It is amazing how things take care of themselves – take the garden for instance.
Little insects are eaten by larger insects, who in turn are eaten by spiders and frogs, who are hunted by birds and lizards. And so on…
Maybe it is special because it happens without us needed to be there at all.
Provided we don’t poison all the soil and air with pesticides and other contaminants, life finds a way to carry on doing what it always has.
So Boring – So Amazing
So what happens when you get too many Aphids in the garden? You get the Controllers!
What kind of control do you call it anyway – Organic, natural, nature – or all of them?
Here is what seems to be a female Earwig on a midnight snack. The next three photos are from the same Broccoli plant, which I have left in as Aphid bait and also to finish off the seed, which will be used for the next crop.
This cockroach must like it better outside than under the bed! Lucky me. This was the first time it dawned on me that the cockroach can be more than a scavenger, despite what how we label it.
And to top it off was a couple of Spiders laying in wait. Those webs are so effective at trapping prey, by morning they will be coated with struggling aphids.
The very next day I caught sight of a Hoverfly on a Lemon tree. What was she doing there I wonder? The next photo down could be the reason!
A Hoverfly larvae making busy with the aphids. This is on one of the Apple trees (the Pink Lady) from memory. A few of these will clean up all but the biggest of aphid infestations. Eating machines they be!!
Keep an eye on the little things; life unfolding. It can be tricky to spot, but well worth the effort.
OK so how else can I kill or remove those Aphids?
Granted, not all of us have the time to build up a natural arsenal to take on the aphid menace, so here are a couple of ways to do it by getting hands on!
- Pick them off by hand! Literally wipe those aphids off whatever you want them off, crush them up, and throw into the compost. I’d recommend gloves for the job, and get rid of ants around there also because their job being there is in protecting the aphids from predators.
- Spray with water. Yes that is all you need to do sometimes, either with a hose or spray bottle, as long as the pressure is not enough to damage the plant. An alternative to this is to add some dishwater liquid to the water, which will coat the aphids and leaves and make the whole environment very unpleasant for them.
- Spray with worm tea – A favourite fail-safe of mine that will kill all your aphids, and sometimes the things that are feeding on them also. Use this when all the other methods are not enough to keep them at an acceptable level. I use the word acceptable because as long as they are just a nuisance and not killing your plants, why not keep some and give all those wonderful predators a reason to stick around?
- Where Charlotte Came From: A Tale of Aphids and Silk (eclecticedibles.wordpress.com)
- Why is mutualism a good relationship between two organisms (wiki.answers.com)
- It’s a small, small, small world… (gcvhorticulture.wordpress.com)
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In winter I planted a bare root japanese maple in my backyard, in September new shoots were growing, but after a month of holiday, there were thousands of ‘black fly'(looks like alphid) on the new shoots! I wanted to make a soapy spray but I don’t have chilli or garlic in my kitchen, so straight away I get some worm juice and feed the plant from top to bottom, I know my veggies love worm juice and I was hoping the tree loves it too, just hoping it get stronger to flight the attack!
So I feed worm juice to the maple tree twice a week… and I don’t have to wait too long, just week later, most of the blackfly are gone! I can see only very few ‘black alphid’ still there, so every second week or so, I keep feeding my plants with worm juice, and now, in Dec, my japanese maple is growing happily in my back yard and so far, I don’t see alphid in my garden beds 🙂
That is an awesome story Keith. Worm tea is a killer for most of the bad bugs and plants love it. Truly the most potent fertilizer and repellent I’ve come across. And the benefit is with all the coffee grounds at my place, there is no shortage of vermicast to brew up!
something I just found
An exciting development in a new form of whitefly control may be coming to light. Studies conducted over a six-year period show that plants mulched with worm castings repel a variety of pests, including whiteflies. Apparently the worm castings raise the level of a particular enzyme in the plants-the enzyme chitinase-which whiteflies find distasteful enough to keep moving. The recommendation is to spread a one-inch layer of worm castings around the plant and periodically apply more. It takes some time for the enzyme to form.
In an article published in May 2000, Los Angeles Times reporter Julie Bawden Davis noticed a significant drop in whitefly populations one month after mulching a whitefly-infested hibiscus. After seven weeks, she said, there were absolutely no whiteflies on the plant
That is great news Sam. I wonder if the same applies with worm tea, as I’ve been spraying this at least once a week and white fly is not a problem for me?
I always know when the aphids are in full swing when I get the Ladybug swarm over my garden.
Yes indeed. I found my first ladybugs just the other day and was so pleased by it. I’m taking it as a sign of garden health that they have made my backyard their home.
How many are you getting anyway? Two of them was plenty for me!
anyone seen what an impact a ladybug would have? I have seen one of my beans has about 100 whiteflys on it. Would the ladybird eat everything in a day? my plan today is slowly take the plant over to the hose and spray them off then take it back to the original spot. Hopefully they cant find their way back
anyone had any lucky with making a coffee tea. Just make like worm tea except use coffee grounds. I am going to give it a try tonight an brew a batch and see if it works on the white flys. It will have the added advantage of feeding nitrogen to the plant.
Interesting – Would you feed it sugars like for worm tea?
no you wouldnt feed it sugar. I think you are just trying to basically get dark coffee water not grow bacteria. By the way as a cheapskate I used treacle instead of molasses for my worm tea.
Yeah nice one with the treacle Sam, might try that myself.
ok started brewing the coffee tea last night. putting air pump on does not work. What I did is put the coffee in an old sock and put it in about 20 litres of water. Every now and then I am squeezing the sock. I will leave it festering for a few days and spray around leaves of plants. Hopefully whitefly will not like it and it will also add nitrogen to the plants. A side benefit is that I believe there is some research saying that coffee in water kills mosquitoes. The longer it has been in there the more effective it is
Sounds great – please let us know how it goes.
my opinion now is that white fly (type of aphid) does more damage than slugs and snails. try and promote good insects plus plant things like garlic and marigold which aphids hate
Spot on mate – they are a horror show but can be controlled.
Like you mentioned, marigold and garlic spray works well. I’ve found a healthy population of garden spiders help along with the same small wasp species that go for aphids.
Some good information also at the following link – http://www.greenharvest.com.au/pestcontrol/whitefly_info.html
I found the info on this site beneficial.
Thanks Emelda. Welcome to the site and I hope to see you back for the next post.
Nice post as always. Aphids are for me a real problem yet here you have an organic way to defeat it. You will be proud of your garden control.
Cheers Suhil, definitely something to be proud of. Between the insects and all the coffee grounds things are humming along very nicely in the garden.
So I’ll just leave things be and hope for the best….
(meanwhile planting pollinators like crazy!)
Yeah I think so. You might need to wait a bit for them to turn up, but once they do they will stick around – just keep a healthy supply of aphids on hand! Plants like broccoli and Brussels sprouts seem like the best way to do that, proving more valuable as aphid bait than for eating.
i just relocated a few spiders from my shed to the greenhouse. hopefully they can catch all the whitflies!