Looks like aphids are having a party in my aquaponics system. At least i'm pretty sure they are aphids. They are tiny about 1 mm and there are both white and black ones. I also see very tiny white dots on the underside of leaves especially near the stem and the leaves are curling around the edges. I suspect those are the eggs. Today in the morning, there are thousands floating around in my fish tank.
Anyone have ideas how to get rid of them? preferably without harming the fish or plants?
You can also purchase "Lacewing" eggs that will hatch into voraciously hungry larvae, aphids, spider mites their eggs and larvae are all on the menu...
Here is just one more suggestion for you to consider. It will give you results now.
Get ahold of some worm castings. Make sure they have not been sealed up in a plastic bag. You need these fresh with the naturally occuring LIVE microbial population that is in worm castings. Make a brewed tea:
Take 2/3 cup worm castings and add to one gallon on NON-chlorinated water. Add 1 table spoon of either molasses or table sugar (do not use honey). Put a fish tank bubbler in this water and let it aerate ("brew") for 12-24 hours. You are increasing the beneficial microbial population here. The sugar will support the growing beneficial population. After it is brewed, strain the resulting "tea" into a spray bottle and spray this all over your plants (top, sides and bottom). There is a naturally occurring enzyme in worm castings called chitinase (I think I spelled that right) which attacks the chitin that the bodies of hard bodied insects are made of. Your aphids will die or leave, and you will have just also fertilized your plants in the process. Worm castings will not harm plants in any concentration, and is completely safe to use in an aquaponics system.
Use the leftover brewed worm castings to fertilize any other plants. To get the full effects of the brewing process as a way to get rid of insect pests or to stop plant maladies ( damping off, and powdery mildew or black spot to name a few) be sure to use the tea within 18 hours after removing it from the aeration source (the tank bubbler). After that time, it still can be used as a fertilizer. WARNING: DO NOT store or brew your brewed tea in a container with a tight lid. It will build up pressure and can explode the container or blow the lid off. No lid or a small hole in the lid will solve this issue.
My best to you in your effort to control this invasion, no matter what you try.
The worm tea is probably worth trying though I've never actually done it myself.
Sometimes aphids can be knocked down simply by spraying with water.
Or you might dust with some diatomaceous earth.
Scale insects can sometimes be dealt with by wiping with an alcohol swab though you want to test to make sure the plants don't object before you go doing this all over the place.
I'm not sure what you have are aphids. An enlarged picture would help identify them. Once identified, we could suggest the appropriate predator bug. Lacewings and ladybugs can only eat so many aphids in a day, usually not as fast as they can reproduce. But no matter, I agree that your best bet is worm tea or DE (diatomaceous earth). My preference is to use DE.
Just be careful letting any warm blooded animal near your plants they carry all sorts of diseases that could make people ill or even kill them
Have you got an ant problem.... ants "farm" the aphids... for the sweet nectar they exude...
And if you don't deal with the ant problem... they'll just keep herding the aphids back...
If you cant get a hold of fresh non-'been sitting in a sealed bag' worm castings, or DE, you can try purchasing Essential Oil of Lavender and Rosmary, or even Tea Tree oil, Spearmint whatever, make a solution of 2% of each oil and 0.5% of some sort of surfactant (organic dishwashing soap) mix with water and spay the aphids...
"Table 1 summarizes the procedures employed and observations made in various efficacy
tests. Tests 7 and 8 on Table 1 suggest that liquid formulations of rosemary and lavender
oil each at 2% concentration, is effective against both aphids and spider mites. The final
formulation of the 2% rosemary-lavender mixture, caused 94.9% ± 3.650 mortality of mites
on roses and 100% mortality of aphids on peppers."...
Thanks for the tips. No ant problem. I'm not sure they are aphids either. I'm now pretty sure they are springtails.
If i try DE, can i dust the top of the fish tank water without hurting the fish? They are too small to scoop out with my current fishnet.
I doubt the ones on the water are still a problem. I would dust the plants and grow beds and try to dust it up onto the undersides of leaves as well. DE shouldn't hurt your fish though but I would avoid dumping the bag in your fish tank or anything like that.
Ditto what TC said.
@ Vlad: I would do that in my organic garden but I'm not sure about using oils over my tanks. I donno.
For scooping them out of the fish tank water, try using a pair of ladies pantyhose.
Andrew..now that's funny....not letting nature in your garden..hahaha.....(im still smiling