organic aphid killer?

swallowtailtigressMarch 11, 2011


I'm growing white vine for monarchs (which is fairly successful so far) and we've been controlling our aphid problem with a castille soap solution (Dr. Bronner's - 1 part soap/4 parts water in a spray bottle). I've been applying it to plants about once a week with a little burning but it's been fairly successful so far.

As of the past week or so, our aphid population has gone insane and if I spray more than twice a week, the plants burn pretty badly (even early early in the morning). We're working on our organic certification - castille soap has been approved for us - but what else can we use that kills mass amounts of aphids organically? Besides hard sprays of water of course!

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Well, the water spray was at the top of my list :-)

I'd try a prepared insecticidal soap (Safer, Garden Safe are common brands). All of these are approved for organic use and tend to have much better efficacy than homemade soap solutions. Any kind of insecticidal soap can produce the phytotoxic effects (leaf burning) on certain plants. Try spraying at dusk to minimize that effect. Or introduce lady beetles (ladybugs) or other predatory insects (green lacewings, praying mantis) for a biocontrol.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:34AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Your soap to water ratio is way too strong. You'd be far better off with a commercial insecticidal soap, as GG suggests. Such products are also approved for organic growers and producers.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 3:54PM
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A sharp spray of water, nothing more needed, will knock any aphids on the plant off and then they get lost. Since aphids are most attracted to plants with lush green growth the soil the vine is growing in may have too much Nitrogen, and that may be the attractant.
An insecticidal soap solution needs only be 1 teaspoon of the soap mixed into 1 quart of water. When you spray may also affect the plants since any soap residue could cause the sunburn you are seeing. Spray that IS mixture before 6:00 am or after 5:00 pm.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 6:36AM
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Are ants protecting your aphids? If not, ladybird larvae would gobble them up. Which reminds me of the precept that organic isn't so much about substitutes but rather a whole differeent system of gardening. Regards, Peter B.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 12:24PM
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Dan Staley

What rhizo said. I use 1 tbsp to a quart bottle for really heavy infestations of aphids, at dawn or dusk-ish. A dash of cayenne & a clove of garlic is a cheap, decent repellent too.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 12:41PM
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If the water does not work, try cinnamon or hot pepper oil.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 9:24PM
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Someone has told me to try 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic.
Crush the bulbs or use a food processor, then soak in a gallon of water over night. Strain 1 cup, to remove pulp & put in a hand sprayer then fill with water, shake to mix & spray.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:22PM
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