The Aphids again

Paddy's Garden

Paddy's Garden

Paddy says the aphids are back – and they are attacking the chili and capsicum plants in Paddy’s Garden.

Mother nature has served up a few natural predators for aphids including ladybugs and dragon flies (lacewings) but they obviously couldn’t keep up with the abundant supply.

Paddy's ladybug

Paddy's ladybug

There are also a bunch of ants on the plants herding the aphids. According to Paddy’s research, when the aphids feed they secrete a sweet sap from their intestinal system commonly called called honeydew. The ants tend to the aphids, collecting and eating the honeydew while protecting the aphids from predators.

Paddy's ant's aphids

Paddy's ant's aphids

We previously dealt with a small outbreak of aphids using a bottle of Yates Pyrethrum but Paddy suggested trying a different brand so we got some Hortico Insect Killer (natural Pyrethrum) for about a dollar less per spray bottle.

Paddy's pyrethrum

Paddy's Pyrethrums

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide made from the dried flower heads of the marigold family. It is an effective toxin or deterrent to many insects and a strong favorite in any gardeners shed. Another good solution to aphid outbreaks is to use sticky Aphid & Whitefly Traps.

These traps are a plastic card coated in a sticky glue. The aphids are attracted to the cards where they get stuck and cannot move. The traps do tend to catch other ‘good’ insects so you need to be careful where you place the traps – especially if you have pets.

Paddy's ant's aphids

Paddy's ant's aphids

The initial application of the Hortico Insect Killer spray on the chili and capsicum plants killed most of the aphids immediately and seemed to be just as effective as Yates spray. A light repeat application on the following day was enough to clear up any leaves that missed out on the initial spray.

Paddy's chilis

Paddy's chili

Paddy noticed that the aphids were also back on the remaining cucumber plants (which are now out of season and ready to be pulled up and replaced with some radishes) so we gave them a spray as well.

Decorated Mouse Pad with green, aphid, insect, antennae, bug

The more we looked around the garden the more we could see traces of aphids until finally we found where they were coming from. There’s a large shrub that hangs over part of Paddy’s Garden that has purple flowers and its latest round of flower buds  are being attacked by the aphids en-masse.

Paddy's Aphids

Paddy's Aphids

Paddy pointed out that some of the aphids that fall from the shrub end up landing on the vegetable plants and thats why we are seeing traces of aphids on virtually everything. If we want to get rid of the aphids we’re going to have to clean the entire shrub.

Paddy's shrub

Paddy's shrub

To do that we will need a large amount of insecticide and even using the cheaper Hortico Insect Killler would be an expensive job. We looked around for a natural remedy for aphids that can be made cheaply and found that the recipe is very similar to Paddy’s Garlic Fire but without the chili or garlic,

Paddy’s Aphid Killer ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Dish-washing detergent
  • Warm water (if possible)

This natural insecticide kills the aphids because the oil and water suffocates them and the soap makes it difficult to cling to the plant.

In our case the big question is how to apply it to our huge garden shrub – A spray bottle application will take for ever and won’t let us reach some of the higher branches.

Paddy gave it some creative thought and came up with an idea to make use of our high pressure washer with soap nozzle.

Paddy's Kartcher

Paddy's high pressure washer

The washer not only has the power to spray the mix up onto the high branches, but the correct attachments for soap so it doesn’t become a messy business.


AR North America Inc. AR383 Blue Clean Pressure Washer
@ Amazon

Because the natural Aphid Fire mixture is a fluid we can place the oil and detergent mix in the applicator without any water and use the high power washer to mix and spray the whole lot at the shrub.

Paddy's high pressure washer with soap attachment

Paddy's high pressure washer with soap attachment

We mixed up half a cup comprised of 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of detergent and poured it into the spray bottle of the car washer.

Prowling for fallen aphids

Prowling for fallen aphids

Paddy says that a water spray alone is often enough to knock the aphids off the buds. If they fall to the ground they will probably not make it back to the shrub without being eaten by something because of their small size and slow speed.

Spraying aphids in Paddy's Garden

Spraying aphids in Paddy's Garden

We used the high pressure spray without the pressure end on it so it gave a nice even spray of foam. The actual spraying process only took a few minutes and half a cup of the mix was more than enough for a bush about 3 times the size of what you can see here.

Paddy's soapy shrub

Paddy's soapy shrub

The results were good with only 20% of the aphids remaining on the plant and the rest had been washed into the garden. A few strange looking predators were out taking advantage of the aphid mayhem.

Paddy's strange bugs

Paddy's strange bugs

The few aphids that could be seen in the garden were given a few squishes of the Hortico spray to make sure they didn’t go anywhere.

Dark in here

Dark in here

All in all the results seem good for a minimal amount of effort. Paddy and I will reserve our final decision for a few days to make sure that the spray has also killed the remaining aphids without damaging any plants. Paddy and I are working in the dark here as we have no experience with using high pressure sprays for anything but cleaning cars.

Where the wild things are

Where the wild things are

You can use our custom search below to search the web for other ways to deal with aphids, you need to enter a keyword such as aphid remedies you’ll get a diverse range of ideas.

Posted in Pests | Tagged , | 6 Comments

6 responses to “The Aphids again”

  1. […] says mealy bugs can be treated just like aphids. If you want to go the organic control route then we recommend mixing up some soap and oil and […]

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  3. Laura says:

    I’ve got a lot of aphids, too on my plants…but they aren’t dying with anything!!!
    I’ll try again with water and soap!!
    By the way: that “strange bug” is a larvae of a Ladybird!!! It’s a friend for our plants: they eat aphids!!!

    Greetings from Italy!
    Laura

  4. Kaori says:

    You should spray them with your hose. It trohws most of them off, and shreds their bodies. You can also buy ladybugs in little bags at the Home Depot. We did that, because all of our fruit trees looked like yours and the hosing and Dr. Brommers with strained garlic concoction was not helping so much… Just made me hungry for the Olive Garden. :)You spray your trees in the evening with a good spritz… then, take your ladybugs out there and let them go onto the tree. We did it with a flashlight (they use the light to see where they are going, so don’t let them out early morning…) In two days the ladybugs were double the size. We now have no aphids in the back yard, and tons of lovely ladybugs & their babies all over the trees, still… hope they stick around for the summer. :)I have also heard if you squish some of the aphids, the chemicals release should scare the aphids off… didn’t work for me, but it’s worth a try…Hope that helps.

  5. Summer says:

    good idea using it for pesto! I have a little gadeenrr helper who loves to munch on arugula while I’m weeding the garden, but I still can’t keep up with harvesting it. Too bad we live so far away I would love to see your garden in person and taste your pasta!

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