The battle of the pests-Aphids

This year I have encountered pests I NEVER knew existed!  Here I thought aphids were the worst of my battles.  Whew. I had a lot to learn.

For all of these recipes I use (except for the ladybugs of course) a cheap Walmart spray bottle.  Don't need any kind of fancy sprayers. 

Aphids:

  • Ladybugs: Whether I have to order them or they just naturally occur LadyBugs can cause massive death to Aphids. 
  • Soap water: I've found that water mixed with a little dishwashing soap(about a tsp of soap to a cup of water) and then liberally sprayed on plants does wonders on Aphids.  That is unless you live in Alaska.  Oddly enough, aphids in Alaska must be a more hearty bunch.  They tolerate almost every trick I know in Alaska.  
  • Hot Pepper spray: Mix about a cup of water with about a tsp of dishwashing detergent. Mix in about a 1/2 to a full tsp of crushed hot pepper. (Chile peppers, cayenne, jalapeno, they all work) Put the mixture in a spray bottle and let sit for about a day or two.  As time goes on it will get stronger.  Make sure to spray AWAY from your face.  This stuff could put a serious hurt on you if you get it in your eyes or around your nose.
  • Garlic Oil Spray: Mix 2 to 3 crushed garlic cloves, mix with about a tsp oil.  I usually use plain old vegetable oil since I don't want to waste olive oil on something like this.  Then mix this combination with about a cup of water.  I let this sit on my counter for about 2 to 3 days and then I will apply it to the affected plants.  You can keep this from going rancid by putting it in the fridge but just remember the oil will harden somewhat so if you want to use more you'll have to take it out and let it sit at room temperature until the oil has gone back to it's liquid state.  Then just spray like normal.
Now a bit of caution.  There are many types of aphids.  Green ones, black ones, orangey colored and even red colored.  I have found that the green and red ones are very susceptible to the soap or garlic spray.  The black ones take a combination of all of these approaches.  Also, after the checking the leaves for any ladybugs, assasin bugs or small Praying mantis you can simply spray a pretty strong stream of water at the plant to dislodge the pests.That works temporarily.  I know of a few other beneficial insects but I simply have never used them. 

Aphids tend to gravitate towards peppers, cilantro, culantro, cucumbers, and I've even heard that sometimes they will feed on tomatoes and potatoes but I haven't seen that on my plants.

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