Plant lice – Aphids – my worst enemy
I have declared war. My beautiful container plants have been attacked by green dots. These little irritating aphids suck out the living life out of my plants and spread their plant killing bacteria. Plant lice is such a good description as they breed like crazy and it feels like war getting rid of them, you need to constantly fight the battle and repeat whatever you are doing every few days to ruin out the ‘colony.’
As you can figure I am not impressed with this ‘addition’ to my garden. My husband and myself are quite proud of our small little container garden and looking forward to our home garden when we move later this year. But struggling to get rid of such an infestation kind of break your hope. If not able to control these in potted plants how will we be able to control them in a bigger ‘uncontained’ garden?
Well, I have read up quite a lot on these little buggers and wish there were more advice. If you have any please do pass it on! It will be much appreciated. Going through several sites of information I got the following list:
1. Spray the lice off with a hose – quite difficult for me to spray my soft salad leaves.. seems they are going for the soft and juicy plants
2. Use a garlic pesticide – this we are already doing – in fact, I sprayed them yesterday and this morning they are still sitting there, unsuccessful so far. Also after spraying the pesticide we cannot eat our plants for two days, and having to have to repeat the process every 2 to 3 days means we go a week or two at a time without harvesting – quite disappointing.
3. Spray/wipe leaves with soapy water over the lice – this will be my next trial, I do hope the soap does not kill my plants.
4. Throw flour over the lice – this will probably be near my last resort as I don’t want flour to mix with water and have a pasty mess in my pots. It is also difficult to get to the lice as they sit underneath the leaves.
5. Buy lady bugs or attract them. They say you buy lady bug worms and the lady bugs will keep your garden under control. Just a question – won’t the worms eat your plants? It sounds as if the worm will eat the lice, so that sounds good. You can google an image of a lady bug worm, alligator is a good description! Not sure where to get these and also not 100% comfortable with all they will do.
6. Plant plants that will repel aphids such as garlic, chives, onions, mint and petunias (I have read of petunias being infested with aphids as well so read up more before you plant these plants). The chives sounds like an option to go with the salad leaves. I do not want to overcrowd my pot, but will go this route if needed.
As mentioned they say if your plant is covered in aphids spray it 3 times a week, about two to three days apart.
I did not take photos, might still add some at a later stage, but felt like they need no fame or glory at this stage. They first targeted my beautiful green peppers, two big strong plants growing three massive peppers and lots of small ones showing promise. We sprayed the plants and either we smothered the plant in pesticide and killed it or we were too late and the aphids did the job. We could luckily still save the big peppers – they were delicious, but never had the chance to turn red. After the pepper plants died the aphids moved down to the salad leaves and my lily – not impressed.
I read aphids get ‘transported’ by the wind and blows from plants onto other plants. We had very strong winds in Cape Town the past month, so that is very possible. Then the other interesting thing I read is that ants store the aphid eggs in their nest and carries it out to plants – we had a sudden ant infestation a while back, but got rid of them so maybe they delivered the aphid eggs.
Anyway, wherever I read it sounds like a battle to get rid of them. It is summer here now, not sure whether it is a summer thing. Let me know if you have had success in getting rid of these pests. I will give an update in a few days and hopefully by then have a lice-free garden.
Frustrated and at war
See part 2 HERE
See part 3 HERE