Welcome to spring! You've got a GREAT garden growing...and then the swarm of bugs shows up. Ugh.
Never fear, Instructables are here!
We LOVE our garden-fresh vegetables, but really dislike them being the buffet for all the bugs. We also don't like spraying poisons or toxins, so... what to do? Fight back with some high and low tech methods that REALLY work!
In this instructable, you will learn how quickly and easily you can make sturdy, waterproof insect traps that really work well, and do not break the bank! Ready to save your crop? Let's get started! : )
Step 1: Gather Materials /Tools
There are basically 4 materials used in this low-tech version of my sticky traps:
1. Old plastic vertical blind pieces, cut into 10-12" lengths
2. Fluorescent Yellow and/or Green spray paint.
3. Tanlgefoot ® Insect barrier tree resin.
4. 1/4" wooden dowel rods, tomato cage stakes or bamboo stakes.
1. Cheap, bristle 2" paint brush. (don't toss it - you can put in plastic bag for reuse next year!)
2. Disposable nitrile/latex or plastic gloves.
3. Cordless drill with appropriate sized drill bit for the stakes/dowel rod size you used.
Step 2: Cut and Paint Your Panel Sections
Measure and cut your vertical blind sections. You can use a utility knife if that's all you have, but that can be tedious. You can use a straight edge to guide and score the plastic in the same spot and simply bend the panel- it should snap cleanly on the score line. In the interest of saving time, you can also bundle a bunch of them together and tightly wrap with painters tape and cut them in one fell swoop with a chop saw, if you have one. As always, safety and eye protection are one and the same. No matter what method/tool you use, do it slowly and safely!
I like to cut my panel sections to about 10-12" in length as this makes it easier to insert the dowel rod sections into and gives you more surface area to attract those pests!
In my picture above I have cut and arranged quite a few panels closely together on a scrap of cardboard we had laying around. It may take a few coats of the spray paint to get a solid coating of color. The idea of the color is to ATTRACT the bugs, so you want them to really stand out. (The yellow color seems to attract/work best after testing.)
After your panels have dried, flip over and paint the other side. You really want deep color on both sides as this increases attraction levels for the insects.
Step 3: Drill Dowel Rod Holes, Insert Dowels and Coat With the Resin.
Okay so that's roughly three steps, but you get the idea.
The plastic vertical blinds can be drilled through fairly easily with a sharp drill bit, but they can also crack/splinter if you are not careful! Slow and steady pace, wins the race here. I find that drilling my 2 dowel rod holes are best not drilled too close to the edge- maybe about 3-4" inches from the edge should do.
After you have your panels all drilled it's time to insert your dowel rods, stakes or bamboo sticks.
I have found that dowel rods are the easiest to insert through the panels, but they easily warp with repeated water/sun exposure. Drat!
Bamboo stakes are super strong, but not always uniform in size, and you cannot always push them through the holes because of the joint sections being thicker. Double-drat!
That leaves the plastic tomato plant stakes. They are essentially weatherproof, uniform in size and easily inserted through the holes. They can be sourced at most big box or garden centers for not too much AND you can re-use them year after year. Woo Hoo! After you have threaded or inserted the dowel rods/stakes into all of your panels, it's time to get down to the sticky business.
Now for the FUN part. You DID get some gloves I hope? The TangleFoot® tree resin IS extremely sticky stuff and also why these work so well. You can also find this at better garden centers and I like ACE hardware as I can get most all the materials there! This resin is not new - it's been in use since 1885 and still great! Cost is about 10 bucks for enough to coat quite a few panels. Open the container and place the resin in direct sunlight to soften it up. This stuff is extremely thick (like caramel) and the sunlight really helps to thin it out so you brush it on your panels.
If your panels holes are not too big, you will find that you can hold each one by the dowel rod/ stake and evenly brush the resin on both sides. I don't worry about getting too much on the stakes, it just adds more sticky!
Step 4: Deploy Your New Traps!
Within 30 seconds of deploying my sticky traps they were catching those pesky flea beetles that were eating my garden alive. Ha! Here you can see both the front and backside of one done in both yellow/green.
For those concerned about catching the 'wrong' kind of bugs- don't fret. These colors are optimal for catching ONLY the pests you don't want leaving beneficial insects alone. With 2 seasons of use I'm happy to report that we only saw ONE ladybug get stuck (sigh) and zero bees. Those are numbers I can live with! These really are very useful for your garden areas but keep away from small children and pets! These ARE incredibly sticky messy traps that work really, really well..but you don't want this in your hair or on your clothes. If it happens, don't worry- just search Facebook for Grime Solver for an easy way to remove the sticky from both. (full disclosure: that is my product as well)
My 3D-printed 'high-tech' version is still a WIP and will be posted here as soon as it is completed and tested. My apologies for not having it done in time for this contest! This is my very first instructable and I hope you like it and it can save your plants as well!
Runner Up in the