Aquaponic Gardening

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Yes that is right ants have decided to setup an aphid farm in my aquaponics. It's amazing how fast they get going also. One day everything good and the next the ants are everywhere and they have their cow aphids roaming the planes. I am including a pic so you can see my tail of woe. What should I do to get rid of this invasion? They seem to have an under rock operation and up in the bell pepper operation going.

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Small amounts of sulfur are not necessarily all that harmful as long as it is a small amount, when I couldn't get chelated Iron I was stuck using iron sulfate to battle iron deficiency and the sulfur content wasn't killing anything.

 

Now I don't necessarily believe that tomato leaves are going to be much better or safer for the good bugs nor do I expect them to be all that effective against pests that are eating your tomato plants seeing as bugs that feed on the tomato plant are obviously able to handle the alkaloids.

I'm glad this came up as I just started dealing with the same issue. I have used the ant traps in the garden successfully in the past, (soil based) so I put one OUTSIDE the growbeds in the ant trail and noticed a definite reduction the next few days. I also use BT (bacillus thuregensis) spray and Neem oil mixtures (1/3 neem, 1/3 soap, 1/3 water) on really stubborn infestations in the gardens but have not needed to use them in the growbeds yet. Wondering if anyone has tried these organic controls and what results you have had??

I would say be careful with soap around/over aquaponics since excess getting into the fish water can coat fish gills and suffocate them.  And neem while relatively safe, is still an oil so avoid dripping excess into an aquaponics system.  And don't spray neem on/around flowers while bees are active since it can affect bees as well.

BT is great against leaf eating caterpillars.

I use tomato leaves with great success- I never find any aphids on any of my tomato plants, never have. They stay away from the tomato plants.....I do spray weekly with worm Tea.I have used garlic along with the chopped tomato leaves and red pepper as well- in small amounts it is very effective but - It is still toxic to pests, as well as pollinators- It keeps them away from the plants- they avoid the plants.
I've found aphids easy to control with blasts of water.  When the aphids are gone, the ants are too.
I haven't been that lucky, the ants farming aphids in my yard are stubborn and they seem to go find the sprayed away aphids or others and bring them back to the plants.

George J. Thurmon said:
I've found aphids easy to control with blasts of water.  When the aphids are gone, the ants are too.
Thanks TC, the oil/soap mixture is out for now. Not risking it with the fish. Wondering how these pepper sprays do in the water; it seems like the caspacin (?) being an oil as well would wreak havoc on the fish too??

The truth is, as long as you spray in such a manner that you are not dripping it into the system and you use it all fairly dilute it is probably not that bad.  But I always stress caution with any suffocant containing spray near fish.  There are people that might otherwise be mixing the stuff right over the grow beds and if a jug of soap, detergent or oil gets knocked over it would be disaster.

 

I know of people who had an infestation bad enough that they removed the plants from the raft beds and sprayed them over a tarp and let the spray dry then they rinsed the plants before putting them back in the system.  Just gotta decide what is worse for the situation, leaving it be or the disruption of pulling plants out for treatment.

 

As to Caspacin (hot pepper spray) well truth is I don't know how much that affects bugs or fish.  I think the burn effect is mostly just effective against mammals since I have used the hot pepper spray to keep rodents away from my chicken feeders cause apparently it doesn't affect birds.  So if you are having trouble with bunnies, squirrels, or other mammal pests the chilli spray may work but beware spraying your food with such things since you or the kids might not like the hot spicy flavor either.

It may not work for everyone but if you are there most days, be persistent.  I've been easily able to control aphids and spider mites with water.  Nothing you do will be a permanent solution. 

TCLynx said:
I haven't been that lucky, the ants farming aphids in my yard are stubborn and they seem to go find the sprayed away aphids or others and bring them back to the plants.

George J. Thurmon said:
I've found aphids easy to control with blasts of water.  When the aphids are gone, the ants are too.
First defense - the best defense is to inspect daily & remove/squish/ them between your fingers- whether it be mites aphids, scale, thrips etc. that way you know they are dead on the spot, then spray - Try making your own worm tea out of pure worm castings- it works. Water pressure will knock them off - but don't use hose/tap water.... Just like George said- be persistent till they're gone & then do a regular foliar feeding with worm tea weekly. 
Growzay, when you say don't use hose/tap water do you mean because of chlorine or any tap water including well water?  If so why?

I meant tap from city water - because of the chlorine.

 

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