Ahhh! Aphids galore!

ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)March 8, 2013

I have a huge infestation of aphids on my budding orchard trees. They have especially attacked the Asian pears and apples.

I usually spray neem oil, but some have commented that it affects beneficial insects too. I tried ladybugs once buy they all flew away. I did the water spray technique, but I can't effectively get the new growth crown or undersides very well.

Any ideas?

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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Aphids are never fun! Personally, I would never spray poisons on my plants... If I was you, try compost tea.. Buy a cheap air pump, fill a buck up with dechlorinated water(rainwater ideally), throw a shovel of compost or good soil in there, strain larger sediments and spray on your crop... It should balance everything out. Another thing that's worth a shot is spraying a solution of baking soda, or garlic on the plant... garlic repels all kinds of things. just be careful don't use to much baking soda, it's highly alkaline...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 10:33PM
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ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)

Is neem oil considered poison? I thought it was relatively benign? Excuse my ignorance.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:55PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

No neem oil is completely safe... It is oil from a tree.. sorry for the misunderstanding.. I don't think it would offbalence natural organisms... Of course if u use to much of anything it will have some effect.. I would always use everything in moderation. Remember if you are having "bad" bug problems, the good bugs aren't doing their job.. In the wilderness, u see a few leaves with bug damage,etc. But, u rarely see a whole tree suffer from infestation, there are exceptions.. In nature there is a perfect balence.. When u see bug problems it is in reality, an imbalance in nature... If I was you I would mimic nature as much as I could... Mulch the trees(woodchips,grass clippings,etc) but never around the base which leads to rot... Anything to bring more if the natural world in, if that makes sense...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 12:25AM
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kittymoonbeam

Someone told me to plant society garlic in the rose beds to deter aphids. I don't know if the garlic is working or it's just chance but the aphids aren't around where the garlics are. I also plant heavily with the alyssum to encourage the lady bug juveniles which look different than the grown ladybugs. A package of wildflower seeds is always a good thing to attract lacewings and ladybugs.

Lemon scented dish soap in water has worked in the past on bad aphid attacks. I use that sprayed under the eaves to deter spiders.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 1:15AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Garlic is great for all kinds of things, everything from fungus to deer! Soak some crush gloves in a gallon of water and let ferment it will smell just like the stuff u pay big bucks for to repel animals. Spray the garlic water mixture on plants, little goes a long way.. However, I would not use any soap unless it was organic(dr broner), even then I would be weary... Soap would kill the good things and further worsen ur problem down the line. A quick fix seems great now, but I can assure u it's going to bite u back. Never adress the symptoms,always fix the cause!!!! Best of luck
-Joe

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 1:43AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

I hit them with a light oil/soap mix making sure to make contact under/inside the curled leaf and the whole plant.. The ants should be caring for them. Follow the ants.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 7:32AM
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copingwithclay

To blast the aphid community off the new, tender growth with the garden hose pressure/volume turned up will 'reboot' the plant. Next, snuggly wrapping a couple rings of 1" wide, sticky-side-out masking tape on smooth areas of the trunk will serve as a roadblock for ants transporting the aphids back to the sucking zone. It has worked numerous times for me. Check daily for any small lizards that may get stuck, so they can gently be set free.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Copingwithclay:
Very good idea. I'm all for organic methods.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:13AM
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ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)

I have been smashing them with my thumb as the quickest way when I find them. I will definitely try the reverse tape method.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 3:13AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

aw nature:
The adhesive probably is synthetic

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 5:10AM
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copingwithclay

At least volcanos, poison ivy, the Sahara Desert, and malaria are natural. There is a natural war out there, you know.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

hahaha

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Natural means nothing in this society anymore... Look at "natural food" completly unnatural.. You guys got jokes! I personally don't want to eat a apple with a nice coating of glyphosate, just delicious, does wonders to your body!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:31PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

If it kills bad bugs, it generally kills good bugs too. Using careful timing of the application of any pesticide, synthetic or natural, to avoid dosing good insects is always a good idea. Like don't spray when bees are visiting the flowers, but wait until dusk.

Also for ladybugs, what you want are the larva, not the adults. The larva eat more aphids in a day than the adults, plus they don't have wings so they stick around for a while. The adults may move off because they have a sense about whether the aphid population is enough to sustain them all or not. Beneficial insects don't tend to work overnight like chemicals do, but they can work.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Glyphosate Hahahaha!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:03PM
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copingwithclay

Raw Nature- I do appreciate your interest in avoiding dangerous or unnecessary poison/pollution/contamination. Whether made in a living plant or a manmade chemical plant. Be safe.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:04PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

You guys are funny. The reason im so anal about keeping your yard grown plants free of sprays is because literally everything in the store is sprayed! Even if it is organic they still spray it with tap water... You cannot get healthy food from the grocery store... So if you take your beautiful gods fruit in the back with a few bugs on it and spray the hell out of it, you are taking the only safe food you have and contaminating it.. I don't believe in that... Anyways I have countless funny stories relevant to this thread.... Like clay says, be safe, that's all I ask.

Joe

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:37PM
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ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)

My thumb is natural. Deadly natural :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:38PM
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Edymnion(7a)

One trick for the ladybugs is to put them on the tree at night. They will then "roost" in the tree that night and it will become their new home base.

It won't stop them from flying to greener pastures, but it will slow them down. If you just release them during the day, they'll fly off immediately and you'll just have wasted your money.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 2:30PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

Planting a variety of flowers that have small or composite blossoms is a good way to get beneficial insects to stick around. Early every spring I see a bunch of aphids in my garden, and within a couple weeks, they are obliterated by ladybug larvae and adults, as well as hoverflies.

Alyssum, fennel, dill, thyme, lemon balm, yarrow, anise hyssop, asters are all attractive to beneficial insects. A google search for flowers that attract beneficial insects will get you plenty of suggestions.

Alex

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:04PM
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ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)

Cool...

I will get a packet of wildflowers tonight and give it a shot...

Problem with early spring aphids is, there is not enough foliage to sustain a lot of shade an beneficial insects, but the budding leaves I do have are being hammered by aphids. Ironically, this is the most sensitive period for the trees since we are talking the first leaves available for photosynthesis.

I like the flower idea, to support the aphid eaters.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:21PM
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