How to keep ants off fruit trees naturally

Getting Rid of Ants from Fruit Trees

For most gardening enthusiasts, their backyard is incomplete without a couple or more of fruit trees. Luckily, the climate in and near Dallas and Fort Worth, TX is ideal for growing a number of different fruit trees, including apple, fig, peach, pear, and plum trees.

Just like all other trees, your fruit trees require proper maintenance, which at times goes beyond the regular trimming and pruning. Call 469-789-6775 today for professional tree trimming services in Dallas and Fort Worth area.

While most care requirements for fruit trees are similar to those of the other trees, there is one additional problem that these trees have to face – ants! Now we’re not saying regular trees don’t get infested with ants, but the problem is more pervasive in the fruit trees.

When we talk about pest infestations in trees, ants are quite different from the other types of insects and crawlers. Not all ants pose a threat to your trees – some may even help you look after your trees better!

But the problem is: how do you distinguish between the ants that help your fruit trees from the ones that harm them?

Ants on Your Trees: Good or Bad?

Normally, ants are attracted to the trees for 2 basic reasons. They’re either:

  • Looking for the honeydew excreted by other critters, or
  • Searching for rotten wood or tree cavities to make homes in

Normally, ants don’t physically harm your trees. Instead, they present you with a red flag that your tree might be in trouble. You may require emergency tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth area to restore proper health to your fruit trees.

But, they’re always exceptions!

Like we mentioned before, there are several types of ants. Out of those, there are two types of ants that can actually damage your tree:

The Red Fire Ants

These ants can inflict any living thing they touch with terrible blisters. They are specifically harsh on saplings and young trees. The red fire ants live in dome-shaped mounds that they build usually around the base of the trees. These ants are aggressive and tend to sting anything that disturbs their home. Don’t touch these dome-shaped mounds, instead contact us for quality tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth region.

The Carpenter Ants

The carpenter ants announce their presence with the mounds of sawdust near the base of the tree. Black in color, the carpenter ants normally den inside trees with rotten wood. If you have carpenter ants residing in one of your trees, it’s a clear indication that the tree is weak and can fall anytime. It is best to consult a professional tree service like us in Dallas and Fort Worth area to see whether your tree requires emergency removal or not.

Getting Rid of Ants

An ant infestation may not be fatal for your tree, but it can spread into your homes and other parts of the landscape if not controlled in time. Good thing is that this breakout of ants can be limited and even reversed by simple remedies; alternatively, you can call S & P Tree Service for professional tree maintenance in Dallas and Fort Worth area. Here’s what you should do to get rid of ants:

  • Make peppermint oil and water solution adding 30 drops of the oil into a gallon of water. Spray the solution on your fruit trees. Ants abhor peppermint and will abandon your tree as soon as they smell it.
  • An insecticide or a horticultural soap will kill the insects feeding on tree sap. This will eliminate the supply of honeydew on the trees that attracts the ants. Our tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth area includes getting rid of insect infestations for you. Call 469-789-6775 today!
  • Ant baits lined around the bottom of your trees will capture them as they pass by it.
  • Sprinkle chilli powder around your tree bases and garden beds – the ants can’t stand chilli powder and will stay away from your trees.
  • Black pepper is another potent ant repellent. Sprinkle it around the trees and the ants will be gone before you know it.
  • Line the areas around the base of your trees with cinnamon and the ants wouldn’t cross that line.
  • Want to stop the ants from climbing your trees? Try wrapping your tree trunks with inside out packaging scotch tape. It will keep the ants off, but you need to be on your toes with regular replacement of the tape when it gets dirty with ants and debris.

Getting Rid of the Fire Ants

While we can efficiently manage the removal of fire ants for you as part of our tree maintenance services in Dallas and Fort Worth Area, this is what you need to do if you want to remove the fire ants yourself:

  • Take a large pot that can hold up to 2 gallons of water. Fill it with water and set it on the stove to heat.
  • Heat the water till it’s anywhere between 160 and 170 degrees hot.
  • Once the water is heated, silently carry the pot to the fire ant mound and pour it on the side of it – as near to it as you can. Be careful not to raise any alarm for the fire ants.
  • Douse the ant hill with the hot water – all of it. Remember, your aim is to kill the queen. So make sure you do this anytime before 11:00 am and after 2:00 pm – when the queen is not active.
  • You’re most likely to notice that the ants that survive the flooding would be busy building a new mound nearby. You, need to repeat the procedure – again – and continue so for at least 3 days or until you don’t see ant hills sprouting nearby.

*Please Note: Using this method on ant mounds built too close to the roots of your plants and trees can burn the roots and damage the plant/tree.

It’s best to leave jobs like these for the experts. At S & P Tree Service, we take care of all your tree maintenance requirements in Dallas and Fort Worth region. Check out our broad scope of tree services in Dallas and Fort Worth, for further information.

How to Keep Ants off of Fruit Trees with an Ant Killer Safe for Fruit Trees

This article demonstrates how to keep ants off fruit trees using a liquid ant bait. The correct liquid ant bait can be an effective ant killer that is safe for fruit trees. Killing ants with liquid ant bait is one of the best ways to get rid of ants on fruit trees. In the case of ants on citrus trees, keeping ants off the trees can help to reduce the spread of Huanglongbing, a deadly citrus disease.

How to keep ants off of fruit trees using liquid ant bait, one of the best ways to get rid of ants on fruit trees.

How to Keep Ants off Fruit Trees using Liquid Ant Bait – YouTube video

In addition to this article, I have also made a YouTube video (see below) demonstrating how to get rid of ants on fruit trees using liquid ant bait.

Argentine Ants

The Argentine ant is one of the worst invasive species. From its native Paraná River basin, it has spread to six continents, aggressively displacing native ant species and disrupting ecosystems. California has a supercolony of Argentine ants that covers most urban areas. Because introduced Argentine ant populations lack the genetic diversity of native populations, the ants treat one another as family. The resulting lack of aggression within the introduced colonies gives them an advantage over many native ant species.

Worldwide spread of the argentine ant.

Ants on Citrus Trees Can Be Deadly

Ants are 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. Due to the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing, California is in danger of losing its citrus trees.

Argentine ants on an orange tree harvesting sweet honeydew produced by Asian citrus psyllids.

Beneficial Parasitic Wasps Disrupted by Ants

Parasitic wasps exist in California that are very effective in killing Asian citrus psyllids and reducing their numbers. The below video shows Tamarixia radiata, one of the parasitic wasp species, parasitizing an Asian citrus psyllid.


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. The below video shows Argentine ants on a citrus tree protecting Asian citrus psyllids from Tamarixia radiata.


Even if citrus psyllids are not present, ants on citrus trees 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. The below photo shows ants on my lemon tree tending cottony cushion scale.

Argentine ants on my lemon tree tending cottony cushion scale.

When to use Liquid Ant Bait

Argentine ants have multiple queens per nest and share workers between nests. In order to exterminate Argentine ants, all of the queens must be killed. Argentine ants are most vulnerable in the springtime because worker ants execute a large percentage of the queens. This makes spring the ideal time to bait Argentine ants. Another advantage of starting in the spring is that there are fewer alternate sources of nectar available to the ants to distract them from the bait. In California March is a good month to start baiting Argentine ants. Starting early can also help to avoid the increase in pests such as the Asian citrus psyllid that occurs when ants infest a citrus tree. Ant baits can be placed any time that ants are present.

Worker ants dragging dead Argentine ant queen.

Borax and Boric Acid not Always an Effective Ant Killer

I had unsuccessfully tried ant baits for organic ant control many years ago. I find boron-based ant baits such as those that use borax and boric acid attractive because they only target ants and cause no harm to beneficial insects such as Tamarixia radiata. I first tried commonly available products with no success. I then tried some of the many do-it-yourself borax ant killer recipes on the internet, also without success.

A borax ant killer that did not work for me.

Finding an Effective Liquid Ant Bait

I was surprised more recently when an entomologist suggested that I try ant baits because I had tried them and they failed to stop my ant problem. After further research, I learned how to kill ants more effectively. I had success using a different boron-based ant bait.

An ant bait that worked.

Killing More Ants with less Boron

University of California entomologists have performed extensive studies of boron-based ant baits and have found that the concentration of boron in the bait is critical. Some of the common products use too much boron and thus do not kill an Argentine ant colony. For ants in the house they sometimes quickly kill the invading workers, but they kill the workers so fast that the bait does not make it back to the colony to kill the queens. The same is true of the many borax ant killer recipes on the internet. Although the high-boron baits do not kill the colony, they can still be useful for the case of home invasion if they quickly kill the invading workers. Ant baits with a lower concentration of boron are more effective in killing Argentine ant colonies because the workers are able to take the bait back to the colony before they die and share it with the queens.

Ant bait with too much boron (top) to kill a colony and ant bait with correct concentration of boron (bottom) to kill a colony.

Installing the Bait Station

Whether installing a bait station near a citrus tree or near my house where the ants are invading, I first loosen the soil with a screwdriver. Then I screw it into the ground so that the base is touching the ground and so that the ants can get into the bait station. Next I add the ant bait and put the float on top. The float both allows easy feeding by the ants and also reduces evaporation which would increase the concentration of boron in the bait and make it less effective.

Although I believe that this ant bait is a safe product, I read the label and follow the directions. Per the label I make sure that my daughter and my dog will not access the ant bait.

Installation of the bait station.

Ant Killer Shared by Ants

This ant bait has the correct percentage of boron as shown by studies by University of California entomologists. Ants feeding on this bait share it by a process known as trophallaxis. With the correct percentage of boron, the bait is shared throughout the colony before the workers die. I have succeeded in killing Argentine ants in my yard with this bait.

Argentine ants sharing ant bait via trophallaxis.

Argentine Ants in the House

Argentine ants often invade homes due to changing weather. Winter rains in Mediterranean climates can cause their shallow nests to flood, forcing them to relocate. Argentine ants also tend to invade when the weather is hot and dry. Killing Argentine ants in the yard can help to avoid an invasion later when the weather changes.

Argentine ants invading a house.

Liquid Ant Bait Tips and Tricks

Creating Shade

One thing that can make the ant bait more effective is to create shade for the bait station if it is placed in an area that receives direct sunlight.

Creating shade for the bait station.

Cleaning the Bait Station

Sometimes the ants will become disinterested in the bait if there is a build up of dead ant carcasses. In this case, I clean the bait station with a product such as Clorox Clean up, rinse it thoroughly, and place it again.

Cleaning the bait station.

Argentine Ant Highway

Argentine ants like to use hoses and irrigation tubing as a highway.

Argentine ants on hoses and irrigation tubing.

Placing Bait Stations

Because of this tendency of ants to use tubing as a highway, it is possible to guide ants to a bait station by placing the bait station near tubing. Another good place for a bait station is near an irrigation emitter because Argentine ants are attracted to wet spots in the yard.

Bait station placement near an irrigation line and near an irrigation emitter.

Killing Ants Can Take Time – How to Stop Ants on Fruit Trees Quickly

Because effective boron-based ant baits are slow acting, it can take some time to kill an Argentine ant colony. Rapid results should not be expected. To kill a colony it is necessary to continue baiting as long as ants are present. Another technique that can be used to stop ants on fruit trees more quickly is the sticky barrier. For more robust protection both ant bait and sticky barriers can be used together to  keep ants off fruit trees.

Purchasing Ant Bait

The ant bait demonstrated in this article can be purchased here.

Saving Citrus Trees

Please help to save citrus trees from the deadly Huanglongbing disease by keeping ants off your citrus trees. Also, please share this article with friends who are growing citrus trees. Teaching others how to keep ants off fruit trees can help to save our citrus trees.

Resources for Californians

Please visit for more information on how to stop the spread of Huanglongbing. University of California Integrated Pest Managment has information on other ant baits.


This article was funded by a grant from California’s Citrus Research Board.

eco-friendly method of struggle with diatomaceous earth

I didn't intend to participate in the competition, but I have to share such joy! I didn’t have faith in an eco-friendly ant repellant for a long time. After dozens of torture attempts. Therefore, I was in no hurry to write until I was convinced of the durability of the effect. Not a single ant on the trees for a month already! And there are no bushes!


For two years we literally suffered from hordes of ants. They climbed all the trees and shrubs, bred aphids in their pastures. The plum was not allowed to grow. I almost cried when I saw black-green young twigs - they ate everything! And this despite the fact that I always did something against goosebumps. They arranged anthills under peppers and cabbages (the outcome was lethal for vegetables), stuck around the salad so that they did not let us taste it, etc.

The only time we managed to look at an effective remedy was when a friend sprayed our plum with some kind of poison, along with her trees. At that time, I was happy with chemistry. And in principle, I do not want poison!

All eco-friendly Internet methods I tried were powerless. Neither millet, nor onion peel, nor bandaging of trunks, nor various trapping belts helped radically. For a week, the activity of ants was more or less reduced, no more. We ruined anthills, and immediately got new ones nearby. Boiling water helped to plant at least in the hole, and not in the anthill. Only boiling water is barbarism...

In parallel, a neighbor tried other folk methods on ants, with the same "success". In particular, they fed them with semolina. In short, the end of ant arbitrariness was not foreseen.

Ads by


Accidentally purchased Diatomite (diatomaceous earth) this year. These are the remains of diatomaceous algae. An extremely porous substance with a powerful adsorption capacity. If an insect gets into dry diatomite, it very quickly becomes completely dehydrated and dies. Of course, I decided to try.

Remains of diatomaceous earth from processing my entire young farm:

Part of the secret of success was the wonderful drought we had. There are significantly fewer ants this year than before, but they climbed the trees first thing, barely waking up from hibernation.

So, I sprinkled the ants in the tree trunks with diatomaceous earth. I didn’t take a photo right away, so I didn’t capture the last minute of the life of suicide ants. It became like this:

This is an apple tree:

Below is a pear before the rain:

Imagine my joy, not a single ant! Likewise with shrubs. It is impossible to take a picture there, the bushes have grown.

I watered the trees in a circle, not under the root. After a couple of weeks it rained, "Diatomite" after the rain looked like this:

The ants did not return to such a dead place :)

Here it is pretty foliage without pests:

And clean stems, I’ll show you one, the rest, of course, are the same:

New meetings

When planting petunias, it turned out that one should be planted in a small anthill. The earth was dug up 2 days ago, so the anthill is fresh. The soil was watered in the evening, which is bad for the work of diatomaceous earth. She needs dry! But there is nothing to do, sprinkled. Like this:

The number of ants has decreased dramatically. More precisely, at first they disappeared before our eyes, and then the newcomers became interested in what happened there? There was no time to admire their death, I planted a petunia, I hope the rest will leave. Or I'll sprinkle it on dry soil later.

Diatomaceous earth is also good against fungal diseases and is a source of silicon, so this petunia is lucky. What a joyful secret!

7 dachas recommends to look into the selection of materials and learn more about ants, aphids “subordinate” to them and about different ways to deal with them:

  • Aphid and Ant
  • Ants pest control
  • Effective ant control in the garden
  • Traditional methods of aphid control
  • How to make and properly install a trapping belt
  • Gall aphid on currants: a way to control pests
  • How to get rid of ants forever? I check 9 popular methods from the Internet
  • Creolin to protect fruit trees from pests
  • Get rid of ants: a method with cones
  • Aphids: a video about the method of struggle and a few words in its defense

How to get rid of ants on fruit trees: tips and ways

Ants are the most numerous and highly organized insects on earth. No matter how we treat ants, their appearance on fruit trees will not only not please us, but will also alert us. The insects themselves will not bring much harm to the tree. Aphids bring harm, and ants are companions.

Aphids secrete sweet dew, excess carbohydrate metabolism, which is a favorite delicacy for ants. In order not to lose their nurse, the ants accompany her everywhere, carefully guard, carry her from tree to tree. Thus, they provide food for both aphids and themselves. The aphid also spends the winter in the anthill, and in the spring the ants deliver it to the tree.

Special trapping belts will help keep the ant out of the tree. You can cook them yourself or buy them in a specialized store. As a rule, such belts do not contain pesticides, impregnated with special adhesive solutions, they serve only for trapping insects. By placing them on trees in early spring, 60 centimeters from the ground, they will last until late autumn, and thus save the tree from intruders.

On well-cultivated soil there is no place for an anthill. Some species of these insects make their homes right in the soil. Digging and cultivating row-spacings and trunk circles of trees will reduce the chances of building an anthill. Having found the slightest accumulation of ants, or their larvae, it is necessary to level, dig up this place and powder it with quicklime. Ants have a very good memory, and learning ability, they will teach their relatives never to settle in this place again.

As a rule, a garden, a manor with trees, a dacha are not bare places, they are planted with flowers and plants, and there is absolutely no desire to use pesticides there. If the anthills are not yet visible, and the trees are only occasionally visited by ants, and the aphids do not annoy the garden at all, you can use home-made herbal remedies: tincture of garlic, wormwood, tops of tomatoes, garlic, onions. In the aisles of trees, you can plant and sow aromatic herbs: savory, hyssop, basil, marigolds. All these funds will only scare away the ants.

Baits made from boric acid, sugar and flour will help to significantly reduce the size of the ant colony. Scattering them in places of the greatest concentration of insects, you can not worry about the danger. The drug is completely harmless, its uneaten surplus will serve as boron top dressing for plants.

If the situation is already out of control, and hordes of insects seriously annoy the garden, it is necessary to take drastic measures, and in this case it is impossible to do without pesticides.
When using pesticides, all safety rules must be followed. The modern market for plant protection products is quite large, and you can easily purchase a high-quality and effective insecticide.

Aerosols cannot be used to control ants on fruit trees. Treating a tree with pesticides from the root to the tips of the branches in the hope of destroying the ant is both inefficient and impractical. In this case, baits based on sugar and insecticides will help us.

Learn more