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Old March 8, 2018   #1
DocBrock
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Default Issues With Aphids

Just posted this on another thread but realized later that this is probably the correct sub-forum, so sorry for the repost.

Is it unreasonable to expect having a container garden in southwest Florida that has zero aphids on the plants? So far my tomatoes are untouched, but my peppers all have a few aphids. My plants all look great, the young ones are growing steadily and the mature plants are producing like crazy. It's driving me nuts though, every little leaf at the growing tips has a couple aphids hiding in them. I've sprayed everything a few times with Safer End-All (combo rtu spray with pyrethrin, insecticidal soap, and neem oil) and the amount of aphids greatly decreases, but I keep anticipating seeing zero. I've even sat out there in the evening a few times and hand squished every aphid from every leaf of every plant before spraying them down thoroughly and moving them into the garage for the night. There always seems to be a couple more the following day. Not sure what to do or whether a few aphids isn't really a problem. I don't use any chemical fertilizers, everything is super low dose liquid nutrients added when I water. One is Dr. Earth Home Grown liquid biweekly, and then I'll use Fox Farm Big Bloom and General Hydroponics Cal-Mag monthly on my plants that are blossoming. Any help will be greatly appreciated before I turn into Bill Murray in Caddyshack
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Old March 8, 2018   #2
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How do you feel about diatomaceous earth?

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Old March 8, 2018   #3
DocBrock
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I use it all the time around the house. I have a big bag of food grade DE. I tried it when I first noticed the aphids but it got wet with dew and lost its efficacy. Should I just dust it over the leaves and soil? Would that be a better choice over insecticidal soap, pyrethrin, and neem?

Are aphids a death sentence for a garden or just a minor annoyance? I scoured the internet for an answer and every article says different things. Mainly they'll kill a seedling and possibly transfer disease. If I can limit them to how they are now without them becoming an infestation I think I'd be happy.
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Old March 8, 2018   #4
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I haven't had much experience with aphids on tomato plants. But DE will dry out and be effective. I mix with water, spray, and it dries on the leaves and does its work. If your plants are dripping in dew, I guess it's gonna wash off, though.

Others with more aphid experience can tell you more.

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Old March 8, 2018   #5
jillian
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A few aphids are not a death sentence. The thing is to manage them and not let them get out of hand. Neem oil and DE will take care of them.
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Old March 8, 2018   #6
DocBrock
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Thanks for the advice. Just seems weird that they've only attacked my jalapeno plants when I've got bell pepper and tomato containers literally a foot away. You'd think they'd go for something without capsaicin. All of the plants sit together on my driveway and both jalapeno pots got them while everything else is bug free.
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Old March 8, 2018   #7
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Did you grow the jalapenos from seed or bring them in from a nursery? Just wondering whether the aphids may have been imported.

We had an aphid infestation last year early on but the lace wings moved in and took care of most of them. I don't spray with anything. I'm not sure if you can buy lace wings, but they'll stay where there's a food source. Good luck!
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Old March 8, 2018   #8
DocBrock
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I bought them as plants, but they were purchased separately from different stores. Could be it though. They're Bonnie plants and are delivered to all stores in the area from the same greenhouse about 30 miles from here.
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Old March 9, 2018   #9
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Use Surround WP. It stays on the plant better than DE and will keep most bugs away.
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Old March 9, 2018   #10
b54red
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This time of the year down here aphids are almost always a problem unless you have an abundance of ladybugs to keep them under control. If you don't keep working on them they can cause your new growth to die and if they get too thick on larger plants all kinds of bad things happen. When the plants are young I like to spray them every few days with alternating soapy water, neem oil, and just a hard water spray. If they get bad then I will bring out the big guns and spray them with a combination of very soapy water, DE, and Permethrin making sure to get the undersides of all the leaves and the soil surface or mulch. Even in my greenhouse I already have a problem with them on my young pepper seedlings from hot to bells. They seem to mostly leave my tomatoes alone also. Dusting thoroughly with DE will help as long as it isn't too humid every morning so it stays dry long enough to work.

Good luck.

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Old March 9, 2018   #11
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Peppers are a big aphid target. Tomatoes a lot less so. You need to stop the population early or things could go bad (depends a lot on weather as well, aphids don't like too wet or too hot).
Soap/oil works well. I personally never found DE to be of that useful against aphids, they don't exactly move a lot.
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Old March 9, 2018   #12
DocBrock
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I'll go ahead and mix up some soapy water and start spraying them daily. Thanks for all the tips. We've had some wild weather changes the last week where it went from 75 degree overnight temps to low 50s upper 40s. Maybe the cooler temps are what brought the aphids out.
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Old March 9, 2018   #13
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can you scout for ladybugs? snag a few from the garden if you can find them and set them on your plants where the aphids are. I have a bhut jolokia in the greenhouse that lost all its leaves when it got too cold this winter in there. It has had no leaves for 6 weeks. nothing but buds sitting patiently waiting on longer day length? to get started again. as the leaves just started erupting I saw aphids snuggled deep within the tiny new leaf sets. sheesh! already. I couldn't find an aphid anywhere else in the greenhouse! I keep yellow sticky cards out there, too. I have a few resident ladybugs in there ( I snag them from in my house and deposit them out there) I gently placed a ladybug or two on the plant to devour the aphids. within a day the plant was clean.
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Old March 10, 2018   #14
DocBrock
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I can look for ladybugs but I can't remember the last time I've seen one. I may have to buy some and let them loose in the garage with the plants for a day or 2 and hope they stick around the yard.
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Old March 10, 2018   #15
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I work in commercial greenhouses and for us it about keeping the insect population at or below an acceptable threshold. In my world we will never totally eradicate the pests, but if we can keep the population in check the damage will be minimal. Just my 2 cents

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