Friday, July 1, 2011
APHID PATROL - PLEASE DON'T BUY LADYBUGS!
But what to do about these plant-sap-suckers, who eventually can destroy a plant?
There is a thing or two about aphids to know that can help you in understanding and / or beridding them.
#1 Ants harvest aphids. Therefore they 'herd' them and even carry them from plant to plant. So if you see a line of ants going to a plant, you may want to consider doing something. Ant traps (see one of my earlier blogs on this subject). Also, sprinkling a tad of DE around the plant's base may be helpful.
#2 Spraying neemoil can be helpful. The aphids then cannot hold on anymore. Dealing with pests is most successful when the moon is in pices.
#3 Spraying chili-water, because the aphid skin is very thin, so this concoction may kill them. Again, dealing with pests is most successful when the moon is in pices.
#4 Leave them alone and let nature take care of them. Aphids have two major predators: Ladybugs (whose correct name actually is ladybird beetle) and certain variety of tiny wasps.
I have soo many aphids on my cabbages and was truely getting upset about it. Just when I was thinking about getting the neemoil out, I saw a tiny wasp flying around my cabbages. These guys work wonders! They lay their eggs on teh aphids and then their larvae eats the aphid. Problem solved!
#5 Buying ladybugs to eat the aphids - Now this really is a big problem: When you buy ladybugs, someone has collected them in the wild and when you release them, they will try flying back home. While attempting this, they will die. Also, when you release them, they rarely stay to eat anything.
PLEASE DON'T DO THAT. EVER!
It's simply not worth it for you (because they fly away and don't eat your aphids) and it puts another species in danger. Instead just wait for the native ladybugs in your hood to show up and do the job.
Trust me, if you leave the aphids alone, they - along with teh wasps - will show up!
You actually can harvest and eat you aphid infested cabbages. Just wash the leaves really well (I use the sprayer on our sink) and the aphids come right off. While they are a pest, they are not dangerous, even if you should accidentally cook and then eat one or two.
Wanna know more about aphids ... http://www.earthlife.net/insects/aphids.html
"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis