How Effective Is Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier?

Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier is a pest control product that specifically helps protect trees from destructive crawling and climbing insects.

This pest barrier is the perfect way to protect your trees and reduce the invading ant population. When applied properly, this unique product prevents crawling insects like cutworms, black vine weevils, webworms, caterpillars, moths, ants, and weevils from building nests and wreaking havoc on your trees. This product is so effective that it can even catch flying insects that are close by.

Tree Tanglefoot is easy to use and weather resistant. It’s also non-toxic to humans and environmentally friendly. But, if you don’t know how to use this product, you could accidentally damage your tree. This article will teach you how to make maximum use of Tree Tanglefoot.

What Is Tree Tanglefoot?

Tree Tanglefoot Pest Barrier is made from all-natural ingredients such as tree resins, vegetable oil, Tanglefoot glue, and vegetable wax. It’s a sticky liquid with a caramel color that helps keep destructive pests, including ants, weevils, and moths, away from your trees.

The Best Time To Apply Tree Tanglefoot

Knowing when to apply Tree Tanglefoot is very important. For maximum effect, make sure you apply it in early spring or mid-fall.

October and March are the best times of the year to apply Tree Tanglefoot. You should leave the bands for a minimum of 1 month and a maximum of 2 months before removing them.

Always Use a Banding Material

It’s a good idea to protect the bark by wrapping the tree trunk with a banding or waterproof material before applying the Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier. This will also make it easier to remove the product without causing any sort of damage to the tree. Make sure that you cover any holes under the tree wrap. This will eliminate any possibility of ants crawling under the banding material to get to the top of the tree.

There are several options when it comes to the material to wrap the tree with. The weather and climate where you live will determine the type of tree wrap you should use.

If you live in a sunny, dry area, you can use a cardboard tree wrap. But, don’t use a cardboard tree wrap if you live in a rainy area because the rain will cause the cardboard to soften and tear, making it ineffective. In this case, you should use standard kitchen plastic wrap as your tree wrap.

Tanglefoot Insect Barrier

Be Careful When Applying Plastic Wrap To a Tree

Please note that you can only leave the plastic wrap on the tree for 1 to 2 months at a time. Don’t leave it on the bark for a long time. Trees breathe through their bark, so you should remove the plastic wrap once the Tree Tanglefoot has done its job. This will keep the tree from suffering any permanent damage.

Use Cotton Balls When Needed

The bark of mature trees is usually full of lumps, bumps, cracks, and crevices. It’s important to plug those crevices and cracks with cotton balls before you wrap the tree. 

If you don’t, the insects will have a free tunnel to pass under the tree wrap and the Tree Tanglefoot layer unobstructed.

Young trees won’t require cotton balls since their bark is usually smooth.

How To Apply Tree Tanglefoot

The best way to use this product is by applying it around tree trunks using a flat wooden or plastic spatula or, better still, a tube cartridge.

You can use a putty knife to apply Tree Tanglefoot. If you plan on using a knife, be extremely careful with the sharp corners so as not to damage the bark of the tree. It’s better to use a plastic putty knife or a cake spatula with rounded edges to avoid damaging the tree.

Method of Application

  1. Wrap your tree in plastic or cardboard, depending on the climate.
  2. Apply a glob of Tree Tanglefoot to the tree wrap.
  3. Use a spatula to smooth out the lumps.
  4. Make a band of Tree Tanglefoot a few inches from the edge of the plastic, using the spatula to drag the product in the same direction that you wrapped the plastic.
  5. Create a duplicate band a few inches from the first band. This will create two barriers, adding extra protection from pests. If any ants are able to get past the first barrier, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to get past the second barrier as well.

Click here for prices & more info about Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier


Adding Tree Tanglefoot to your pest control arsenal is a step in the right direction for fighting many different tree pests. This product will help you prevent all types of crawling and walking insects from harming your trees. 

Be advised that there are times when Tree Tanglefoot will trap a beneficial insect. The cost of trapping a beneficial insect is far less than not trapping all the destructive insects that want to attack your trees. 

So rest assured, you won’t regret using Tree Tanglefoot as your pest control method. Your trees will be very grateful as well.


Jim Osekowsky

Put tanglefoot DIRECTLY on the bark, otherwise insects will go underneath.

    Lynda Truelove

    The tanglefoot seems to create a problem for the bark if you
    Put it on directly. I have learned the hard way!

    Sonja Lewis

    What is the harm you saw from applying Tanglefoot directly to the bark?


What insect causes galls on the branches of trees like hickory?


    As we’re not experts in gardening, I can’t give you the most competent answer. However, I do know that there are some insects, for example, gall mites, gall flies, gall wasps and gall-making sawflies that lay eggs in the tree or feed from it, therefore increasing the production of growth hormones within the tree which causes galls.

E J Davis

I have a rather large pecan tree . How/where do I place the plastic ?


    It should be put approx. 4ft. Above the ground level.


The pest problem I have is with ants… I hang some hummingbird feeders from my trees and ornamental hangers. The ants crawl up the trees or what ever structure I use to hang the feeders on so they can feed on the sugar water. One method to control the ants that works for me is to put some tape around a tree branch or feeder hanger and coat the branch or hanger with petroleum jelly. This traps the ants. About once a week or so, I need to refresh the petroleum jelly. The ants are clever: they coat the fresh petroleum jelly with dirt or other small particles to make a non-sticky bridge for themselves. I manage this by stirring up the dirtied up goop or just putting on a fresh layer of petroleum jelly. I don’t see that any type of non target insect of animal is harmed by this intervention. It’s cheap, apparently environmentally “safe”, and easy to deploy.


Will Tanglewood trap white flies?


    If they get near it, then yes.

Ivor Moraes

I have an apple tree in my back yard.I get a good crop of apples.However,the apples have lot of holes,some times with insects inside.I live in Richmond,BC.We have a lot of rain.Can you please advise if Tanglefoot would be a good remedy?Also,what type of tape material should I use


    Yes, you can give Tanglefoot a try. Keep in mind it will only work on crawling insects, though. As for material, it depends but we would suggest kitchen plastic wrap for an area with frequent rain in it.


Hi Ivor,
Hi neighbour. Former Richmond resident, now in Ladner. The City of Richmond uses a similar product to band the city trees. You most likely have codling moth. One method that I saw was to use strips of old sheets wrapped around the tree. Check out Pinterest for some more ideas about getting rid of codling moth. Good luck and here’s to a good crop this year!


I’ve used this product effectively for over 20 years on my fruit trees. The product seems to have changed. It is now runny. I apply and then come back 10 minutes later and it has run down the trunk. The viscosity of this product has changed. No longer effective and possibly damaging the tree.


I have “painted” two 2-3 inch bands of tanglefoot directly on the bumpy bark of my stone fruit and apple tree with no problems, with excellent results. Another use (the one I originally bought tanglefoot for) is to “glue” old peach pits together in a mayo lid in my live traps to hinder squirrels and result in a consistent catch. The struggle slows them down and causes them to snap the trap door shut.

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