Help w/ ants and aphids

txchristie(z8TX)May 14, 2007

Hi, new to posting here and looking for help w/ my veggies. First I noticed black ants on my cantelope flowers. Upon closer inspection I saw little grey things--aphids? The next day they (ants) had moved over to my bush beans. One plant had the dreaded brown, crispy leaves. I tossed it. Now a couple more have browning leaves. Is this aphids, and if so, how do I stop it? Last year I thought, "No chemicals!" and as a result lost almost all my toms to aphids (if that's what causes dead, crispy leaves). What steps can I take to stop the damage?

thanks!

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Heathen1(10a)

Many things can cause dead crispy leaves. Aphids you can see. I get aphids on my beans when it is too hot for them. They like cool evenings and if the evenings aren't cool, they get aphids, or if I am not watering them enough. But that's at my house. Often, vegetables only get aphids when they are stressed.
For a small outbreak, a hard shot of water will get them, but if it's a big one, I spray ordinary household alcohol on them, being careful not to get it on the soil. Takes care of the problem, but if you don't discover the underlying problem of why your veggies are getting aphids, they will just come right back.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 7:42PM
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txchristie(z8TX)

Great, that's helpful. Last year's aphids were definitely caused by lack of water and heat. So far water isn't a problem and while it's been 80-90 during the day, at night it's been cooler. Can't control the heat, unfortunately, and it will only get worse. I'll try the alcohol tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 9:17PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Hi Christie - Ants will "farm" aphids for their nectar - like people do milk cows. Round 'em up, head 'em out! ;)

Eliminating the ants in the area with diatomaceous earth can help control the problems and the aphids can just be blasted off the plants with the hose sprayer. It is quite effective but barring that, a mild soapy water solution of 1 tsp. Ivory soap in a spray bottle of water also helps control them.

Lastly, examine your use of any high nitrogen fertilizers as it is well established that aphids are attracted to excess nitrogen in plants like flies to honey. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 10:31PM
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everlasting

I use organic essential oils to get rid of pest bugs....

Ants dont like peppermint

Aphids dont like peppermint, cedar wood, or spearmint.

I just mix a drop or two in a spray bottle and spray the area, whether it is in the house or outside. Essnetial oils are concetrated, so only a few drops are needed. However, once I didnt even dilute the peppermint essential oil. I just put 4 drops around my plant (no directly on it!) and those ants havent came back yet!

It send those bugs running!

There are also other types of essential oils to use on other pest bugs! It makes for a wonderful all natural product!

Here is a list of my essential oils and what bugs they work for. Try as I might, I cant find the original website where I got these:

Ants: peppermint
Aphids: cedar wood, peppermint, spearmint
Beetles: peppermint, thyme
Cutworm: thyme sage
Fleas: peppermint, lemon-grass, lavender
Flies: lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sage
Gnats: patchouli, cedar wood, peppermint
Lice: peppermint
Mosquitoes: lavender, lemon-grass, eucalyptus, cypress, lemon, orange, cedar wood, peppermint, geranium
Moths: cedar wood, peppermint, lavender, and even a glass of wine
Slugs: cedar wood. Fir (pine)
Ticks: clove, lemon-grass, sage, thyme
Weevils: cedar wood, patchouli, sandalwood

(essential oils also make WONDERFUL cleaners in the home! Depeinding on the essential oil being used, they can be germicides, fungicides, and can kill viruses too!!!)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 12:57AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The easiest, simplest, quickest, least toxic way to get rid of aphids is to knock them off the plant with a sharp water spray. Ants on plants are not a real problem and ants are part of Ma Natures recycling machine.
Look closely at your soil to see why your plants get aphids, plants growing in a good, healthy soil will not be attractive to insect pests.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 6:51AM
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ronalawn82(z9FL)

I have to admit that I am not an avid organic gardener but I do take an interest in what is going on or down. In the current issue of one of the many gardening magazines (I forget its name) there was mention of 'Predalure' a formulated product that attracts predators to your plants. It imitates a process in plants whereby they 'dial 911' when they are under attack. I am not saying that any of this is true but when I have the opportunity I will try and find out more.
Just shows what you can pick up (in addition to 'bugs' and pens) in a doctor's waiting room.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 8:02AM
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txchristie(z8TX)

Wow, thanks for the excellent suggestions. I'm going to try peppermint essential oil ASAP.

Re: the fertilizer, so far I only added compost before planting, mostly comprised of grass clippings and kitchen waste. They (clippings) were brown but not totally composted. Could this be the source of ++ nitrogen?

Again, thanks for the helpful tips and suggestions. :-)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 5:53PM
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stephanieftx

Releasing green lacewings and/or ladybugs will also take care of the aphids. With all the weird weather we've been having lately, it's no wonder the bugs are confused and plants are in stress!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 7:19PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I need more information. What is your organic fertilizer program?

How often?
How much?
What fertilizer(s)?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 8:01PM
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txchristie(z8TX)

Erm, dchall...fertilizer...how much and how often...I am guessing not enough since all I did was mix in Gardenville before I planted a month ago. Could a lack of fertilzier be my problem? My soil is pretty well ammended--lots of compost added over the winter, lots of earthworms, etc. The only negative is the natural clay that I'm tryhing to break up naturally thru additions.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 10:42AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I kinda was thinking that. I would scatter a heaping handful of corn meal or alfalfa pellets under each plant every month. The healthier your soil is, the healthier your plants are; and the healthier your plants are the better they resist aphids. For more rapid response I would spray with milk or liquid seaweed at 2 ounces per gallon of water. Start with once a week and go to every other week after a month. Again the fertilizer effect of the milk and/or seaweed helps the microbes growing on the outside of the plant and help the plant to resist sucking insects. Spray all surfaces of the leaves and stems.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:18PM
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txchristie(z8TX)

Dchall, that is so helpful! Another question...what about my composting compost? Should I spread some of it around on the top of the soil, or is it too green (it's not fully broken down).

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 1:35PM
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julepslake

One great way to get rid of ants and aphids is with used coffee grounds. I put the coffee at the base of my plants and the aphids are gone in no time!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 3:50PM
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Heathen1(10a)

How would coffee grounds get rid of aphids?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 4:15PM
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organic_kermit(6)

Thanks everlasting!!! Some of those I have never heard before. I too have recently whitnessed the ant-aphid infest on a trumpet vine. I am using neem on the aphids, but it doesn't seem to phase the ants. I will make up a little bit of your concoction, I happen to have all of that for the ants. I am off....thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 6:28PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Aphids, generally, chose to munch on lush, green growth that which is the result of too much Nitrogen in the soil. Maybe, possibly the coffee grounds provided enough caffien which killed off the aphids, or something else happened that killed off the aphids.
If you have a good, balanced ecosystem you will have all the beneficial insects you need and importing some will be of little benefit to you. If you need to import some beneficial insects you do not have a balanced ecosystem and need to work on reaching that, although for some people with neighbors that believe poisoning our planet is the way to live may never be able to get there.
For the future, dig deep into your soil and be sure it is good, and healthy so the plants that grow there are strong and healthy and are much more able to resist insect pests. There are a few people here that do not believe this will happen because they have not yet seen that, but if they ever do they will be converted.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 7:18AM
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jasmine_2008

i have a new spearmint plant, and the ants and aphids are on them, i thought they didnt like them? should i do coffee to rid the aphids? then the ants will go?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 8:44PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Since all that is necessary to get rid of Aphids is a sharp stream of water that knocks them off the plant adding coffee probably will do no more. Once the Aphids are gone the ants will be too.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:54AM
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socalgirl-10

I have ants and aphids as well, and I cannot tell you how many leaves I have lost due to the sharp stream of water. I am talking about no aphids one day the next day full leaf of aphids. It sounds easy enough to just spray with water, but it kills off the leaves too.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 10:58AM
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doomcreature_hotmail_com

im sorry to burst so many of your bubbles but aphids are not deterred by peppermint. i have an infestation of the little yellow sap sacks on my peppermint plants. ed rosenthal makes a product called ''zero tolerance''. its an organic pest control made from essential oils like cinnamon, chamomile, lavendar etc. it works good for spider mites and PREVENTING aphids but some help is needed for getting rid of an infestation. hose the plants and keep adding the zero tolerance. you can buy ladybugs online too. they are the most organic and natural control for aphids. aphids are ladybugs favorite food

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 9:22PM
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sunny.spain

Help! I have a peppermint plant growing in a pot in semi-shade on my south west facing balcony. It has ants and aphids! I have cut it back almost to soil level, sprayed it with water to knock off the aphids and put slices of garlic cloves on the soil to stink out the ants. Is there anything else I should do? I am concerned that the ants will then go from the peppermint plant and build nests in my pots with aubergines, or tomato plants. Any tips wil be most appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 7:44AM
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spittendrigh

Ants nesting in pepper pots

Ok. I have aphids eggs on the back side of my pepper plants, inside a greenhouse, in Montana. It's early August. No aphids yet. But plenty of eggs and plenty of ants.

This is easy I thought. Find the ant nest. Dig them up. Kill them. One not-pesticide way or another (put the dirt in a wheel barrow, soak with alcohol and set it on fire? Dance to left, then to the right).

Trouble is they're nesting inside the planting soil inside the pots. Inside the greenhouse. I could transplant. But don't want to. I do what I can to excavate the nests and any queens.

Does anybody have experience with this? Feedback? Ideas?
August 7, 2013

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 2:28PM
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spittendrigh

Ants nesting in pepper pots

Ok. I have aphids eggs on the back side of my pepper plants, inside a greenhouse, in Montana. It's early August. No aphids yet. But plenty of eggs and plenty of ants.

This is easy I thought. Find the ant nest. Dig them up. Kill them. One not-pesticide way or another (put the dirt in a wheel barrow, soak with alcohol and set it on fire? Dance to left, then to the right).

Trouble is they're nesting inside the planting soil inside the pots. Inside the greenhouse. I could transplant. But don't want to. I do what I can to excavate the nests and any queens.

Does anybody have experience with this? Feedback? Ideas?
August 7, 2013

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 2:29PM
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spittendrigh

Ants nesting in pepper pots

Ok. I have aphids eggs on the back side of the leaves of my pepper plants, inside a greenhouse, in Montana. It's early August. No aphids yet. But plenty of eggs and plenty of ants.

This is easy I thought. Find the ant nest. Dig them up. Kill them--one not-pesticide way or another (put the dirt in a wheel barrow, soak with alcohol and set it on fire? Dance to left, then to the right).

Trouble is they're nesting inside the planting soil inside the pots. Inside the greenhouse. I could transplant. But don't want to. I'll do what I can to excavate the nests and any queens without killing the pepper plants.

Does anybody have experience with this? Feedback? Ideas?
August 7, 2013

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Are you sure what you have are Aphid eggs? This would not be a normal time of year for them to be laying eggs.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 6:22AM
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nc_crn

Aphids don't lay eggs...they produce live birth insects ready to go.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 3:40PM
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nc_crn

I should head this off in case someone points out otherwise...

Aphid eggs look like shiny rice-shaped black or white "grains." You will generally only find these at the end of season when it's starting to get cold or at the beginning of a season when ants bring them from underground storage to "hatch" on plants they want to farm honeydew off of. It's an overwintering mechanism of protection.

At this point in the year all the aphids you're likely to find are live birth aphids...unless there's a special stress or cold going on within the population.

For most of the world it's no where near "egg season" for aphids.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Thu, Aug 8, 13 at 22:16

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 9:42PM
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luckygal(3b)

Diatomaceous earth is the best organic way to reduce the ant population in your garden. Since I have a large acreage I don't mind if they build their nests away from my garden but won't tolerate them near my house and garden. I sprinkle diatomaceous earth on every ant hill I see and there is no more activity within a couple of days. Of course more ants move in and set up more hills so it's necessary to be constantly vigilant. Use food grade diatomaceous earth and don't breath in the dust.

If I didn't use DE I'd be over-run with ants. Aphids are easy to deal with by using a spray of water or Safers Soap spray. It's not only stressed plants that aphids will be found on, some years they are on some of my roses but leave the other nearby roses alone for an unknown reason.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 11:04AM
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