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Permaculture controls for aphids

 
steward
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Paul and I are working on the Animal Care badge for the PEP system.  We're detailing out some options for people to use when attempting to mitigate/eliminate aphids.  Here's our list, can you add some more ideas???

Improve diversity of plants
- Plant species to discourage aphids
- Plant species to draw aphids away from other species (sacrifice)
Build significant ladybug habitat (link to Straw BB for 20 ladybug habitats)
Create habitat for stuff that eats aphids
Create habitat for stuff that discourages ants
Plants that attract aphid predators
Bring tiny/immature fowl in to eat the ants
(??  what else?)
 
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Perhaps home made pepper sprays & things like that?
 
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I seem to remember chalk being a deterrent for aphids.  Does this sound about right and would this be Permie?

Eric
 
Mike Haasl
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DE works for hard bodied critters and it could be like powdered chalk.  So it would work on the ants that farm the aphids.  So a second hand fix.

We're especially looking for symbiotic solutions that don't require a human to keep doing something every few days.  If there are any.....
 
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Plant species for aphid parasites have ben helpful.
Neem based sprays have also worked really well for me. Even though I hate the smell, I haven't found it takes much reapplication.

Andrew
 
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Excess nitrogen seems to be a factor in why they invade a specific plant. The example given was the permaculture orchard. He stated that excess nitrogen causes it. She said  that tree doesn't get anymore than the other trees. Husband says "oops, i pee on that tree every morning "

Not sure how that can be applied as a badge. Lol. Spread your urine?

Other ideas to throw out:

Pull and burn plants invaded by them?
Leave invaded plants as sacrificial plants?
Broad spacing of same species(,polyculture)
Correct timing of planting to miss them completely?
 
Mike Haasl
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Andrew, do you know of any plants that benefit aphid parasites?  That would be a great one!

Good ones Wayne!  We do have a "Pee on a plant" BB and I think it suggests picking a plant that loves nitrogen.  So I guess that one kind of covers this issue :)
 
Mike Haasl
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How timely, I just copied this from a post by Rebecca about her greenhouse:

Rebecca Norman wrote:My greenhouse gets quite a lot of aphids in the winter, so I do a fair bit of massaging small seedlings gently, and spraying larger plants with a jet from the hose. When it warms up and the lizards and spiders get active again in March, the aphids recede. Phew!

 
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Thanks! I was thinking I should mention that here ^^

Also, ten days ago I saw this small spider in the greenhouse, where I had some scraps of granite leaning against the wall. The bed next to this spot has radish and turnip seedlings with no aphids at all, whereas 10 feet away other seedlings have plenty of aphids and I'm rubbing them gently as often as I can. Having to massage or spray aphids is not the kind of solution being asked for on this thread, though.

I also agree that richer soil or more nitrogen does seem to lead to more aphids.

I tried chopping up and mulching with aromatic plants that the aphids don't infest, such as rosemary, mint and thyme, but it doesn't really seem to keep the aphids off the other seedlings.
2020March04-small-spider-in-greenhouse.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2020March04-small-spider-in-greenhouse.jpg]
There are no aphids on seedlings near where this spider was seen last week
 
Andrew Cohen
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Mike Haasl wrote:Andrew, do you know of any plants that benefit aphid parasites?  That would be a great one!



Haha, I was hoping you would ask! they tend to like small and umbel type flowers like sweet alyssum, yarrow, carrot/daucus/anne' lace types, dill, fennel, brassicas/mustards that have flowered (though be warned they can get weedy if left to self-seed.) I find that many of the flowers that attract various parasites are also good at bringing in adult predators (I'm guessing they has high nectar out put but that's really just a feeling)


"Tangle foot" is a natural(?) glue like substance that many orchardist apply to the trucks of fruit trees. It creates an impassable barrier to keep aphid farming ants from transporting aphids to the more susceptible areas of the trees. Its very important to weed and mow vegetation next to stumps so ants don't use it to climb passed the goo. I have heard of savvy ants sacrificing their lives to form body bridges to get passed the stuff.

Are you looking for more detail in some of the already mentioned categories also, like species that bring in predators ect.?
 
Mike Haasl
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I'm glad I asked!  I knew those plants attract beneficial wasps but I didn't put that together with aphid control in my mind.

Yes, any suggestions for the BBs we've already identified would be great!
 
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Oh!!  I have a great one!  If you plant butterfly weed, the aphids will flock to it and leave your other plants.  The butterfly weed is an amazing sacrificial plant, it has a taproot so the aphids won't be able to kill it, and of course, it's the preferred food for the monarch butterfly larva (make sure you get the right species).  The other beautiful thing that happens is because the aphids are so concentrated the ants have no trouble finding them and the aphid sap that they love to eat.   Before I had my giant butterfly weed, I used a dust buster to suck up all the aphids.  
 
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