Garden, Plant, Cook!

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Aphids Are Here! The Aphids Are Here!

Dear Folks,

The one down side to getting into our lovely weather in the spring is the aphids like the cool night temperatures also.

The reliable safe soap spray is a way to deal with these soft-bodied pests.  Hard bodied insects like the leaf-footed/squash bug require different measures, such as keeping debris picked up and away from the base of plants and Hard Hosing as soon as you see them.  You can also use neem oil sprays on those pests.

Sunflowers (I learned recently) draw aphids, which is a good thing, but then you need to deal with them.

Here is a composite picture I took of one of my sunflowers Saturday and this Morning (Monday), which shows the before and after of the 1st cycle spraying (more on that below).

I know it is difficult to fully see what is happening but there are many dead or dying aphids in the right half of the picture

SAFE SOAP SPRAY and how to use it most effectively.

1 quart of water
1 teaspoon Dawn dish soap (I recommend the original)*
1 teaspoon of vegetable cooking oil (I keep old no-longer-useable-oils for this purpose).

Mix in spray bottle.

How to use:
1) if the bugs are really bad, hard hose off as best as you can.
2) shake (shaking is important, the ingredients do not stay mixed) the spray bottle as you spray, top and bottom of leaves and down growing center (this is particularly important with the broccoli family)
3) REPEAT!  5 days later and 5 days after that.

If you do not repeat the spraying 5 days apart you will lose the advantage.

What is happening is the 1st spray kills most of the adults and just hatched young.**
The 2nd spray kills those which hatch after 1st spray (the soap/oil does not, unfortunately damage the eggs).
The 3rd spray kills any stragglers.

Watch for new activity and deal with it the same way.  You may have to do this 2 or 3 times before our temperatures rise into the 100 range, when the aphid activity will decline substantially.

They will come back in the fall when the temperatures drop back down into the below 100 range, so keep this spray recipe handy.

*Original Dawn is still used to help sea birds damaged and endangered by oil spills.  I consider it the safest option for this spray and the little that goes into the soil will do no damage.

** Live-bearing aphids, a real problem for the broccoli family, do not lay eggs and are more difficult to control if you do not follow the spraying regime properly.

WHITE FLIES are a form of aphid and can be treated the same way.  The challenge with these type of aphids is that is is almost impossible to control completely, their numbers are in the 10s of thousands, but you can minimize the damage by following the spraying regime, beginning with hard hosing off first.

My Calendar shows the soap spray on March.   While both the print and PDF versions are dated 2015, the information is applicable year to year.

The PDF version is $6 and can be downloaded into all of your devices that have Adobe or other compatible reader, with a single purchase price.

You can find the print version of the calendar and my other publications here.

Do not let the bugs get you down, you can deal with them AND enjoy your garden at this lovely time of year.

Have a best day!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady