Aphids vs. Ladybugs---Aphids Winning!!

vall3fam(9 CentralCA)April 16, 2009

I've got several three year old pluot and aprium trees that are heavily infested with black and green aphids. I've been organic for three seasons now, so I did have some native ladybugs at work. To supplement, I bought a carton and turned them loose, too.

It must be a super good spring for aphids, because even though the ladybugs and now, their larvae are eating away, it's not even putting a dent in the dumb aphids.

What can I use that won't totally knock out the ladybugs? I was thinking of a castile soap mixture, but didn't know if that would hurt the ladybugs.

Unfortunately, I don't have a hose that will reach out there to use water power to knock the aphids off. Any suggestions?



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Ladybugs are great, except that don't stay put! They will stay where the food is, but if you are infested, chances are so are your neighbors. It's likely that your ladybugs may be feasting on aphids from other nearby areas, and not just your own property.

If you are that badly infested and it's a matter of loseing the tree's, I would spray with Pyrethium, Rotonone or a combination of the two. I doubt that soap is going to do much good.

The Garden Guy
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    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 7:21PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I don't know if it will help you but there is an article here on a different approach to controlling aphids.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 12:07AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Hose them off. REpeat as needed.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 2:10AM
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Rotenone today is unaccetable to an organic gardener and since pyrethrins are very braod spectrum pesticides that should only be used as a last resort since it will kill the Lady Beetles and their larva and create larger problems in the garden. Until the population of the Lady Beetles and their larvcagrows enough to control the Aphids the best means of control is a sharp stream of water. That does not need to be delivered via a hose, maybe should not be because of the pressure, but a spray bottle of water that will knock the Aphids off the trees will help, without harming the Lady Beetles and their larva.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 11:03AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I agree with the plain water folks. If you jump in with the hose upon occasion, you'll get the aphids under control enough so that the ladybugs are no longer the underdog in that fight.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 2:12PM
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She did mention in her post that hosing them off was not an option for her.

The Garden Guy
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    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 5:19PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Applying direct hits of insecticidal soap works. Repeat as needed.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 10:47PM
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Not having a hose that will reach that far is not a problem since there is no real need to use a hose to knock Aphids off plants. A spray bottle, or a portable sprayer, will work just as well as a hose, maybe better since the pressure is not there to damage the plant.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 7:11AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I've used a quart spray bottle with a mix of dish soap, veg oil, garlic, and chili powder for well over a decade.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 12:55PM
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Buy a longer hose.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 1:12PM
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hardin(7 SE OK)

I've had the same problem before, and what I did was a little gross but it helped. Put on a pair of gloves and just carefully start running your fingers through the aphids and lightly squeeze them to death. Gross? Yes. Effective? Yes.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:15PM
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More ladybugs? Buy another carton of them? I guess I'm having trouble believing that the aphids can outrun the ladybugs for very long.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 2:08AM
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For the population of predator species (Lady Beetles in this instance) to grow they need a food source, available water, and shelter. Once those are in place then they will mate, lay eggs that will hatch into the larva, and then the population will grow, but the population will only grow so large, what the habitat will support. If you bought a large number of predators those that the habitat would not support would leave for greener pastures.
The Aphids need to be in place before the Lady Beetle populations will grow.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 7:33AM
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I noticed for the first time in 15 years that my clematis plant had little black bugs all over the trellis and old vines, and osme one leaves. They are the size of a tick. I think I finally found out that they are aphids. The odd thing is that after an unusal amount of rain this year, the big fir tree branch hanging over the Clematis, dropped a ton of sap all over my leaves. I have tried soapy water, but that doesn't last too long. Has anyone heard of aphids, in every size, coming from the sap of fir tree? what is the best homemade remedy I can use for both the sap and the aphids. Thanks, Jan

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 5:23PM
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