Aphids ~_~

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Aphids ~_~

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May 30, 2012, 2:13pm

What's your favorite way of killing these pests? I've become such a lazy gardener. I thought my plants were ailing because I wasn't watering them enough, then my high school horticulture lessons hit me last night. Would you believe that I aced that class? Looking at my tomato crop right now, I certainly wouldn't!

Anywho, here's a list of suggestions from Yahoo Voices. I've gone over my plants with the vinegar solution, I've been wanting to plant garlic, and I think I'll give the tin/aluminum/aluminium foil a try. And can anyone here vouch for the banana peel method?

I'm gonna go shower, now. I'm sure it's all in my head, but I can still feel the buggers crawling all over me. >_<

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Neem Oil
Pure neem oil, an oil derived from the neem tree, has long been used in many natural remedies, including pest control. The oil, or Azadirachtin, acts as a repellent and growth regulator. To the insects, the neem oil has a bitter taste, so they will not eat the leaves treated with it. Also, if the insects do come in contact with the Azadirachtin, it prevents the larvae from growing into adults. Neem oil can be purchased at various online stores or made from neem trees.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Homemade Lemon Spray
This natural aphid pesticide works as an instant remedy, killing the aphids on contact. To make this natural pesticide, grate the rind of a large lemon. Boil it in enough water to fill a garden spray bottle. Let the mixture sit overnight. Drain the liquid into the garden spray bottle. Spray the aphids and larvae directly. It will cause them to convulse.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Homemade Vinegar Spray
Get out a spray bottle and fill it 1/3 of the way with distilled white vinegar and the rest of the way with water. This will kill the aphids and larvae on contact.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Aluminum Foil
Place a square of aluminum foil around the base of plants affected by aphids. This causes light to bounce around to the underside of the leaves, which repels the aphids. It is also good for the plants, as it brings them more natural sunlight.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Calcium Powder
Sprinkling calcium powder around the base of the plants is another natural aphid repellent. The aphids do not like the calcium and will generally stay away from it.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Yellow Plastic Bowl
Aphids are naturally attracted to the color yellow. Place a yellow plastic bowl filled about 1/3 of the way with water in the center of the infested area. Many of the aphids will be drawn to the bowl and will go into the water and die.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Banana Peels
Burying shredded banana peels around the base of plants is an odd, but effective remedy. It has been around for ages and many gardeners will swear by it.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Smash Their Buddies
Squashing a few aphids near the infested area will signify to the other aphids that it is time to go. It's a chemical reaction.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Ladybugs
Ladybugs can be purchased at garden and home improvement centers. The ladybugs feed on the aphids and if you purchase enough, the aphids will be gone in no time. Ladybugs are also good for the garden in other ways.

Natural Aphid Pesticides: Garlic or Onions
Planting garlic or onions is another natural aphid deterrent. They do not like garlic or onion and will not likely come near an area they are in.

May 30, 2012, 2:22pm

The only time I ever had aphids in a big way, they were quickly followed by a surge of ladybugs. Final score:

Ladybugs - 100
Aphids - 0

Try to find some of the little dears.

May 30, 2012, 3:29pm

Ants often place aphids on the plants, putting them 'out to pasture' in a way. Deter the ants, the aphids will decline in numbers.

My mother used to use the foil mulch with summer squash, but I'm not sure how well it worked.

Make the water in the yellow bowl soapy water, and it will work better. :)

May 31, 2012, 3:21pm

I have purchased some ladybugs. The florist/horticulturist person told me to wait until evening to sew them, so they're chillin' in my fridge, until then. The massacre begins at dusk.

May 31, 2012, 3:25pm

Chomp on!!

May 31, 2012, 7:51pm

I just hope the vinegar from yesterday doesn't chase them away. I misted them twice over with pure water, and my mom says to mist them with sugar water to make the ladybugs happy?

Jun 1, 2012, 3:05am

It is so cool watching the ladybugs eating the aphids. The trouble is, most of the ladybugs flew away. I don't think they understand that I bought them. *sheesh* Ingrates. *meh* They were actually free with a bag of dirt, so I can pick more up tomorrow for good measure.

Jun 1, 2012, 11:27am

The trouble is, most of the ladybugs flew away.

Yeah, but think of all the good you're doing to your neighbors' gardens. :)

Jun 1, 2012, 11:49am

Hose down the plants you're going to put them on, that will make them want to stick around. They're really thirsty when they've been packed up like that.

Jun 2, 2012, 2:19pm

Ladybugs eat aphids in their larval stage too. You will see these little black wormish sort of things, with red or orange markings. Don't kill them!

Here's some information I found for you, about ladybugs:

After receiving your package of live ladybugs, leave the bag sealed and place them in a refrigerator, or other cool place. This calms ladybugs down from their shipping experience. Early evening is the best time to release ladybugs, and gives them all night to settle in, find food and water, and realize they've found a good home (your garden). Ladybugs are usually thirsty from their long journey and storage, and appreciate moist places to drink. If necessary, sprinkle some water around first before their release. Later on, they'll get most of their moisture needs from eating aphids and other "juicy" plant pests.

Ladybugs like having large pest populations to eat, which helps stimulate them to mate and lay eggs. When food is harder to find, adult ladybugs may fly off, but their eggs then hatch and provide further control. (Both adults and larvae feed on insect pests.) If desired, you can keep ladybug adults from flying by "gluing" their wings shut, temporarily, with a sugar-water solution. Half water and half sugared pop (Coke, Pepsi, etc.), in a spray bottle, works fine. Spray it right in the bag the ladybugs come in, as soon as you open it. You'll easily coat most of them. After a week or so, the "glue" wears off.

What do ladybug eggs and larvae look like? Their eggs look like clusters of little orange footballs, each laid on edge. After hatching, they'll look like tiny black "alligators", with orange spots. Extremely fast moving, they grow to 1/2" long over 2-3 weeks, then pupate, usually on the top of the leaf, into another adult ladybug. One larvae will eat about 400 medium-size aphids during its development to the pupal stage. An adult ladybug may eat over 5,000 aphids during its lifetime (about a year).

When not being used, ladybugs may be stored in the refrigerator, where they live off their body fat. (Keep the temperature between 35-45° F.) They appear almost dead in the refrigerator, but quickly become active when warmed up. How long can they be stored? Usually 2-3 months, but it depends on the time of year, and some losses can be expected the longer they're stored. During early spring (March and April) they should be used somewhat sooner, as these are older ladybugs from the previous year. During May, ladybugs should be released immediately. The new ladybug crop comes in about June 1, and these young ladybugs actually seem to benefit from refrigeration 1-2 months - it simulates winter for them. (Note: Modern frost-free refrigerators tend to dry out ladybugs in storage. For prolonged storage, your bags of ladybugs can be misted or sprinkled with water, perhaps every 2-3 weeks. Allow ladybugs to dry at room temperature until moisture is mostly evaporated, then replace ladybugs in refrigerator.) Ladybugs are one of the few insects we sell that are collected in the wild, rather than insectary grown, so we are dependant on their natural lifecycle for collections and storage. We "crawl clean" all Ladybugs before shipping to ensure that only live ones are sent out, although a small loss in shipping is normal.

In order for ladybugs to mature and lay eggs, they need nectar and pollen sources. This is normally supplied by a wide range of sources such as flowering plants and legumes (peas, beans, clover, alfalfa). If desired, you can use Beneficial Insect Food as a pollen substitute.

Suggested release rates for ladybugs vary widely - we've seen recommendations varying from 1 gallon (72,000) for 10 acres, up to 3 gallons per acre. You can't use too many ladybugs, but remember that they do need time to work - ladybugs need to be released early enough in the pest cycle so they can do their job, and regular, repeated releases of small amounts are often for effective than one, very large release of ladybugs. For home use, 1,500 is usually enough for one application in a small greenhouse or garden. For larger areas, a quart (18,000) or gallon (72,000) of ladybugs may be desired. Many people store ladybugs in the refrigerator, and make regular repeat releases, perhaps weekly.

If ladybugs are used indoors or in a greenhouse, screen off any openings to prevent their escape. And, of course, you'll want to avoid spraying with pesticides, both after release and for at least a month before. (Soapy sprays, such as Safers, are an exception - you can use them right up to the arrival of the ladybugs, and indeed, ladybugs hard outer shell seems to protect them from soapy sprays even afterwards. Botanical pesticides pyrethrin, rotenone, etc. are ok to use if you wait a week before releasing ladybugs.)

Jun 15, 2012, 12:45am

Alas, after a few rounds of ladybugs, I still couldn't get them to stay. It's too dry around here, and the sun gets too hot. I can't keep the plants moist for long enough. *le sigh* On the plus side, they reduced the population enough for my plants to produce fruit!

Jun 15, 2012, 7:57am

We have to be honeybee friendly in my yard so try to use bee friendly controls to battle the naughty bugs. I put out a Japaneses beetle trap not expecting it to work, but the trap is half full of the voracious little suckers. Another rose bud saved!

Jun 15, 2012, 8:52pm

As a child, my mother would pay me a penny for every Japanese beetle I caught or squished. It added up quickly... :)

Jun 16, 2012, 1:52pm

My dad would pay 5 cents a pound for crabgrass pulled up from a brick walk. Of course the grass had all dried out by the time he got home in the evening. Good thing candy bars were so cheap back then.

Jun 18, 2012, 9:34pm

Japanese beetles, hmmm, wonder if that's what's exfoliating some of the leaves in my garden. We're getting more southerly bugs up here these days, with global warming and all.

Jun 19, 2012, 7:47am

You wouldn't have to wonder if they were Japanese beetles. They are more notorious munchers because they are not at all subtle about their presence.

Jun 19, 2012, 7:58am

We had Japanese beetles in Connecticut in the late 1960s, that's when I made all that money!

Jan 17, 2013, 2:30am

I tried neem oil on aphids - it did nothing, as far as I could tell, and made me nervous about touching the plants afterwards.

Squishing seems to work best for me, icky though it is. The only problem is that the deterrent lasts a week at most, and often merely drives them to another plant - so if I have a bad aphid infestation, I'm out squishing basically every day.

I hadn't heard about the vinegar - I might try that next time. Sounds easier than the lemon one (besides, I like the smell better. Yes, I'm weird).

The other thing that works, if you have water with pressure available, is spraying down the plants - washing off the aphids. I don't have a hose on my balcony, so couldn't use that method - just pouring water doesn't help, it has to be a strong spray. But last year I got a pump-up spray bottle to use, and I had fewer aphids last summer than I've had in years. Post hoc, ergo maybe propter hoc.

Edited: Jan 17, 2013, 1:00pm

I saw a suggestion on Pinterest. Wrap a section of wide sticky tape around your fingers, sticky side out, and harvest crowds of aphids onto the tape. Might be fun.

Jan 18, 2013, 9:31pm

Not a bad idea, Ruth...

Apr 13, 2016, 7:41pm

The suggestion about using VINEGAR is very wrong and just seems to be passed from one site to another without knowing the harm.
Vinegar is an HERBICIDE and will KILL your plants. It can be used to kill weeds, but please do NOT use to kill aphids, unless you want to kill your plants also.

Edited: May 4, 2016, 8:52pm

Good to know.

May 11, 2016, 7:25am

Plant a variety of French marigold. I like Brocade Mix. I plant them around my tomatoes and peppers. This is from the website:
The French Marigold flower exudes a potent substance (thiophene) in their roots and leaves. The theory is that the in the immediate vicinity, the substance might catch and kill some of the pests called ‘root-knot nematodes’, a common pest of many vegetables, flowers, and shrubs. Aphids /White flies also hate the smell of the Marigold.

May 26, 2016, 2:31am

I like marigolds, so I'll have to give that a go.

Aug 23, 2017, 4:47pm

Oh yes, I tried the vinegar. It not only didn't kill the aphids, It killed my entire garden. Thanks for the tip.

Aug 23, 2017, 4:49pm

I found that out the hard way!!! I can't believe how stupid I was. considering I have used vinegar to kill weeds. I could just kick myself for being so ignorant. I thought about it 30 minutes afterwards, and went out to hose off the garden, but it was too late. :(

Edited: Jan 15, 2020, 8:06am

Ok. I posted to straighten out the vinegar issue. Vinegar is an acid. It lowers pH. That is why it kills your plants. I do not see it as an effective remedy for aphids because you'll nuke your plants unless the vinegar is so diluted with water that it stays in the proper pH range(6.0-7.0 for most plants). I have used vinegar more than once to pH down hard tap water...but it only takes a little bit. Same thing for baking soda. It raises pH and will also nuke weeds and plants if you raise the pH above the range. Gotta check the pH of your water no matter what you put into it. Both baking soda and vinegar can be used to adjust pH up/down or they can be used as effective, deadly weed killers that won't give you cancer like Roundup and other nasty man made poison. Just all depends on how much or how little you use. But, aphids control? I don't know about that one and I'll not be trying it anytime soon.