Pest battle what to do

flipback23(9 SF Bay)March 31, 2014

Hi All,

I dont know what spurred the outbreak, but I have been inundated with gnats and aphids. A little background before people ask lol.

I currently have both indoor and outdoor growing going on.

Indoors I have 90% peppers mixed with a few papaya,and guava seedlings. All in my garage in a makeshift mini greenhouse. I water only when my dirt dries out and the plants start to go limp on me so maybe once a week. So I dont think over watering is an issue and I dont see any fungus or mold growing anywhere. But within the last two weeks they have been swarmed by gnats and now aphids. And I mean swarmed lol. I have to go out and smash aphids everyday since I cant release ladybugs in my garage and my plants are still to small to place outdoors with our weird weather.

My outdoor peppers mainly and a few veggies are being attacked by strictly aphids right now. Im going to pick up some ladybugs today and some flowers as well to hopefully keep them around long enough to put a dent in the aphids outside.

I havent seen any major ant traffic per say since we have on and off rain still. But it is driving me mad already and its not even full blown nice weather yet. I can only imagine how bad they will get once the weather gets nice and favorable for those little buggers.

Im actually thinking about spraying both front and backyards with a pesticide to kill everything out there, but I really hate using any chemicals on my plants especially since we eat them. But at this point I rather kill everything out there and try to attract to good bugs again later with some flowers they like.

Any pointers or suggestions would be greatly appreciated before I go all chemical warfare out there on them lol

Sorry for the long windedness but its driving my bonkers already.

Thanks
Rey...

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woohooman

For the gnats, mosquito dunks or... mix a solution of of 4 parts water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide(3%)and water the plants with it in 2 week increments.

For the aphids, blasts of water with a fine nozzle every 3-4 days on the undersides of the leaves. For seedlings, this can be tricky since they're so tender. If you want, you could use some very low toxicity pesticides such as insecticidal soap or neem oil. If it's ok for organic farmers, it's ok for me. Once again, every 3-4 days for the 1st week, then to once a week until the populations decrease, then to once every 2 weeks. Rinse off the leaves with water after a few hours or the next morning.

Kevin

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:00PM
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tomt226

What Woohooman said. Don't buy the pre-mixed insecticidal soap, get the small jar of concentrate and mix your own and get one of those little 2 quart pump up sprayers from HD. A lot easier on the fingers, and you can direct the spray underneath the leaves. I treat mine every other day. Stick a hibiscus or esperanza near the plants and the aphids will haul azz to those real quick...

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:29PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Thanks guys. I actually have a pack of dunks at the house and need to water soon so that will be marinating tonight. Its pouring out right now so the outside plants are gonna have to wait a few days to be treated. Will neem them up once the rain passes in a couple days.

Since my seedlings are still small, can I mix a batch of neem up in a big pot and literally dunk the plants in them. I can palm the plant upside down in the pot and submerge the whole seedling. Then I know i will hit every nook and cranny of the plant then.

Thanks again
Rey....

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:16PM
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woohooman

Yep. Stick grocery bag around pot to hold soil in, dunk to bottom leaves. No need to rinse off neem later since they're inside and don't have the factor of burning sun rays. Neem actually has anti-feeding properties so leaving on is a good thing. Do it right before you turn the lights on since this is when you're most likely to get them resting. Same thing for outside, dusk is best.

Good luck.

Kevin

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:45PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I would follow Kevin's advice on aphids.

About gnats, I think it is an indoor after germination stage problem, not outdoor. I have heard/read an idea how to deal with gnats and people swear by it: Here it is :

sprinkle cinnamon power on top of the pots. OR spray with cinnamon tea. Chamomile tea is also effective.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:13PM
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woohooman

Seysonn: the cinnamon remedy is a deterrent only. Sounds like Rey needs a bit more help than keeping just a few away. It does work though-- learned that one from habjolokia(Thanks Mark). The chamomile tea remedy is for damping off and other fungi. Recipe is: steep a bag normally, then take that bag and steep in another cup of fresh hot water, then take diluted tea and add it to a quart of fresh tepid water... water plants-- drink original cup of tea and relax.

Not sure if the the tea actually kills the gnat eggs like the peroxide or just the fungus. Maybe Jean001a will pop in.

Kevin

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:03PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Right Kevin, Cinnamon is a deterrent. But Since it is mainly a temporary indoor problem not outdoor that is all needed. Once the seedlings are move out fungus gnat is not a problem anymore. Or that is my understanding.

I also put some syrup/molasses in shallow dishes. They fall into it. I have been having some, but no damage is done. I only find it annoying like fruits fly. But I would get serious on aphids.
Good thing that is is going to continue for just a couple of more weeks for me. I am getting into Plant Out mode.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 4:35AM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Alrighty all my indoor babies got a nice bath in neem and the soil got a good drenching of squito dunk infused water. Unfortunately it's storming outside big time right now so I can't spray down my outside plants right now.
Thanks for the info guys
Rey....

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 10:06PM
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woohooman

Rey: do the water method I mentioned on the outside ones. You just have to be diligent... every 3 or 4 days. At least do it until you bring down the populations. You'll save tons of money in the long run.

Good luck.

Kevin

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:44PM
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kuvaszlvr

ok, dumb question. Why can't you release lady bugs in your garage?
Pam

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:55AM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Kevin,
Cant do the water dunking for the outside ones since they are in my raised beds already. Im going to have to go and hand spray once the rain goes away and add some good bugs as well to aid in the control.

Kavszlvr,
I cant release them in my garage because even though I have a great wife she wont be to happy with lady bugs harmless as they are through out my garage lol. I can just see her going out to do laundry and her either seeing them walk around or land on her etc lmao....

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:32AM
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woohooman

Rey: I didn't mean dunk them. Take a water hose, put on a nozzle that has a fan setting, and spray the undersides.

Kevin

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:52AM
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kuvaszlvr

hahaha, ok.... heck, I (and a friend of mine) release them in our homes if we have issues with aphids. ;-) my husband doesn't mind, but her's apparently was a bit exasperated when they were eating dinner and one flew past him.
Pam

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:54AM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Kevin,
Oh lol thought you meant dunk them too. Will do the fan spray thing. Thanks.

Pam,
LOL, Ya I dont mind them myself but the wife and kids are a little more chicken for a lack of better words when it comes to any bugs good or bad. Every camping trip is an adveture with them LOL.

Rey....

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:01PM
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