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Author Topic: Aphids - where do they come from?  (Read 18571 times)
joekun
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Posts: 226

Southern California, Zone 10


« on: May 31, 2006, 08:11:32 PM »

I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment building.  I'm growing several plants on my balcony and I have a lot of aphids, but only on my eggplants.  They just love my eggplants!  First off, I'm wondering where these little buggers come from.  At first I assumed that I probably brought them home from the nursery, but now I'm not so sure.  I went nuclear on them and sprayed both of the eggplants very wet with an insecticidal soap-based organic spray.  I know that just because an insecticide is organic doesn't make it good, but I didn't see much choice.  My garden is too small (3 earthboxes) to go and buy a container full of ladybugs and I assumed once I did that they probably wouldn't come back.

So, even after going nuclear on Saturday I am finding aphids once again.  I'm unsure if I missed some (I sprayed every leaf top and bottom), or if they've just come from somewhere else.  Anybody have experience with fighting these guys?  Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Steve
The EarthBox
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Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2006, 10:07:59 AM »

The following information is from http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq3640.html
Aphids This insect lives by sucking the juices of plants. You may find them in herds, feasting on your beloved plants. Aphids have few defenses against enemies other than the ability to reproduce at astonishing rates (females are supposedly born pregnant, although who the "father" is in this case baffles me). In the wild, plants infested with aphids usually become discovered by natural predators and so rarely become problems. But in cultivated situations such predators are rare. Ants enjoy feeding upon the sugary solution secreted by aphids, so they will actually protect aphids from predators---this does not help the carnivorous plant grower one bit. Aphids come in a variety of colors, and are all about 2.5 mm or smaller. Major infestations are easy to identify---the herds of aphids are easily seen, and make the plant produce twisted, abnormal, stunted growth.

This is my own information now.  Aphids love peppers and eggplant.  If you've got aphids on your plants, that means that aphids live in your community.  If you're going with the organic insecticide soap, you'll need to reapply it if you see more aphids.  You can also remove them by hand and squish them, although this takes a bit more time. 

I had aphids on my EarthBox peppers last summer, and I chose to use the more traditional chemical-based insecticide.  After spraying my plants on only one day, I never saw aphids again.  I am not suggesting that chemical insecticides are the best way to go.  Going organic is a personal choice that I simply have not made.  But rest assured, the soaps will work as well -- the local kids gardening program that I have alluded to in other posts does not use chemical insecticides but chooses instead to use the organic soaps.  They get aphids every year in their garden and win the battle through a little hard work and determination.
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Steve
EarthBox
joekun
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Posts: 226

Southern California, Zone 10


« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2006, 02:38:12 PM »

I actually bought the soap spray without really noticing it was organic, I'm not trying to grow organically.  Somewhere on the EB site it says to use BT, but I just couldn't find anything at my lowes that used that particular ingredient.
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DeadPeppers
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Posts: 12


« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2006, 07:46:58 PM »

I have to agree with Steve even though non-organic solutions tend to be unpopular.  I have battled aphids many times and the only thing that has worked for me is traditional chemical based pesticides.  I nuke the nasty little buggers then go out into the yard hunting down their friends the ants.  I have read that ants will actually "farm" aphids onto plants - don't know if that's true or not.  Have also read that aphids can be blown in on the wind a certain distance.
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joekun
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Posts: 226

Southern California, Zone 10


« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2006, 04:00:58 AM »

Good to know.  I checked my plants today and found no more sign of aphids, but if they come back I'll look for something stronger.  Thanks for the help!
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Trishkie
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Posts: 130

No. California Zone 9 (Sunset zone 14)


« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2006, 05:47:50 PM »

This is my first time in years attempting to grow any vegetables, but I've had aphid issues in the past on my rosebushes every year. Coincidentally, I've had ant problems since I moved into my then-new home over 10 years ago.

I've also heard it and tend to believe that the ants probably do 'farm' the aphids. This year I don't seem to have the ant problem that I have had for so many years. A few weeks ago - after neglecting my rosebushes - I noticed a TON of aphids on them. I figured I'd have to get some 'nuclear chemical defenses' in the form of a spray to radiate the buggers. It wasn't until nearly 2 weeks later when I was about to go buy some spray when I noticed a vast reduction in the aphid herd on the rosebushes. Upon further inspection I noticed a LOT of ladybugs instead of the green buggers. So, with limited ants to protect the aphids, I think that might be why the ladybugs were able to take over.

This also seems to back up the thinking about the aphid problem never going too far in the wild. Let me tell you, those rosebushes were like they were in the wild and nature took it's course. I'd much rather those cute little ladybugs than some nasty aphids - or ants. Smiley
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joekun
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Posts: 226

Southern California, Zone 10


« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2006, 07:29:52 PM »

I found a new cluster of aphids, this time on one of my tomato plants (in the same box with one of my eggplants), and decided to try one more solution before going to look for stronger pesticides...garlic.  I chopped two cloves of garlic and dropped them in 2 cups of boiling water.  Then I shut off the heat and let it steep until the water was no longer hot.  I strained it and put it in a spray bottle and sprayed it all over my 5 plants (excluding my corn).  This supposedly makes the leaves no longer taste good to the aphids and causes them to leave the plants alone.  I'll report back on whether it worked or just caused the aphids to have bad breath in a few days.
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GregGardner
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2006, 12:24:58 PM »

I usually blow them off with a hose set to mist or some light fine spray.  That gets rid of them for a while.  I've tried the insectoidal soap. it works ok, but nothing feels better than seeing them gone immediately with the water. 

I also use fly-catcher strips, the sticky things that catch flies, and it winds up catching a lot of aphids in their winged stage.  This should also disrupt them after a while.  It seems to help a good bit.
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Ratrace142
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Posts: 382

Virginia in Zone 7


« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2006, 01:55:19 AM »

Aphid-Away Spray
Source: Jerry Baker's Fast Fixes and Miracle Mixes for your Lawn and Garden

2 cups of water
2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon baby shampoo

Put all of these ingredients into an old blender, and blend on high. Let it sit overnight and then strain through a coffee filter. Pour the liquid into a hand-held sprayer bottle, and apply liberally at the first sign of aphid trouble.
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Steve
The EarthBox
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Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2006, 07:18:24 AM »

I look forward to hearing about the success of these home aphid remedies!
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Steve
EarthBox
Ratrace142
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Posts: 382

Virginia in Zone 7


« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2006, 11:18:26 AM »

Steve,
I bought 2 of Jerry Baker's books and then I "met" a retired extension agent on another gardening forum. He swears that Jerry Baker's advice is a bunch of snake oil. I've never tried any of Jerry Baker's recipes for gardening.

Right now I'm battling hungry skunks that dig up things in their search for grubs.
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joekun
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Posts: 226

Southern California, Zone 10


« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2006, 03:26:33 PM »

The garlic solution doesn't seem to have worked for me.  A book I have recommends this approach but says that it only seems to prevent aphids from coming, it doesn't get rid of them once you have them.  I decided to give it a try anyway because I saw online where someone had luck with it. 

The number of aphids has been significantly reduced though.  I had a ladybug on one of my tomatoes (that doesn't have aphids) this morning.  Unfortunately I can't seem to find him now to move him to my eggplant.
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vonkamp
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2006, 04:45:18 PM »

My local Home Depot is selling bags of live Lady Bugs. I did not buy any however, seems to me if you buy something with wings,.... it will fly away. Roll Eyes
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joekun
Hero Member
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Posts: 226

Southern California, Zone 10


« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2006, 09:26:10 PM »

Quote
seems to me if you buy something with wings,.... it will fly away.

If you have a big enough garden with a big enough aphid problem then I'm sure it's worth it.  Five or six ladybugs would probably take care of my aphids in an afternoon though.
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Steve
The EarthBox
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Posts: 799


Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2006, 08:02:58 AM »

We were told by an extension agent that maybe 10% of the ladybugs would remain in residence at the site of release.  The local kids gardening program released a couple thousand, and it helped greatly.  We did obsevre a noticeable increase in the resident ladybug population.
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Steve
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