NZ Kitchen Garden

Home grown goodness for the kitchen and pantry

Unfortunately, ants like strawberries

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For the last few weeks I have been patiently waiting for for the blush on my first strawberries to rise from their tips to their stalks. But, horror upon horrors, when I finally picked them, I found that the pesky ants had already beaten me there!

It’s fairly common for us to see a fine trail of ants marching up a wall in our kitchen over summer, but not to find ants making a devastating impact out in my vege garden. I can quickly deal to inside ants with bait, however I would like to keep things as natural as possible when it comes to growing the food that we eat. I turned to my trusty gardening books for tips on deterring, trapping or destroying the tiny black soldiers, but alas, only chemical sprays or dusts are suggested. A quick online search raised a few interesting, natural methods. From this list of ideas, I have selected:

  • white vinegar and water – to spray directly onto my strawberry fruit as a deterrent
  • polenta (cornmeal) – to provide a more attractive food source that kills ants (it swells in their bellies and cannot be digested by them)

Here’s my experiment:  Fill a clean yoghurt container with polenta and wrap it in tinfoil to provide some shelter from the rain. Lay the container in the strawberry patch near the scene of the crime, sprinkle some polenta where ants can be seen active and wait …

I’ll keep an eye on the bait – and my strawberries – and provide an update here when I know what’s happening.

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