Avoiding Ant Bites When Fruit Picking - Part 2

(This is the continuation of Part 1)
When weaver ants are able to crawl on the fruit picker pole you're using, you can be sure they'll be crawling downwards toward you and bite you. There will be a constant stream of ants that will be on your fingers, hands and arms.

So how do you minimize, if not prevent weaver ants from using the mango fruit picker pole as a bridge to reach you?

Insect Spray to Ward Off Ants

We have an insect spray at home for crawling insects like ants and roaches. Smaller household ants die instantly when they come into contact with the spray. But with the mango trees, we're talking of bigger and more ferocious weaver ants here. Still, I'm still optimistic that the spray would minimize the number of weaver ants would reach and attack us.

Initially, I was contemplating on how to utilize the insect spray to somehow ward off the weaver ants. Do we spray the branches? The thought of toxic material on the fruits is too much. Do we spray on the ants that fall on us? But that would be too detrimental to our health.

Finally, I just focused on the third manner that the ants reach us - and that is through the fruit picker pole. If there's a way to treat the pole so there won't be as much weaver ants crawling on it, it may significantly lessen the ant bites. So in one of our mango fruit picking jaunts, I decided to bring along the insect spray for crawling insects.

Applying the Spray on the Fruit Picker Pole

  • Crawling Insect Spray

  • DisposableThin Plastic Bag


(WARNING: Use precautionary measures when handling poisonous/toxic chemicals)
  1. Fully assemble the poles and the fruit picker.

  2. Spray on the the outside of the fruit picker basket of the fruit picking pole. This is the part of the fruit picker which will be disturbing the top foliage of the tree. The weaver ants will readily attack the cause of the disturbance and therefore crawl on the basket. Avoid spraying on the inside of the fruit basket to minimize contact of fruits to the chemical material. (Note: we peel mangoes and discard the skin)

  3. Wear the plastic bag like a glove in your right hand. With your left hand, spray a bit of insect chemical into the plastic sheet on your palm as shown below.

  4. Hold the topmost pole (where the fruit picking tool is attached) with your left hand. Slide the palm of your right hand along the pole. The purpose is to thinly coat the topmost pole with the chemical insect spray.

  5. Discard the plastic bag after using and wash your hands thoroughly after fruit picking.

We noticed that the number of crawling weaver ants on the pole has significantly decreased with the above procedure. The few ants that managed to crawl on the pole were those that reached the uncoated sections.

One observation is that the mango trees that harbored plenty of weaver ant nests are those that are secluded, unattended or undisturbed by people. These are those that are usually not owned and are located in open areas. Shown below is a mango tree that is largely undisturbed and had weaver ant nests.

When fruit picking, be sure to set aside the picked fruits in a pile that's reasonably distanced away from where you're picking. Otherwise, you may accidentally step on them - not a pretty sight especially if they're soft and ripe. Segregate the dropped fruits that may have fallen due to overripeness. Be sure to eat those first.

Avoid the weaver ant nests in mango trees and you're sure to harvest plenty of ripe mangoes without the annoying ant bites.

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