targets ants, Ant Killer Granules are effective against 25 ant species. When you apply it around the base of the peach tree, ants will carry it back to the colony and feed it to the queen.
The rest of the colony will eventually die or disperse when the queen dies.
DIY Options for Getting Rid of Ants on Peach Trees
If you don’t want to spray pesticides on peach trees to get rid of ants, you could get a little inventive and find other ways to keep the pests off the tree. Here are a few DIY options to try out.
1. Strong Blast of Water
You can easily dislodge ants off the peach tree with a strong stream of water. Just aim the garden hose at the trunk and branches and blast the trail of ants away.
The water also washes away the ant’s scent trails so they won’t go back to the tree immediately. However, this is only a temporary solution. Ants will find their way back to the tree once the trunk dries.
2. Spray With Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is one of those odorous liquids that literally put ants off the scent of their fellow ants.
Ants rely on their sense of smell to find their way to the source of food and back to the nest. Peppermint oil has a strong odor that sends ants astray. Apply it regularly around the base of the peach tree trunk to repel ants.
3. Chili Powder
Chili powder burns ants when it comes in contact with their body. It also has a distinct odor that camouflages the natural scent of ants.
Apply it on dry soil around the peach tree to keep ants away. Reapply after rainfall and after watering the tree.
Ants hate cinnamon for the same reason they can’t stand peppermint oil. The strong odor of cinnamon makes it hard for ants to distinguish the ant scent on the trail, and they could spend hours running around trying to find their way back home.
Use cinnamon sticks around the base of the peach tree or sprinkle ground cinnamon on the ground within the drip line.
5. Wrap Trunk With Tape Sticky Side Out
This innovative way to trap ants only requires sticky tape and some patience. You’ll need a big roll of tape. Wrap the tape around the tree trunk, keeping the sticky side out.
Wrap a few circles around the trunk to cover it with a 3-inch tall band of sticky tape. When ants try to climb the tree, they’ll get stuck on the tape and give up.
6. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly works in the same way as sticky tape. It traps ants in its gooey mess making it difficult for them to get out of it.
The material is water- and weather-resistant, so once you apply it around the base of the trunk, it will stay there to block ants from getting up the tree.
7. Used Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds repel ants because of their strong odor. Empty the coffee maker on a paper towel and let the used coffee grounds dry up. Then sprinkle them around the base of the tree.
Ants will stay away from the tree as long as the coffee grounds are there. Refresh the application once a week.
8. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is probably the safest pesticide you can use. It doesn’t contain toxins or harmful chemicals and works well against soft-bellied insects.
When the insects walk over the material, the sharp-edged granules make cuts in their body which eventually kill the pests. Keep diatomaceous earth dry, and reapply it if it gets wet.
To get rid of ants on peach trees, you can use commercial organic products or try out one of many DIY options that keep the pests off the tree.
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