can soap spray harm good bugs?

metrogreenJuly 10, 2004

These bright orange aphids (at least I'm pretty sure they are aphids, first time I've seen them any color but green. They are these tiny egg-shaped dudes, they don't move, but do this funny 'dance' when disturbed) popped up overnight all over these clematis vines. I have trimmed away the new growths, they were so covered that the vine looks orange! But I also want to spray the rest of the vines with dish soap mix to keep them from returning and to take care of the populations I missed.

However, I did find ONE praying mantis and ONE lady bug on the vines. I hope there are more, and am concerned that the soap spray might hurt them too. Does dish soap spray only harm aphids, or will it harm their pradators too? I have been unsuccessful trying to find this out on my own, so I look forward to any responses and advice, thank you!

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Dorie_in_Alabama(7a)

I truly dislike anyone using dish soap rather than the commercial insecticidal soap. How do you know how much to use without doing damage to your plants??? Anyway, take the hose out to your plants before you spritz on the soap sprays. This will temperarily get rid of most of the mobile insects. Insecticidal soap sprays are only damaging to insects that get soaked when you spray. There is no residual effect at all. Hard bodied insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, scale, mantids, etc. are not harmed to a great degree anyway.

By the way, aphids come in all sorts of colors!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 9:55PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Which dish "soap" would you be using? Many are detergents and not soaps and real soaps, those made from animal fats, are the ones you want to use for insect control. Will they harm beneficial insects, absolutely if the good bugs contact the wet soap solution. Like any non specific pesticide it can kill anything it contacts.
Aphids can be removed from plants with a spray bottle, you do not necessarily need to use the hose and that helps solve a problem I've heard about the hose spray shredding plant leaves because way too much force was used.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2004 at 8:05AM
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