Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

222 Insect Traps - The Good, The Bad, The Bugly

August 23, 2022 Fred Hoffman Season 3 Episode 222
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
222 Insect Traps - The Good, The Bad, The Bugly
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Summer time is insect time, especially in the garden, both the good guys as well as the ones that you didn’t invite. Today, America’s Favorite Retired College Horticulture Professor, Debbie Flower, tells us about the insect traps that work, and don’t work, when it comes to controlling flies, mosquitoes, yellow jackets, fleas, ants and others.

We’re podcasting from Barking Dog Studios here in the beautiful Abutilon Jungle in Suburban Purgatory. It’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Pots. And we will do it all in a little over 30 minutes. Let’s go!

Previous episodes, show notes, links, product information, and transcripts at the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred, Transcripts and episode chapters also available at Buzzsprout

Pictured: Yellowjacket Bait Trap

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GB 222 TRANSCRIPT Insect Traps: The Good, The Bad, The Bugly

Farmer Fred  0:00  

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred is brought to you by Smart Pots, the original lightweight, long lasting fabric plant container. It's made in the USA. Visit slash Fred for more information and a special discount, that's

Welcome to the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. If you're just a beginning gardener or you want good gardening information, you've come to the right spot. 

Farmer Fred  0:31  

Summer time is insect time, especially in the garden, both the good guys as well as the ones that you didn’t invite. Today, America’s Favorite Retired College Horticulture Professor, Debbie Flower, tells us about the insect traps that work, and don’t work, when it comes to controlling flies, mosquitoes, yellow jackets, fleas, ants and others.We’re podcasting from Barking Dog Studios here in the beautiful Abutilon Jungle in Suburban Purgatory. It’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Pots. And we will do it all in a little over 30 minutes. Let’s go!


Farmer Fred  1:13  

Have you ever tried trapping insects? There's a lot of commercial insect traps available. And there's a lot of garden pests that you can control with traps. There's commercial traps, there's homemade traps, some are good, some are bad, some are kind of ugly. The beautiful Debbie Flower is here, America's favorite retired college horticultural professor, with more about homemade and commercial insect traps. This, when it comes to integrated pest management, is one of the first steps that you should take when controlling a bad bug.

Debbie Flower  1:46  

Absolutely, traps are specific to the insect that you're trying to trap. And so you're not going to interfere with the life of anything else.

Farmer Fred  1:57  

Yeah, we should point out too, that a lot of these traps are basically just bait holders and the insect may take that bait back to their nest and die. But that's still considered a trap.

Debbie Flower  2:08  

Others are sticky, and the insect sticks to it and dies in place. The one I suspect people might be most familiar with is a pantry moth trap that is used indoors. It's not a  garden pest. But sometimes you find little brown moths flying around your kitchen. And you'll open something, maybe cereal. I've had them in spices, pasta, and you'll find little brown worms. And those are the larva of these pantry moths. And so you can pretty readily get these pantry moth traps. They're made from cardboard, they put together to become like a triangle house like an A-frame house. They're sticky, and you throw in a little card. And that's the pheromone and they collect just the moths.

Farmer Fred  2:54  

And you can place it somewhere in your pantry. And go in and check it every now and then see how many moths are on there. You'd be amazed at how many you might find.

Debbie Flower  3:04  

Which is heartening sometimes. 

Farmer Fred  3:07  

And it goes back to know your sources of food that when you get food, especially if you're buying in bulk. You may want to put them in sealed plastic containers.

Debbie Flower  3:19  

Or in the freezer. I put a lot of stuff in the freezer to avoid the moth. So that's one very effective kind of trap. And those are made for many different insect pests.

Farmer Fred  3:28  

Ant traps is what comes to my mind first , especially, are Argentine ants that are in the house. And perhaps you see an ant trail. Sure, you can wipe up the trail, and we've talked about this before over the years about what you can use to attract them and then send them away. Now we will probably talk about it again. But with the commercial ant traps, probably the safest and yet effective active ingredient you should look for is boric acid. You have made in the past the recommendation though to avoid borax. But borax I think is a little different than boric acid.

Debbie Flower  4:08  

I do too. I have to go to the Borax museum, I pass it on the way to Arizona.

Farmer Fred  4:15  

Yes, the 20 mule team borax. Actually a borax Museum. You have mentioned in the past that you don't want to use borax, okay, but boric acid works, especially in the correct proportions. And one of my favorites is a liquid boric  acid product. I'm gonna go get it now as a matter of fact.

Debbie Flower  4:34  

Borax is the actual stone that is mined from the ground or powder depending on how it comes out. And boric acid is a substance that is refined from the borax rock. 

Farmer Fred

I'm back 

Debbie Flower

I haven't seen this one. Oh yeah, the honeydew formula.

Farmer Fred  4:59  

It's called Gourmet liquid and bait. the active ingredient is disodium octoborate tetrahydrate, which is just another name for boric acid, it's at a 1% concentration, it is really low. And you can actually water it down 50%. You put it into a container that looks sort of like the Seattle Space Needle, if you will. And the ants congregate at the base, they see the liquid , they go in, they take it and they go back to their nest, and they die.

Debbie Flower  5:32  

Yeah, I've seen a lot of different concentrations of the boric acid with usually it's with something the ants want to eat. A sugar recipe I know is a 10%, I was reading another one that talked about from Florida that talked about 2%. And this is just a 1% concentration. The thing that has to happen is is you have to have the concentration low enough that it doesn't kill the worker ant before it gets back to the Queen. Once the queen in the ant nest is dead, all the other ants don't have a purpose in life and the whole thing falls apart.

Farmer Fred  6:11  

We'll have links in today's show notes about this particular liquid and bait along with the stations that you can put it in, which includes several models, the one that I have, that seems to work and like I say it looks sort of like the Seattle Space Needle. If you live in the Sacramento area it looks just like the Cal Expo water tower.

Debbie Flower  6:30  

Does the dispenser or the trap come with the bottle of liquids? 

Farmer Fred

purchased separately. 

Debbie Flower

purchased separately. Okay. And this is safe to use indoors like in your kitchen as well as outdoors. 

Farmer Fred  6:45  

Correct. Place the bait stationon or near an activity, Playstations, under food cabinets and sinks, stoves, refrigerators, food storage areas, attics, garages, basements, closets, place on exterior window sills and in doorways to help prevent entry events. Some bait stations may be designated to be affixed to a wall, hung on pipes or branches, anchored in the ground or placed on a flat surface. 

Debbie Flower

Wow. Sounds like anywhere.

Farmer Fred

Yeah, they have all sorts of different types of bait stations that would work on this. This particular product on its label says that this bait product can be used on a variety of bait stations including Ant Topia,  K&M Ant Pro bait stations, or other similar stations that are sold separately. Okay, the trick with this is, it slowly dribbles towards the base. the ant doesn't drown in it. They just gradually. let me bring up a picture of it to show you what we're dealing with here.

Debbie Flower  7:49  

Yeah, that when you make your own you typically have it in something flat. So you've got a flat puddle, sugar and boric acid and they eat around the edges. Or you put it in a container with cotton balls, and it's a liquid and it sits on the cotton ball so they don't drown.

Farmer Fred  8:06  

So actually a more accurate description of the K&M Ant Pro liquid bait dispenser. It looks like a pawn in the game of chess.

Debbie Flower  8:14  

Oh yeah, I see that. 

Farmer Fred  8:15  

And so the liquid is on top, it's slowly dribbles down to this outer area. And then there's followed by an even lower Ridge, the ants climb up on the ridge, sniff around, they say, “’something smells good in here.” And they take a drink and take it back to the nest.

Debbie Flower  8:28  

I liked that it continuously dribbles down. When I've made my own, I have to add more to it about every day because it dries up. It's you know, when that mix of water, sugar, and boric acid is open to the atmosphere. It dries out, right.

Farmer Fred  8:41  

Yeah, and this is a closed container, so it does last longer like that. We'll have a link to this in today's show notes. What about bait traps for slugs or snails? I know there's bait. But are there traps?

Debbie Flower  8:55  

Well, the kinds of traps that we make don't include the bait that you buy commercially. Instead, it's something like beer or non alcoholic beer, if that's your preference. And you put it in a container like a pie pan and lower it into the ground. And they climb in at night. Slugs and snails feed at night and then they find a place to hide during the day. And so you put this out at night and they fall into the beer and they drown.

Farmer Fred  9:22  

Yay. Yay. Yeah, you could probably go with the Old Style beer or one of the $2.99 six packs of beer. Yeah. And that that does work. As long as, I guess, the dogs and cats can’t get to it.

Debbie Flower  9:35  

I have never had a dog. Will a dog drink from it? A cat wouldn't . 

Farmer Fred

A dog would. 

Debbie Flower

Okay. So don't let your dog out at night when the beer trap is filled or don't let him into that portion of the yard. 

Farmer Fred  9:49  

Well, if all that's in it is beer. And it's a small container. It depends on the size of the dog.

Debbie Flower  9:55  

I’m not worried about the dog. I'm worried about the trap being empty.

Farmer Fred  9:59  

All right. And then of course, we've talked in the past about products that are iron phosphate, that are granules that you will put out there and that's just little granules that the snails will pick up and take back to the nest.

Debbie Flower  10:10  

As always, read and follow label directions because the amount of granules you use is very, very, very few. There used to be a metaldehyde bait . It was the only one we had before the iron phosphate became available to control slugs and snails,  and that one, you would put out as a line, so that they didn't cross. It's continuous. This is not true with the iron phosphate baits. You don't put them out in the same density.

Farmer Fred  10:34  

Yeah. And this isn't a bait trap so to speak, but it works as far as deterring slugs and snails. It is a strip of copper, right? It zaps them. Because their stomachs are made out of something that likes electricity or something , and well, they're wet. 

Debbie Flower

Yeah, they're, they're slimy. 

Farmer Fred

And when they hit that copper strip, it gives them a shock and they turn around. The key though with that is you need to keep that copper surface clean. So the wooden top of a raised bed would work perfectly for that. However, you want to make sure there's no snails in the raised bed when you apply the copper strip, otherwise you've locked them in the restaurant. 

Debbie Flower  11:10  

They’re not going to come out. And a place that they like to hide is between the wall of the raised bed and the media that's in it because that's shady and cool. So that's a good point. Yeah, and containers as well. The slugs and snails hide in the drain holes at the bottom of the pot.

Farmer Fred  11:23  

We all have flyswatters. Some of us have flypaper. Yeah, tell us about flypaper.

Debbie Flower  11:29  

Flypaper is just a strip of paper that's coated in something sticky that they fly into. You can buy it commercially or you can make your own out of a very thin plastic, like the plastic grocery bag, and then put something sticky on it. Vaseline would work. Tanglefoot, which is a brand of stickiness, for pest control, would work and hang it where you have a fly problem. But the commercial ones, just read the label . Always read the label. The commercial ones often have an insecticide in them so that the fly dies from the insecticide as well as getting just stuck in it. If you're just using the sticky stuff, they just get stuck and they're stuck there till they till they die from lack of water or whatever. But you don't want those that are emitting pesticides in your house, or in a place where people gather and would breathe that insecticide.


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Farmer Fred  14:18  

I am amazed at how pheromone traps work, especially for the codling moth that lays the worm that you see the exit hole in your apples right when the worm is coming out after it's been laid there by the moth. And those pheromone traps hanging in the tree usually in early spring. It's a very complicated formula for when you're supposed to hang pheromone traps for codling moth. It has to do with degree days and it gets  confusing. If you just start as soon as you see the flowers and keep them out until you harvest the fruit, you'll be okay

Debbie Flower  14:54  

Right the flowers also respond to degree days, so they would be a good check.

Farmer Fred  14:58  

But these pheromone traps attract the male codling moths, and that's a sign that you got them. I mean, obviously, you're not going to get them all, but at least they're around, and you've controlled a few. 

Debbie Flower  15:11

And then they can't mate with the female who lays the egg,

Farmer Fred  15:15  

And he's stuck in the traps, and there are pheromone traps for all sorts of insects,

Debbie Flower  15:18  

there are. There are pheromone traps for lots of insects. I suspect Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley would be a source of that. 

Farmer Fred

Yes, they would be a suspect. 

Debbie Flower It's a great business for many organic and less harmful pest controls.

Farmer Fred  15:34  

There is one trap, it's been around for years and years and years. And it's entertaining as all get out. They are electronic bug zappers. But electronic bugs zappers, though, are falling out of popularity and for very good reasons.

Debbie Flower  15:52  

right. They're the ones that you hear that goes “craaack” when something flies into it, and there's usually a light, it's often a blue light, but there's a light that attracts insects that fly at night, and they're attracted to that and they are killed by it. The idea is you're gonna kill your bad bugs that way. But a lot of times, you're getting the good guys as well.

Farmer Fred  16:11  

Because they're attracted to the blue light. And so I would bet that the majority of bugs that you're actually killing, and by the way, attracting to your yard, could be good guys. The problem with the electronic bug zapper is, it shouldn't be hanging in your yard, it should be hanging in your neighbor's yard, because it's going to attract them.

Debbie Flower  16:29  

And that's the thing about baits of all sources. Baits attract them, they come from a distance, more or less, depending on what the trap is and how sensitive the insect is, from where can they detect it, but they come from a distance to go there. So don't put the trap where you have a great meal for them, put the trap elsewhere so that they leave the meal and come to the trap instead.

Farmer Fred  16:53  

Also, if you were talking about a bigger pest here other than an insect… but rats. and there are electronic rat traps that can catch fire. Oh, they're battery operated or actually plugged in and the rat is attracted to what looks like a little lunchbox. And they crawl in and they get zapped. The problem is, it can start a fire. It even says that on the box. But you don't learn that until after you've purchased it online. So I tell you what, if you ever want an electronic rat trap, I've got one for you.

Debbie Flower  17:27  

Okay, but I have two cats. Okay. Yeah. Except when they bring them in, live. Yeah, yeah, that happened.

Farmer Fred  17:34  

Yeah. I don't know if we want to get into rat traps or not. But sometimes the old traps work the best right? Old snap traps, right? 

Debbie Flower  17:41  

Yes, that's when they do come in the house when the cats have brought a live rat into the house and released it. Yes. And we become aware that there's a rat running around the house somewhere, we try to catch it and take it outside and let nature take care of it. But if we can't, and they're very wily, in some cases, they go places you can't get them, like under the washing machine, when I opened the door to the washing room. So we put in those little snap traps. First you put them in with bait, but not set. Let them get used to the presence of the trap. And then once once they eat -  we use peanut butter - then you put them in with peanut butter and set the trap. And then while you're watching TV, you hear “snap”. Then you say, “ I'm not going. you go.”

Farmer Fred  18:26  

there are all sorts of enclosed traps like that that keep curious dogs and cats away.  That have it's usually a poison in there for the rats. I'm torn about those.

Debbie Flower  18:38  

Yeah, my parents had them. They lived in New York and had a lot of vegetation. A lot of ground cover. We had cats as kids, but not as my parents aged. And they got into the attic. So they got a pesticide company that put them out and monitored them and would restock the bait periodically.

Farmer Fred  18:59  

What about some homemade traps that use some sort of like fruit juice, and it's usually involving a cut off container, like a large soda pop bottle and some trap juice and a funnel.

Debbie Flower  19:12  

Yeah, those are called pit traps. You take an empty soda bottle, cut the neck off, flip it upside down so that where you would drink from is at the bottom and it looks like a funnel and it's hanging inside the rest of the bottle. And then you fill the bottom with whatever will attract the pest of choice. So for flies, it would be something sugary. That could be fruit juice. if you live near dead animals. You might have blowflies or carrion flies , and they are attracted to something like meat, something with protein in it. If you have fruit flies, which I've had in my kitchen, you can put in something like beer, wine, cider vinegar or ripe fruits, so there's a little bit of fermentation going on and they will go in there and drown. Wasps will also go into that similar container. And once they're attracted, you want to have liquid in a little bit of oil. So that gets coating, their body gets coated with the oil and then they can't breathe, and they die.

Farmer Fred  20:18  

I guess while we're on the subject, we can talk a little bit about Yellow Jacket traps. There are traps you can buy commercially, they're usually like yellow cylinder shaped, they usually come with some sort of pheromone that you put in there. But you can also bait it with  old lunchmeat, things like that. And that attracts the yellow jackets. And you got to know the difference between a yellow jacket and a paper wasp. The  paper wasp. When it flies, its legs are hanging down. And  they're kind of laconic. And they're the ones that build the egg crate like structures under the eaves and build their nests. 

Debbie Flower  20:53  

They're gray and they're actually made of wood that they chew up in their mouth.

Farmer Fred  20:56  

No, those aren't your problem. Yellowjackets are a problem. Yellowjackets usually nest in the ground, in old tree crevices or holes. Or if you're like Fred, they nest in the old big planters that you put in the back 40 . Oh yeah. And then you go to grab a container  one day that you’ve lifted out of the ground, and all of a sudden you're being chased. And they will stick around, they will follow you. If you want to get away from them, you have to run a zigzag pattern. Don't run a straight line;  run a zigzag pattern. 

Debbie Flower  21:33  

Would water help if you had a pool? 

Farmer Fred  21:37  

Actually, they would wait for you. 

Debbie Flower

Oh, boy. Yeah. 

Farmer Fred

So how long can you hold your breath? 

Debbie Flower

They have an issue! 

Farmer Fred

Yeah, they do that. You've ticked them off by disturbing their nest. And it's usually that. disturbing their nests when it becomes a problem. But the yellow cylinder-like traps do a pretty good job, especially in late winter, early spring, when the queen is out looking to establish a new home. You want to capture the queen. You can capture 1000 workers, but if you don't capture the Queen, you've still got a problem. 

Debbie Flower  22:08  

Yeah, and every year, everybody dies except the queen. And she's already impregnated, and she spends her winter pregnant and hanging out someplace safe. And then she starts to build a nest, and has babies who then become her slaves. But yeah, that was very interesting when I learned that all those yellow jackets die except for her.

Farmer Fred  22:26  

In your fondest wishes, would you ever want your children as slaves? now there's an idea.

Debbie Flower  22:33  

I think that's been tried, it's not gonna happen. They're also some fly traps that are similar to the Yellow Jacket traps. They're not yellow, but they have a pheromone in them and you hang them outside and it attracts flies. I had to use one once when I brought in a whole bunch of bagged chicken manure. And the fragrance was such that it attracted lots of flies. And so I had to hang the fly trap and they worked very well.

Farmer Fred  22:56  

Another natural control for a big fly population, especially if you have horses, and you have a barn and you have a lot of horse manure around. The flies like to  congregate in the horse manure. Soldier fly larvae can go a long way to controlling that.

Debbie Flower  23:14  

That's a case where you would probably contact an insectary there's one called Rincon-Vetova. I had a friend who had that exact problem. She had horses and so she contacted them and they are very knowledgeable. They need to know about your temperatures, and how big is your pile? I don't know exactly what questions they're going to ask you. But they will ask you a bunch of questions and they can  put you on an automatic mailing, where you will get a live population of whatever's needed to control the pests you have in your manure.

Farmer Fred  23:46  

Let's talk about one pest that doesn't get enough publicity. Fleas. Fleas are difficult to control. You need a three way attack when it comes to fleas because it usually begins maybe with your pet, right? And then you're gonna have possibly the fleas inside the house. Then you could have fleas in the yard as well. Especially in damp shady places. woodpiles things like that. How do you control fleas with a trap?

Debbie Flower  24:16  

Well, fleas are attracted to warmth, which makes sense because they get on animals and feed and they're attracted to light, and so you can make a trap of your own with a light. iI’s gonna have to be an old fashioned light, like a halogen bulb or something that generates heat. A  halogen bulb or  an incandescent bulb, if you can still find one. And hang that over a dish  that contains soapy water and they will fly to the heat source and fall into the water.

Farmer Fred  24:47  

How much is that light above the water?

Debbie Flower  24:50  

I don't know that detail.  But another option is to get  these floating tea candles.

Farmer Fred  24:56  

If you say so.

Debbie Flower  24:57  

Yes, for decorating indoors.

Farmer Fred  25:02  

Your fancy outdoor dinner parties with the yellow plates.

Debbie Flower  25:06  

With the floating tea candles, the fleas come right to it. And so you're gonna float that in the dishwater, the soapy water and the light each night. And then the fleas will come to that source of heat and light and fall into the water. And that's maybe a little safer way to go. It's you've got a floating small floating candle in water. So if something went awry, hopefully the water would put the light out. And you're not plugging in a light and having electricity in your water. So each one has its risks.

Farmer Fred  25:38  

Yeah. What about mosquitoes? There's certainly a lot of alleged cures for mosquitoes. Citronella seems to be the active ingredient that a lot of people tout, be it citronella plants or citronella candles,

Debbie Flower  25:51  

 I dislike the smell of citronella. My mother used to use it when we would picnic outside and I could taste it. I didn't like that. We're eating food. I want to taste the food. The number one thing I like, is a fan. Just turn on a fan. You got a breeze going. They can't fight the fan. But another way is some sort of smoke. I use incense sticks. The citronella candle produces smoke. And those things keep the mosquito away.

Farmer Fred  26:17  

So, if you're having an outdoor dinner party, and you've got a mosquito issue, call in the College of Cardinals to come to your place to elect a pope. And then when they start burning the fire, there’s smoke.  And hey, you have no mosquitoes when you eat.  Or put in a ceiling fan.

Debbie Flower  26:33  

Yes, keep the air moving. I just have a big box fan that I haul out of the garage.  And turn it on.

Farmer Fred  26:39  

Why are mosquitoes attracted to carbon dioxide?

Debbie Flower  26:43  

Well, that's a good question. I assume it is because it's going to be there, around a human or an animal, it is something live  from which they can get a blood meal, which is what they're looking for. And so there are ways to attract them to a trap that's producing carbon dioxide,

Farmer Fred  27:00  

(Dogs barking) By the way did I welcome you to barking dog studios? Welcome to Barking Dog Studios.

Debbie Flower  27:05  

And so you're gonna mix some brewers yeast, which is fairly easy to go to get, you might have to go to a health food store, brewers yeast with some water and sugar, you're gonna use that same sort of trap where you cut the top off the soda bottle and turn it upside down. But in that the bottom of that bottle, you're gonna put a solution that produces carbon dioxide. And there are ways to make that. Mix a sugar solution with water that does not have chlorine in it. A lot of our municipal water has chlorine in it, as a health control for us. So one way to use your municipal water is to just boil it,  boil off the chlorine. then cool it. Mix that with sugar and some brewers yeast. A cup of water, a quarter cup of sugar, a gram of yeast for a two liter sized bottle, put that in the bottom of the bottle, put the the upside down top that's like a funnel in there and just put it out. It will produce a steady stream of carbon dioxide and then that will attract the mosquitoes who will go in and drown.

Farmer Fred  28:06  

And I guess if you want that mixture to keep bubbling just put in more yeast, right.

Debbie Flower  28:09  

Right, and add sugar, for the yeast to eat.

Farmer Fred  28:12  

all right, because they're attracted to carbon dioxide, right?

Debbie Flower  28:15  

They also apparently, I didn't know this till I did some research, are attracted to dark colors. So you may want to put some black tape on the bottle or something.

Farmer Fred  28:24  

Okay, and of course, I think most people know by now that you don't wear aftershave or perfume to an outdoor summertime dinner party, because they'll be attracted. 

Debbie Flower  28:32  

Yes, they like that smell. Yeah. 

Farmer Fred  28:35  

Can these traps be used indoors? 

Debbie Flower  28:36  

Yes, they can. Carbon dioxide gets a bad rap because of our environment. But we're producing it all the time, in many ways: breathing, driving our cars, burning things in general. All are producing carbon dioxide. And this is a very minimal amount.

Farmer Fred  28:52  

One of the handiest things to have in the handy kitchen drawer and everybody has a handy kitchen drawer, where you throw screwdrivers, rubber bands, whatever, is double sided tape. Because double sided tape can catch you some crawling insects.

Debbie Flower  29:07  

Yeah, crawling scale. Scale is another one of those sucking insects that attaches to plant parts. It's typically attached to the less herbaceous part so like the vein of the leaf or the stem. And some scale does produce honeydew. The soft scales produce honeydew. Hard scales do not, but they all produce a crawler stage. And that crawler stage crawls loose from the parent. So the mom has stuck herself to the plant, put her mouthparts in. she just looks like a disc on the plant and has her babies, and does everything just sitting there. And eventually the babies get big enough to crawl and find their own place to feed and so they walk. And if you put double sided tape around the plant part that has the scale problems, they'll walk on it and get stuck.

Farmer Fred  29:54  

But then you have to remove the tape, I would think, on a regular basis. And how do you apply double sided sticky tape to a plant stem?

Debbie Flower  30:02  

Yeah, you just go around the stem, I was thinking a leaf because they can feed on the back of a leaf. But for a leaf, you probably do it on the petiole, which is the leaf stem, just wind it around. They're so thin, you may just end up making a flat spot, or around the stem itself, but you want to go all the way around.

Farmer Fred  30:21  

And probably replace that tape weekly, I would think depends on the number of scale you find.

Debbie Flower  30:26  

Anything sticky like that. And they're also sticky fluids, we've talked about the Tanglefoot that you can use on plant parts will collect other things, including dirt, if it's windy and dusty, you're gonna get dirt on there.

Farmer Fred  30:38  

Here's a lesson I learned the hard way. Regarding scale and citrus trees. Sometimes in the wintertime, when it's going to be really, really cold. You might be tempted to wrap the base of your citrus tree in cardboard, or pipe insulation or something just to protect the trunk, especially a young citrus tree, from a hard freeze that might be coming. Well, if you leave that pipe wrap or cardboard wrapped tightly around there for too long, and you go to take it off,  a few weeks or a couple of months later. It's amazing the number of scale that are in there. 

Debbie Flower

Oh, really? 

Farmer Fred

Yeah, you just created the bad bug hotel.

Debbie Flower  31:14  

This is one of the reasons we don't paint or cover wounds, pruning wounds on woody plants ever. Because it tends to bubble up or create little pockets that insects can live in. And fungus and bacteria.

Farmer Fred  31:27  

Yeah, exactly. When it comes to pruning trees as you might want to do in the wintertime, you don't want to put that sealant on, just because you might be locking those bad guys in, right where they can reproduce,

Debbie Flower  31:42  

Protecting them from the beneficial insects and anything else that might kill them.

Farmer Fred  31:47  

And again, with the double sided sticky tape, it's really a monitoring tool. It's not so much an eradication of the whole population, but it's gonna let you know there's a problem. And I know people who if they see a lot of scale on citrus trees, they'll just take a plastic scouring pad and scrape them off.

Debbie Flower  32:04  

And that's the interior scrapers way of handling pests because using pesticides inside is a really complicated thing. You have to be licensed etc. But if you just clean the plant, keep the plant clean, a lot of your problems go away.

Farmer Fred  32:19  

This was a lot about traps today. Did we leave anything out?

Debbie Flower  32:22  

Boy I'm sure there's more we could discuss, but we've really loaded their heads with lots of trap information.

Farmer Fred  32:29  

Read and follow all label directions always. 

Debbie Flower

Yes indeed.

Farmer Fred

Debbie Flower, thanks for helping us to do some trapping today. 

Debbie Flower

You are welcome.


Farmer Fred  32:43  

 Coming up in the Friday August 26, 2022 Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter, Debbie Flower and I discuss a pesticide that is available to the home gardener. It’s a systemic insecticide, which means it controls sucking or chewing insect pests by poisoning the plant parts that they’re eating. Problem is, the beneficial insect population is at risk, too, when they’re around a plant that’s been treated with this insecticide, Imidacloprid. That’s the active ingredient found in many garden insecticides. We tell you how it works, what it controls, and most importantly, how to read the label correctly so you don’t misapply Imidacloprid and harm the garden good guys. 

It’s all about Imidacloprid.  Find a subscription link to the newsletter in today’s show notes, or visit our website, Garden Basics dot net, where you can sign up to have the free, Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter and podcast delivered to your inbox each Friday. Also at Garden Basics dot net, you can listen to any of our previous editions of the Garden Basics podcast, as well as read a transcript of the podcast episode you are listening to now. 

For current newsletter subscribers, look for All About Imidacloprid in the next Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter, coming out on the morning of Friday, August 26th in your email. Take a deeper dive into gardening, with the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter. And it’s free. Find the link in today’s show notes or at garden basics dot net.

Farmer Fred  34:05  

Garden Basics With Farmer Fred comes out every Tuesday and Friday and is brought to you by Smart Pots and Dave Wilson Nursery. Garden Basics is available wherever podcasts are handed out. For more information about the podcast, visit our website, GardenBasics dot net. That’s where you can find out about the free, Garden Basics newsletter, Beyond the Basics. And thank you so much for listening.

Insect Traps Pt. 1
Smart Pots!
Insect Traps, Pt. 2
Beyond the Garden Basics Newsletter