Fruit trees can attract a number of animals and insects that can damage both your fruit and your tree. Although there are many commercial solutions to animal and insect infestations, there are often more gentle, natural ways to deal with animal and insect problems. From soap to deter deer to a chili and vinegar spray for fruit flies, try these techniques before resorting to more extreme measures.
There are a number of home remedies to keep deer from damaging your fruit trees. In some cases, hanging soap from your fruit tree may keep deer from eating fruit or bark from your trees. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to drill holes from small hotel sized bars of soap. Hang four or five from each tree. You can also place a full sized bar or soap in a cloth bag and hang the bag from the tree. In some cases, hanging an ounce of human hair in a bag from the tree may deter deer.
Fruit trees often attract ants who feed on both the fruit and on the tree's sap. Borax or boric acid are old home remedies for ant infestations. One recipe for a homemade ant poison and deterrent is to mix equal parts borax and confectioner's sugar. Place this in tins around the base of your tree. If you need something to spread on the tree, mix six parts peanut butter, one part brown sugar, and 1 part boric acid with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread the mixture on the tree trunk to both deter and poison the ants.
Fruit flies often show up in the late summer or early fall. Fruit flies are often attracted to ripe or overripe fruit. One way to control fruit flies is to pick fruit as it ripens and not leave it on the tree to become overripe. However, if this isn't practical, there are a number of home remedies for fruit fly infestations. Dry soap is said to deter fruit flies. Try sprinkling some laundry soap around your tree to lessen the number of fruit flies. For a stronger recipe, mix 2 ounces of beer, 1-1/2 quarts of water, 4 chopped jalapeño peppers, and 2 cloves of garlic in a pot. Bring the pot to a boil and allow it to boil for 5 minutes. Let the pot cool and sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours, add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Strain the mixture and put the liquid in a spray bottle. Apply to your fruit tree as a fruit fly deterrent.