Friday, June 12, 2009

What are Aphids and what do I do with them?

The dictionary describes aphids as "Any of various small, soft-bodied insects of the family Aphididae that have mouthparts specially adapted for piercing and feed by sucking sap from plants. Also called plant louse."

I describe aphids as life sucking itsy bitsy insects that can destroy a garden or plant in a short time. If you all of a sudden notice your normal green leaves turning yellow for no reason chances are you have aphids and had better get rid of the fast or you won't have a garden for long. And don't even think this is one of those garden pests you can pick a couple offenders off the plants and you'll be fine. They are hard to see and come in grooves - where there is one there will be hundreds.

I've found 3 methods for ridding your garden of aphids. One I have used for years and it works but with the big 'go green' movement I am going to try the other two this year.

#1 - Spraying the infected plants with dish soap to rid yourself of aphids. Yep you heard me right and I've learned that the least expensive soap will work just as well as the expensive brands so save your money. If only one or two plants are infected you can use a hand spray bottle. Simply fill it with water, add a few drops of dish soap, and spray the aphid infected plants. Aphids don't like the soap and although I'm not sure if it kills them or causes them to move to your neighbor's garden they are no longer in my garden.

#2 - Tomato leaf spray! I'm using this one as long as I have tomato leaves available. You'll need 1 or 2 cups of tomato leaves, water, cheesecloth or strainer (piece of old pantyhose will work doubled over), and a sprayer. To make your aphid spray first chop the leaves up and let them soak in two cups of water for a day. Strain out the leaves, then add a couple more cups of water and fill your sprayer.

#2 - Basically the same as above but garlic oil instead of the tomato leaves and you need mineral oil and still use dish soap. For this you soak the garlic for 24 hours in the mineral oil, strain, add water and soap, and spray the plants. Caution though do a test on your garden plant first as it says this spray can damage some plants. Spray just a leaf or two, wait a couple days and make sure those are ok before spraying a whole plant.

A word of advice though no matter which method you use when spraying make sure you spray the underside of the plant leaves because this is where aphids like to hide and do their damage from below.

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Although I've used the soap method for getting rid of aphids for years it was a fellow myLotter who reminded me of it thank you Snowy22315

ByFaithOnly's Garden

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