Insects On Figs – How To Deter Them Without Killing

Q: I have a fig tree that is covered with little juicy nubs where figs used to be. Every time one gets ripe, large black wasps with white marks descend and devour it before I get a chance to pick it. I don’t want to kill the insects. I don’t use any insecticides in my yard but I would like to find a way to discourage these guys.

A: This is a tough one to figure out what to do. The insects with the white marks are very likely bald-faced hornets. They are big insects and they have big mouths and they love sweet things. That’s why the eat your figs so voraciously. There is probably a big nest somewhere nearby. Look up in trees and under eaves to check. The first thing I can think of to do for your fig bush is to cover it with cheesecloth or screen wire, whichever is cheaper. Either way, it would be somewhat expensive. Or maybe you could make something more attractive nearby. Fill a saucer with sugar water and put some gravel in it so the hornets can land and sip up the sweetness and leave easily. Even consider jerry-rigging a large box fan on a stand near the bush to blow air on it during the day. Most flying insects do not like strong wind currents. That’s all I have. If you think of something more, let me know!

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