Vegetables and Fruit forum→How to keep ants away from fruit?

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bfriedman87
Jun 11, 2020 2:35 PM CST
I have a potted fig tree which grows delicious figs but recently the pot has been crawling with ants which are going through the hole at the bottom of the figs and getting inside the figs themselves. I don't mind if they are on the outside, I would just give it a good rinse, but now they are crawling all over the inside of the figs. I assume the ants have set up nest inside the potting soil. Is there a safe way to get rid of them without compromising the fruits with harmful chemicals?
Foothills of the Italian Alps
Image
ElPolloDiablo
Jun 12, 2020 9:27 AM CST
That "hole" at the bottom of the fig fruit is actually the opening to the place where the fig flowers bloom. Yes, they are on the inside.
I won't explain exactly how figs are pollinated in their natural form because it would take me a few hours, but the ants are basically just swarming inside the fruit (technically an infructescence) to eat the pollen.
Don't worry: this behavior is completely harmless. Once the flowers wilt, the ants will just stop coming.
Over 90% of domesticated fig trees are "parthenocarpic", meaning they have been selected to give fruit without pollination. In fact some old Italian and Spanish cultivars may even given hard, tasteless fig trees if pollinated, but most modern varieties haven't got this problem.
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
-Charles Darwin-

bfriedman87
Jun 12, 2020 11:12 AM CST
ElPolloDiablo said:That "hole" at the bottom of the fig fruit is actually the opening to the place where the fig flowers bloom. Yes, they are on the inside.
I won't explain exactly how figs are pollinated in their natural form because it would take me a few hours, but the ants are basically just swarming inside the fruit (technically an infructescence) to eat the pollen.
Don't worry: this behavior is completely harmless. Once the flowers wilt, the ants will just stop coming.
Over 90% of domesticated fig trees are "parthenocarpic", meaning they have been selected to give fruit without pollination. In fact some old Italian and Spanish cultivars may even given hard, tasteless fig trees if pollinated, but most modern varieties haven't got this problem.


Yeah I'm familiar with the pollination process regarding the fig wasps. I don't see how the ants will just stop coming, they are swarming inside of the ripe figs and I have to throw them away. I wont bite into a ripe fig that's crawling with ants inside. I'm really just looking for a method to keep them away from the figs.
Foothills of the Italian Alps
Image
ElPolloDiablo
Jun 13, 2020 6:20 AM CST
If you just need to keep the ants away, first wash away the ants with a water hose, then you have one of two options.

1)Mix one part of boric acid and two parts of cornmeal and trace a donut on the ground around the base of the tree.
2)Buy some petroleum jelly (aka soft paraffine) and cover the first two inches of the tree trunk in it.
Reapply either as needed.

Ants won't cross either material so they won't have a chance to swarm up the branches and over the fruit.
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
-Charles Darwin-

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