Much Ado About Aphids

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Aphids… the tiny green vampires of the greenhouse world.

They are really not much trouble in the outside gardens where the balance of predators and the wildness of our weather keeps them well in check. In the greenhouse it is another story. Protection from all the hardworking aphid eating bugs, nice warm weather, no scouring rain and lots of succulent new growth. It is like an aphid Club Med.

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2015-06-24 13.13.432015-06-24 13.13.01Aphids are actually really easy to control on potted plants. You do need to keep an eye on your plants checking them every few days for the beginnings of aphid hatches. They seem to be particularly fond of the succulent new growth on plants such as Peppers and Eggplants. You might notice a some shiny spots on the leaves or some bits of white fluff – the signs that aphids are about (sugar ants walking up and down your plants are another sign).

We turn the leaves over and check the undersides regularly and when aphids are found in more than an amount that can be brushed off we take the plants outside and carefully tun them upside down into a large bucket of lukewarm water.

Gently swishing the leaves around and rubbing the aphids off is usually all that is required (aphids are terrible swimmers, you see). If the plants are too big for the dunking method a plant mister set to spray works well to dislodge the pests. We don’t like to use soaps or Garlic or Peppers type sprays because they make the Greenhouse quite smelly and they are not really pleasant for the frogs and other garden helpers.

If we can control the early days infestations then lovely little predators will hatch out and take over the job for us! Lacewing larvae (the odd alien looking little fellow pictured on the Pepper flower above) Ladybugs, Wasps and other beneficial insects begin to consume the little green interlopers and would not be able to take their place in the battle if we had wiped out all of their food.

Awful nice to have allies.