How do I kill off millions of Aphids?

Schocked1June 4, 2011

Went outside this morning to check if there had been any damage done by our sudden snowfall last night...

Noticed that the trees on one side of the house were all "sticky looking" as if someone had dumped sugar water on them.

I just did an extensive search of the trees and noticed that there are literally millions of little green (aphids?)

clinging to the leaves, branches, etc!

I have many raspberry, currant, blueberry, plants etc and am terrified that these nasty things are going to eat them all. What can I do to kill them?

I know that dish soap bubbles are supposed to "drown" them, but that is not feasible, there are way too many trees etc.

I have a 2 year old, so I really don't want to use nasty chemicals.

Please help!

I had these nasty things kill off my dill and currants last year...don't want to lose them all again.

And where do they all come from?

I have NEVER in my life seen this many before!

I grabbed a few branches off of one tree, dropped them on the ground, and squished them to death...but I can't do this to all of them...

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I suggest that you use a strong spray from the garden hose to dislodge a large population of the aphids from your plants. After that, you might want to consider some insecticidal soap (approved for organic gardening), mix according to label directions and spray. Insecticidal soaps have been used by many generations of gardeners and growers for the safe control of aphids.

After a few days, you can repeat the water sprays on a regular basis to keep the aphids under some sort of control.

Horticultural oil applications can be hugely helpful,too, when used in the dormant season (on bare plants). The oil suffocates the over wintering eggs of the aphids, greatly reducing the numbers that will hatch out at the first hint of spring.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 4:18PM
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Just wondering if spraying the plants is a good idea's +7c right now, but we've been getting frost etc the past 4 days. Would spraying them, whether with water or soap, cause them any harm if it freezes? I know it would kill the cucumbers, but what about the rest?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 5:18PM
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Dan Staley

If plants weren't adapted to rain then freezing in that area, there wouldn't be any plants.

And as was stated in the other thread, surely your Provincial extension office knows about the infestation, as it is not confined to your yard. Get on it now. And call them monday.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Thanks all, I'll try the spray.

I won't bother trying to get in touch with our local ag again...I emailed and called them last year about thistle control and not one of them had the decency to respond...
I talked to my neighbor lady (she works at the town hall) and she said that they have been removing "city" trees and replacing them, but not "private home" trees.
Most of the trees here have black knot...such a shame.
She said she would ask around for me though...she's a great lady.
She only has a spruce tree in her yard, so she hasn't noticed a problem, and she hasn't heard of any complaints of aphids as of yet.

Thanks again for all the help.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 10:20PM
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Spraying the trees with a high pressure nozzel didn't work...well, it did a bit I guess...took the leaves off the trees...but the ones stuck to the branches aren't coming off at all...the leaves that didn't fall are still full of them.
Soap next?
Are those soaps safe? Sorry, but I've never used them before, and as I've said I have a toddler who is going to want to eat the berries. Of course I'll wash them, but you know kids...I used to eat carrots straight from the garden after wiping the dirt off on my pants...

Sorry for all the stupid questions, but I've never had these problems before...I just moved to the prairies from the mountains, and in the mountains my only problem was too short of a growing season.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 10:52AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

No one suggested a high pressure nozzle. Waaay overkill. Use your thumb to create a strong fan spray that will wash off aphids without taking the leaves. Repeat frequently.

Insecticidal soaps are considered safe, but I would never recommend that veggies, fruits, or berries be eaten without rinsing first.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 10:16PM
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I recently had success killing aphids using pyola. Just spray in the early morning or at dusk and it should take care of your aphid problem.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 1:24PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

If you hit an aphid with a blast strong enough to rip leaves off, it's quite dead. Stuck to the branches? More like tattooed to the branches. Their soft bodies cannot tolerate a hit even at much lower pressure. Repeat in about a week but don't defoliate.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 7:45PM
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I don't use any oils or pesticides for insect control as I grow organically. google Arbico. they specialize in beneficial insects. I ordered three praying manti egg cases. one for my yard and for my neighbors on both sides. one egg case hatches abou two hundred manti. They devour every insect you hate. and once they live out their life cycle they lay their own egg cases. so now I have an ongoing population of manti. I live an hour north of death Valley so its a desrt hot blazing summers freezing winters if my manti can stay alive year after year your area will support them as well. also consider Ladybugs these are literalyy the toughest bug in the pack they eat every single pest bug you can imagine problem is when they eat everything they move on to find more food. I even take my baby manti indoors to work over my bonsai and houseplants I leave a couple of windows open all the time for my cats to get in and out. so manti have an escape, or entrance if they choose. I grow vegetables, tobacco, fruit, housplants and bonsai. this was a permanent and inexpensive solution to my bug problem. Good Luck!!!!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 3:29PM
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Dan Staley

I'm pretty sure I'm going to send an e-mail about the dim-bulb spammer.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 8:13PM
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