Hi i’m Tricia and Organic gardener. I grow organically. For a healthy and safe food supply. For a clean and sustainable environment For an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Aphids will trouble most gardeners at some point. Although aphids will rarely kill a mature plant, they can carry diseases like cucumber mosaic, and they’ll attract ants. Fortunately they’re easy to deal with. I’ll show you how. Aphids are tiny, sap-sucking insects. Most species of aphids are not heat tolerant so they’re more trouble during cool weather especially in the spring. Aphid populations can explode quickly so check plants often. Check the undersides of leaves and be alert for curled leaves and shoots which can also signal an aphid infestation. There are several cultural controls that you can apply that will prevent aphids. Aphids are attracted to new, lush growth. Don’t over fertilize. Use an organic balanced fertilizer and do periodic soil tests. If you find aphids also look for signs of beneficial insects. Aphids have many enemies such as ladybugs, lacewings, syrphid flies and parasitic wasps. Look for the aphids themselves and mummified looking aphids that are the signs of parasitic wasps. An active population of the beneficial insects can often control aphids. In the early spring you can release beneficial insects to make sure you have a thriving population. Ants can be a barrier however to the beneficial insects that are trying to eat the aphids, especially in trees. Ants will feed off of aphid honeydew and will fight of beneficial insects. Control the ants and then you can control the aphids. For more information, check out our video “How to get rid of ants.” While the beneficial insects are working there are several non-chemical controls you can use that wont harm the beneficials. Prune out aphid infested shoots and leaves from the mature trees and shrubs. Rub aphids off smaller plants with a cloth. You can blast aphids off of your plants with a strong stream of water. This bug blaster is non toxic and it works very well! You can also use floating row cover like this Agribon to prevent aphid attack! Another great alternative to chemical controls are these green sticky traps The aphids are attracted to the green color of the traps and they get stuck to the trap instead of your plants. If after all those measures the aphids are still winning you can try an organic insecticide that’s labeled to control aphids like this Organicide, or this Safer insecticidal soap which have the least harmful effects on beneficial insects. I wanted to get some advice from a professional farmer about how to control aphids. So I asked Dena from Sweet Roots Farm here in Grass Valley. What cultural practices do you guys use here to help prevent aphids? so… The top three cultural practices we use are crop rotation, So we move where we plant susceptible crops around our fields. we also strip the leaves from the kale to promote healthy leaves and put energy into those leaves as well as removing aphids from the plant so they desiccate and die in the pathway on a warm day. So you strip down below the top growth which is what we’re noticing here? So they look like little trees. Yeah! But that helps with air circulation and also since aphids don’t move very fast and they’re connected to the plant their vascular tissues when you strip them and put them in the path they’ll die. So that’s a good way to reduce populations And sometimes if we can’t get ahead of them we’ll just mow the crop in. Lastly, we’ll plant things that attract things that like to eat aphids so we’ll plant the white, sweet Alyssum, and we have hedgerows throughout the farm that attract beneficials that come in and eat the aphids. And we can see that. And which beneficials are you attracting with these kinds of plants? Well we have amazing flushes of ladybugs here and so we wanna give them ladybugs a really nice amount of beneficials as well as they’ll come in and eat the aphids. And it’s actually not the ladybugs, but the the younger instars (larvae) that will eat most of the aphids Good! Well that gives them a good dinner and takes care of the aphids at the same time. Well thank you very much for your help and your advice and… We thank Sweet Roots Farm in Grass Valley, CA Protect your plants from aphids THE VAMPIRES OF THE PLANT WORLD! and grow organic for life.