Organic Pest Control - Sticky Traps

by Doug
(in his garden)

Red ball coated wtih glue and hung in apple tree

Red ball coated wtih glue and hung in apple tree

Yellow Sticky Traps for Organic Pest Control

I don’t know how many of you use Tanglefoot or other horticultural glue but it 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”.

I’ve used it:

* wrapping tape around the bird feeder poles to stop ants from crawling up and drinking all the hummingbird feed.

* 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, place where fruit flies get going, or out in the garden.

*coating yellow tags with glue and stapling the tags to stakes in the vegetable

garden easily catches hordes of aphids and whiteflies. Two notes - staple them to sticks first - and this is the easiest form of organic pest control I know.

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.

Do NOT put it 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 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)

But sticky glue has a lot of uses in the garden for passive pest protection and is one of those little used organic pest control practices that you might consider adopting.

Comments for Organic Pest Control - Sticky Traps

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36" Fan with Fabric Window Screen
by: Don and Mona

At night we use a 36" fan with a light on the inlet side, attached to the inlet side is a fabric window screen. Insects are attracted to the light, and the suction of the fan holds them on the screen as long as the fan operates. You may kill them all with a fly swatter in 30 seconds when you awake in the morning. Most, large insects are not trapped but mosquitoes, gnats, moths, and a million others are trapped. We live between 2, 12,000 acre plus wildlife reserves. After 2 years of use insects, in particular mosquitoes and gnats are not a big problem.

What about carpenter bees & wasps?
by: Anonymous

I know honeybees are beneficial but, I want to kill the carpenter bees tunneling into my house! Also, the wasps that are getting into my house. Please advise about these two. Aren't they pests? Do you have anything sticky enough to catch them? Would Tanglefoot work?

slug bait
by: Anonymous

beer left in shallow dishes (I use plastic coffee can lids, but smaller ones work too) it attacts the slugs/snails and kills them.

Sticky traps & slugs
by: SallieG

I saved all my red peanut butter jar lids punched a hole in and am prepered to slather them with petroleum jelly and hang them in my apple trees by the solstice! For slugs I use 1/2 ammonia 1/2 water in a spray bottle. I am now trying it on asparagus beetle larve.

by: Ann

A commercial pest controller in Florida recommended I purchase a plasticbeach ball (I got the blow up kind at a dollar store), a cheap spray can of black paint, the stickum glue in spray can, and blow up ball,spray with black paint & glue & hang under house with string so itoves in the wind & attracts more. The yellow flies are famous in the spring & summer & their bites are worse than mosuitoes.

cheap glue
by: Anonymous

use castor oil guys its pretty good for small insects

homemade glue
by: Anonymous

I boiled a Qt. of Corn syrup and a Qt of water. painted it on my tree banding. What a joke, dried hard and shiny. .not sticky at all!!

mouse trap
by: Lou

I would try "sticky mouse trap glue", it is cheap and could be spread over any surface.

by: Debbie

We use the yellow card with tangle foot in our certified organic orchard. We cut squares of card and use twist ties and put throughout the cherry orchard. Great for the fruit flies and aphids.

Death to Slugs
by: Opalpus

Does this work on slugs. I am over run with slugs and don't want to use poison but I am being driven til I want to use napalm on the slimy little.....fellows.

Careful with "make your own"
by: Anonymous

I'm having the same problem: can't find it locally. I'm leaning toward making my own. One of you suggested corn syrup. It sounds innocent enough, but if you have bees, they WILL be attracted to corn syrup. Also, Montsanto has genetically modified corn. The syrup made from that corn will flat out kill bees, even if they don't get stuck. (To overwinter bees in cold areas, a supplement of corn syrup was routinely fed to them. A friend of an acquaintance lost 100% (44/44 hives) to Montsanto corn syrup). Beware.

glue strips
by: Anonymous

1 qt. corn syrup and 1 qt. of water and boil to create a non drying sweet glue and spread with paint brush on colored construction paper, pink,yellow,or blue flourescent works good.

thinking about his garden
by: Doug

There is no "homemade" recipe I know of for the glue. BUT you can use simple things like car grease and petroleum jelly. Applied reasonably thickly (you'll have to experiment to get the right amount) they do trap smaller pests (aphids, whitefly) but not the bigger guys who have the power to escape. This material doesn't last as long, deteriorates quicker but is easily available. You'd have to try it to see. I don't use it - preferring the relatively higher cost compared to the performance. But in a pinch.... :)

by: Gramma JoAnonymous

Doug I have used Tanglefoot & tree wrap on my 40ish Pin Oak for about 3 yrs. I was first intruduced to it by one of our local garden centers. My ownly problem is purchasing, local only has about a oleo size container (it only wraps around Pin Oak one season!) I found one internet supply but, shipping killed me. Any advice on where to buy or better yet "Recipe" for homeade ;-) Grm. Jo

recipe for the glue?
by: Rosy

I wonder if there is a recipe for a homemade version of the glue? I live in Africa and ordering would be tricky.

sticky situation
by: Saigee

thanks for the tip. i look forward to trying it!

substitute for glue
by: Familyman

Doug great article.
I have had a bit of success making my own yellow plastic traps using petroleum jelly/ vaseline as the glue.
I am sure it does not work as well or last as long the commercially available glue.

Inside thanks you
by: Lisa

Thanks, Doug! I've got little flying critters that insecticidal soap doesn't seem to be wiping them out completely. I'm gonna get 'em!

inside use? It's called flypaper!
by: county.agent

For Lisa who asked if this method would work indoors - the answer is yes and it has been the means to control housefly populations in farmhouses and foodservice establishments for years. It's called "fly paper" or "fly strips" and it works ...unless you reach up to pull a light chain and pull down one of these babies in the middle of the night. Happened a lot when I was a kid in the 50s. Also a beefed up version catches mice at floor level. Again...very, very, very sticky.

Great tip
by: Anonymous

Thank you. I've frequently heard about sticky traps for thrips and other insects, but don't see them for sale and now I have instructions for making them.

create your own sticky traps
by: Jane Brunton

Did you say somewhere where we can get this glue and what it is called?

web worms and tent caterpillars
by: Anonymous

doug will this method work for trees that get full of these things during the fall?

Inside Use
by: Lisa

Do you see any reason one shouldn't use this method inside?

place to get the sticky glue
by: Rita

I didnot notice where I can obtain this sticky glue.
Do you have a place to order it?

define beneficial
by: Doug

I don't see a lot of beneficial insects - if any - on those traps. But yes, there *might* be some. What I do see are tons of aphids and whiteflies as well as houseflies. The odd beneficial if it got caught would be the price to pay for controlling 90% of the bad guys with traps.

Other beneficial insects
by: Anonymous

I have read about sticky traps before, and although they never mentioned catching bees they did say that many beneficial insects get trapped. Is this true?

by: Doug

Hasn't been a problem - don't think I've ever caught a bee. I guess square chunks of sticky plastic don't look like flowers, don't smell like flowers and don't attract this critter

Good bugs?
by: Anonymous

What about "good" bugs like bees?

Getting Sticky Around Here!
by: Bill Thompson


What perfect sticky short seminar about organic bug control..... I like the fact you suggest creating your own sticky traps from scratch vs. store bought....

Tks for garden tips!


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