Confronting those local plant pests

In a place where it’s always summer, we get summer problems all year-round.

Take fruit flies for example.  In New York and Georgia, they were atorleyheader062314summer problem and sometimes not even that.  Why not? It’s because our fruit came from the supermarket, and they got it from growers and transporters who sprayed and fumigated and destroyed all the fruit fly eggs.  No self-respecting fruit fly would be found on peaches that had been treated that way.  Here, however, we get our produce  from local farms, often delivered by the farmers themselves, or fresh from our own gardens, so the fruits and vegetables haven’t been treated quite so roughly.  Fruit flies abound.

Now there’s a problem that many people have never faced (unless they are of my advancing years) – the active fruit fly.  What to do, what to do….  I like to dunk the fruit and veggies into an all-natural solution of water and vinegar for about 15 minutes.  This not only washes them but inhibits decomposition and kills any fruit fly eggs.

After the “bath,” just refrigerate the produce and the problem should be solved.  But, if you still see flies, try setting out a dish with apple cider vinegar, water and a drop of dish soap.  The flies are attracted to it and die in the solution.

Then there are those pesky house ants.  Some people call them “sugar ants” but no matter what the name, they are tiny black pests that will find any remnant of food that you left on the counter when cutting up fruit and any speck that fell on the floor.  Again, what to do?

Boric acid is the solution for these pests.  Just mix it with any sort of jelly and put spots of it where you have seen the ants.  Or sprinkle boric acid powder where you see a trail of ants entering (or trying to enter) the house.  Boric acid powder also works on that very miserable pest, roaches.  Brrrrr.

But what about the garden?  My worst garden nightmare is one that tourists (and weren’t we all tourists once) always ooh and ah over.  “Oh look!  They’re so cute!  How can they carry all that?”  You guessed it, leaf-cutter ants.  Yuck.

Leaf-cutter ants are tiny, voracious, and too numerous to count.  They can range up to 152 meters (500 ft.) from their nest, which means a circle of 304 meters (1,000 feet) around the nest.  That’s a lot of territory.

They climb trees, negotiate steep banks, cross streams on branches, and generally wreak havoc on any number of trees, shrubs, and flowers you so lovingly planted.  We have a lot of solutions (some actually work), however, they are for another day.  For now, here is the…

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